May 7, 2015

Discovering Malaysian Talents

Even though I was honestly skeptical with homegrown talent but now I'm glad that I am wrong. What with a bevy of young designers from all over the country, the Malaysian fashion industry seems like an excitingly fresh scene to nurture new design flair. Lately I have been eyeing a few labels and for me this three is the intriguing lot as far as newness is concerned:

Moto Guo

When it comes to a list of young, talented Malaysian designers, Moto Guo is a name we have to get familiar with. The eponymous label launched in 2013 with a debut and graduation collection, “Out Like A Light” featuring a delightful assortment of designs that are telltale signs of his identity; wacky yet dexterous. Sleep disorder theme? Yes! Oversized cocoon shapes for menswear? Yes yes!

The Raffles College of Higher Education alumni – the same academia that has churned out fashion designers like Jonathan Liang, Silas Liew, Tengku Syahmi and Joe Chia - has a deft hand at creating something that is not necessarily every other fashionista's predictable typical streetwear coolness, but rather his creations are definitely attention grabbing and unconventional enough that it warrants credits on creativity. He marches to the beats of his own drums, if you will. 

His SS15 collections looks like a continuation of aesthetics from his debut collection. This time around things get a little more graphic in the forms of three-dimensional, textural foam details and structured silhouettes in neoprene.

Moto Guo SS15 collection

Following his sparsely updated Instagram one could sense his keen artistic view on everyday things   - a breather from all things bridal and celebrity endorsed publicity. It's not easy to see anyone pull off his creations effortlessly. I myself would probably look ridiculous in Moto Guo's enormous shirts/jackets/shorts but selfishly may I say, I would love to wear some of the boxy neoprene shirt with 3D foam bubble details. The pop-up effects present in the detailing is so endearing (although some of the cuts and color blocking reminisce of Jacquemus, and the graphic quality of the collection has a bit of JW Anderson feel going on), but Moto Guo's creations are definitely not for the faint hearted, and it definitely pushes the design envelope of Malaysia's fashion industry a little bit further...

Maatin Shakir

Maatin is a graduate in Advanced Diploma in Fashion Marketing from Raffles College of Higher Education in Kuala Lumpur, who started venturing into styling while working at ZALORA Malaysia. Working with close friend and fellow local designer, Zakwan Anuar, he created his first shoe line in collaboration with Zakwan’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection in January 2014.

Maatin Shakir SS14 at KLFW

 The success of this initiative together with support from Zakwan have propelled him to a full fledged designer with the launch of his eponymous clothing line which debuted last year. What draws me to his creations are the simplicity and an air of ease that the clothes lend to the wearers. I'm quite in love with the loose billowing cuts of his 2014 collection, which is right up my baggy-obsessed alley.

For SS 2015 his relaxed cuts prevail once again, but with a different color palette. There is a certain quality of airiness in his garments in this collection, which is apt for the 'season'. Whatever it is, it's the collection is definitely appropriate for the perennially hot and humid Malaysia.

Maatin Shakir SS15 collection

Joe Chia

Joe Chia is not exactly a new name in the game, but the fact that he is going places warrants a celebratory entry in Dunia Fashyon. It was good to see his collection live last year at KLFW. But this time around Joe Chia has upped his marketing game by being introduced to international market at Milan and Paris trade shows last January.

It was also good to hear that their FW15 collection reached another milestone as they will be stocked in over 16 stores over 9 different countries worldwide (from Milan, Madrid, Amsterdam, Berlin and Moscow in Europe; to New York and LA in the US; and to Taipei, Shanghai and KL in Asia) - a no small feat for a relatively nascent homegrown designer. One of the reasons of this success does not only owe to his brilliant refreshing collections, but much it of also lays in the efficiency of his communication and marketing team (case in point - a delightfully prompt response from his PR team via e-mail, replete with current season's lookbook imagery. Too bad his pieces are not for loan for the time being though).

His collections have seemingly dark brooding quality (his garments are predominantly black in colour, obvs), but on further view there is a certain playfulness within - the asymmetric cuts and other details balance the darker undertones. I'd definitely head on to his store Thisappear (a collab project with fellow designer Justin Chew) in Bangsar to have a closer inspection of his pieces, and perhaps purchase a piece or two. Also like to see more of his delectable minute shoe collection grow (still bummed out that I didn't get to try them on last year)...

Joe Chia FW15

Words by Hafidzudin Zainal
Images by respective designers

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