Jon Max Goh, menswear de­signer

Esquire (Singapore) - - Feature -

A De­sign-Sin­ga­pore scholar in­spired by Sin­ga­porean and Per­anakan her­itage, Goh grad­u­ated with a BFA in fash­ion de­sign at Par­sons The New School for De­sign and bagged the school’s Menswear De­signer of the Year in 2015. He was also a re­cip­i­ent of the CFDA (The Coun­cil of Fash­ion De­sign­ers of Amer­ica) schol­ar­ship in 2014. I come from a fine arts back­ground and grew up be­ing en­cour­aged to pur­sue my cre­ative in­ter­ests. While I’m a fash­ion de­signer by train­ing, I’ve come to re­alise that I’m ul­ti­mately an artist. My work is of­ten from the lens of fash­ion de­sign. Our cul­tural, so­cial and phys­i­cal in­ter­ac­tions be­tween body and gar­ment are what drive my in­ter­est with the medium. I see cloth­ing and ma­te­rial as my pal­ette and clay to paint and sculpt with. I’m not so con­cerned about cre­at­ing a re­tail em­pire as I am try­ing to get us to keep think­ing about the way we en­gage with our world through cloth­ing.

There’s one work that I do think of fondly that sets it apart from the fash­ion de­signs I’ve done over the years. It’s ti­tled ‘Cor­pus, In Tan­dem’. It was a project I did in my se­nior year at Par­sons that cen­tred on how we per­ceive our own (phys­i­cal and cog­ni­tive) iden­ti­ties through be­ing in­formed by the con­text of other bod­ies that we come into con­tact with. The fond­ness come from the fact that I was able to in­clude peo­ple (mostly friends) who al­lowed me to bor­row and doc­u­ment their bod­ies, and en­gage with them in face-to-face con­ver­sa­tions about their re­la­tion­ship with their own bod­ies.

I feel priv­i­leged to (be prac­tis­ing art in Sin­ga­pore). Firstly, be­cause I know it’s still not an oft-trav­elled path for many to con­ceive. Se­condly, be­cause it’s an ex­cit­ing time to be con­tribut­ing to the cul­tural cap­i­tal we get to cre­ate for our­selves. I hope that artists and de­sign­ers con­tinue to lead by ex­am­ple and pave the way for fu­ture cre­ative minds and hearts. As cre­ative trail­blaz­ers, we take it in our stride to be re­spon­si­ble in the way we shape and de­sign how peo­ple in­ter­act and func­tion, whether as a di­rect cause or a by-prod­uct of our de­ci­sions.

(Caro­line Kan of Keep­ers) has been a great sup­porter and men­tor through the years as I set out on my path in New York. I had al­ready shown my se­nior the­sis at Keep­ers three years back on a re­turn trip home, so when Car­rie ap­proached me about the up­com­ing it­er­a­tion of Keep­ers, it was a no-brainer see­ing as I had missed out on all the fun from last year at Majestic Ho­tel! What started out as a sim­ple idea to bring vis­i­bil­ity to lo­cal ar­ti­sans has grown into a gi­ant cel­e­bra­tion of all things lo­cal. I think Keep­ers has been such a great sup­port in bring­ing art, de­sign and ev­ery­thing off the beaten path into the light that al­lows the pub­lic to en­joy and ap­pre­ci­ate ef­fort­lessly.

Pages from ‘Cor­pus, In Tan­dem’ by Jon Max Goh.

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