15 MINUTES WITH … HARVEE KOK
THE DESIGNERS Peggy Hartanto, Teresa Lim, Sheila Agatha Wijaya, Yahn Adam, Jatupong Metula, Harvee Kok, Wiruwan Nhuyung, and Sean Loh
Congratulations! How does it feel to emerge as the grand prize-winner, beating so many competitors from across the region? Thanks, I didn’t really expect it. I’m grateful that the judges appreciate the conceptual aspect of my work. How did you get into fashion? I’ve wanted to be a fashion designer from the age of 11. After a degree in business administration and working in Singapore for three years, I decided to enrol in a fashion design course at Raffles College of Higher Education in KL; that proved to be a pivotal moment in my life and gave me the confidence to follow my dreams. What do you love most about the industry? It is a form of intellectual entertainment. My aim is to create a new kind of fashion experience and to open up people’s minds and the way they view things. Tell us more about the collection you presented at the awards show. My Spring/Summer ’14 collection, “Bipolarity”, was inspired by “Go”, an ancient Chinese strategic board game. The game reflects elements of Eastern philosophy, similar to the theory of yin and yang that’s rooted in Taoism. The colours black and white represent yin and yang. The use of metallic beads on the checkered textured fabrics was meant to recreate the feel of playing the game. The complexity of the game is not fully understandable with logic, which shows parallels to the Buddhist philosophy of enlightenment. The Buddhist belief is that potentiality precedes actuality. There are no ultimate limits on the possibilities of being; this idea was what inspired me to use zippers to transform the silhouette into new shapes and add interesting detail. Describe the girl who wears your clothes. One who strives for new possibilities in fashion. Your all-time favourite fashion designers? Phoebe Philo of Céline; I just love her aesthetic and her magic touch to the garments. Which artists are you inspired by? Dutch graphic artist M. C. Escher. I was impressed by his mathematical art, impossible constructions, and explorations of infinity, architecture, and tessellations. What are you currently reading? Alexander McQueen: Evolution by Katherine Gleason. Any other interests outside of fashion? Horror movies. At times, I’m actually inspired by a creepy sense of beauty from these films. If you could have dinner with any fashion designer, who would they be? Some new talents I admire, including Mark Goldenberg, Ichiro Suzuki, Mason Jung, and Wisharawish Akarasantisook. Sounds like a party! Finally, where do you hope to see yourself in the next five years? Hopefully with my own internationally recognised niche brand.