The elegant rebel
A Malaysian designer combines clean lines and a rebellious spirit in her designs, writes
IMAGINE this — a classy, lady-like style with some bad girl vibes that doesn’t make the wearer look odd. Or consider the classy looks of Celine or Yves Saint Laurent, infused with the in-your-face attitude of Viktor & Rolf. Bold creativity from opposing spectrums in the name of fashion. And when it comes to combining sophistication with a raw and rebellious spirit, fashion designer Jo Disaya is an ace.
Jo Disaya uses radicalism and rebellion in both strong and subtle ways. With androgyny as its foundation, the label focuses on defined silhouette with attention to accessory detailing and fabrication.
Established in 2015, Jo Disaya is a newbie in the industry. However, the new kid on the block was already making waves in the global fashion arena since its debut at Paris Fashion Week in 2015.
Following the event, in which the label received rave reviews from Europe, it had its maiden showcase back home at the Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week in the same year.
The pret-a-porter label is named after its founder, Jo Disaya. “Yes, that’s my real name,” says the young designer who is of Sophistication and sporty looks can go together with Jo Disaya. Chinese and Thai descent.
“My designs and clothing range are very personal to me. It’s about character. I’m also a hands-on person and very particular about everything I do. I guess that’s why I’ve chosen to brand it around my name,” says the natural-born talent who prefers to be called Jo.
Raised in Australia, she started sketching designs and imagining her own runway shows at 13. She read law and graduated from Monash University, Melbourne, but her passion has always been in fashion.
“Law is something more concrete but I never liked it. It’s just not me. Fashion has always been me since I was very young.”
Jo started her career in the fashion industry as a stylist, making bespoke pieces for a small number of clients.
“To start my own label took a lot of guts. But being in the industry has taught me a lot about its know-how and has opened up a lot of opportunities for me to meet established and upcoming designers.
“And that was how the journey began,” she says adding that the label specialises in women’s wear, with a few unisex pieces in every collection (usually outerwear). UNORTHODOX THINKING
Everything about the label — from the look to the materials or fabrics used — glorifies individuality and reflects the strong, noncomformist styles and expression of the designer.
For example, when white was the least likely colour option for outerwear, Jo showed white jackets in her Autumn/ Winter collection last year. And if bright colours or floral motifs were common or expected in a Spring/Summer collection, Jo used those elements in the recent 2017 Autumn/Winter range.
“I always do things the opposite way. I don’t conform to the norm or follow trends. When I design, I do what I like or what inspires me. And when it comes to runway shows, I ask my models to feel what they wear and go freestyle.
“I minimise on styling and choreographing because I know my designs are loud enough,” says Jo.