THE EMERG­ING LA­BELS

JUST LIKE THE MODEL LINE-UP ON THE RUN­WAYS, THE MIX OF DE­SIGN GENIUSES IN FASH­ION IS GET­TING IN­CREAS­INGLY IN­CLU­SIVE (AND NO, WE AIN’T TALK­ING ABOUT VIR­GIL). KENG YANG SHUEN SIN­GLES OUT SIX UP-AND-COM­ING NAMES WHO ARE DO­ING ASIA PROUD.

Female (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

These six brands are adding di­ver­sity to the fash­ion in­dus­try while do­ing Asia proud.

DOUBLET

What: The five-year-old gen­der-neu­tral streetwear la­bel that won this year’s LVMH Prize, the star-mak­ing ve­hi­cle launched by the LVMH con­glom­er­ate

Where it’s from: De­signer Masayuki Ino hails from – where else – Ja­pan, and is a grad­u­ate of the Tokyo Mode Gakuen Col­lege of Fash­ion and De­sign.

Why know it: It beat 1,300 ap­pli­cants (in­clud­ing more fa­mous in­dus­try dar­lings like Eck­haus Latta and Faus­tine Stein­metz) to be­come the first Asian la­bel to snag the pres­ti­gious LVMH award. At first glance, its pieces – sold here at Dover Street Mar­ket Sin­ga­pore – look like the typ­i­cally over­sized, slightly ironic streetwear that’s per­vaded fash­ion. LVMH Prize judges – in­clud­ing Ni­co­las Gh­esquiere and Clare Waight Keller this year – were how­ever swayed by Ino’s in­no­va­tive fabric ex­per­i­men­ta­tions. Among them: trans­par­ent plas­tic base­ball jack­ets, PU trousers sport­ing mo­tifs that riff on junk food pack­ag­ing, and nov­elty T-shirts that re­port­edly ex­pand when soaked in wa­ter.

PAWAKA

What: De­signer Fahrani Em­pel’s three-year-old, Ber­lin-based eyewear line that counts Ri­hanna as one of its big­gest fans. Its name is San­skrit for fire – and the code name for Em­pel’s grand­fa­ther dur­ing World War II.

Where it’s from: Also a model and actress, the all-tat­ted-out, re­bel­liously chic Em­pel calls Ber­lin and Bali home, but was born in Jakarta. Each of her eyewear styles is named in nu­mer­i­cal or­der in Ba­hasa In­done­sia.

Why know it: With its un­abashedly bold aes­thetic – its frames are usu­ally over­sized, and in un­ex­pected geo­met­ric shapes and colours – it’s hard not to no­tice the la­bel, or the women wear­ing it. Lend­ing fur­ther sub­stance: Ev­ery pair is hand­made in Italy, us­ing the same Maz­zuc­chelli ac­etate that’s used by top in­de­pen­dent eyewear la­bels such as Cut­ler And Gross, and Gar­rett Leight.

ROKH

What: The arty yet sur­pris­ingly wear­able la­bel founded by Rok Hwang in 2016, and the win­ner of the runner-up Spe­cial Prize at this year’s LVMH Prize

Where it’s from: Hwang was born in Seoul; grew up in Austin, Texas; and is now based in Lon­don af­ter mov­ing over to study wom­enswear at Cen­tral Saint Mar­tins. Why know it: The “in­tel­lec­tual” look, as pop­u­larised by Phoebe Philo dur­ing her ten­ure at Ce­line, has been end­lessly mim­icked, but not ev­ery­one pulls it off. En­ter Hwang, who was part of her team at the brand from day one, as­sist­ing her for three years be­fore mov­ing on to Chloe, then Louis Vuit­ton. Rokh came af­ter and, in just three sea­sons, has gained a rep­u­ta­tion for its de­con­structed clas­sics with play­ful, thought­ful twists. Think coats with re­mov­able sleeves or trousers that can be un­but­toned at the seams to be­come flares. Small won­der that he chalked up over 40 stockists within a year of launch­ing, in­clud­ing heavy­weights like Net-a-porter, Far­fetch and – in Sin­ga­pore – Sur­ren­der, where it de­buts this sea­son.

JI WON CHOI

What: The multi-award-win­ning, sus­tain­abil­ity-con­scious la­bel started by Par­sons grad­u­ate Ji Won Choi last year Where it’s from: A New Yorker for years, Choi was born in Seoul, Korea, and raised in the Mid­west in the US. Why know it: Choi’s im­pres­sive list of ac­co­lades in 2017 alone – the year she grad­u­ated – in­clude the Par­sons x Ker­ing Em­pow­er­ing Imag­i­na­tion Award (a tie-up be­tween her alma mater and the lux­ury con­glom­er­ate); and be­ing the first win­ner of Yoox’s Yooxy­gen Award. The lat­ter aims to pro­mote sus­tain­abil­ity in fash­ion, and Choi does so in a re­fresh­ingly con­cep­tual way. De­buted in S/S ’18, all her pieces can be mixed and matched, and worn in mul­ti­ple ways – the sculp­tural, ki­mono-es­que coats, for ex­am­ple, sport nu­mer­ous straps for max­i­mum ver­sa­til­ity. The idea: Pro­vid­ing more op­tions with a sin­gle item could en­cour­age one to buy fewer pieces, and in turn re­duce waste.

MINJUKIM

What: A tent-pole name of Seoul Fash­ion Week founded by name­sake de­signer Minju Kim in 2017

Where it’s from: South Korea

Why know it: Kim’s star has been steadily ris­ing for the past few years – she nabbed the H&M De­sign Award back in 2013 while still a stu­dent at An­twerp’s Royal Academy Of Fine Arts (yep, the same school Dries and Margiela went to). Come F/W ’18, her whim­si­cally ro­man­tic clothes that re­call a mash-up of Miu Miu meets Molly God­dard meets Christo­pher Kane will be sold here for the first time over at multi-la­bel bou­tique So­ci­ety A. Ex­pect adorable prints in­spired by ob­scure sources (this sea­son, it’s the cult ’70s sci-fi anime Galaxy Ex­press 999), and a tex­tured mul­ti­tude of fab­rics, colours and em­bel­lish­ments on dresses and sep­a­rates with cou­ture-in­flected sil­hou­ettes. Her clothes, she says, are meant to “make the per­son who wears (them) joy­ful”. In these times, we could all do with some of that.

MANDKHAI

What: A Lon­don-based cash­mere-based la­bel that’s into its fifth sea­son Where it’s from: It’s the epony­mous la­bel of Mon­go­lian de­signer Mandkhai Jar­gal­saikhan, whose par­ents re­port­edly started the coun­try’s first cash­mere busi­ness post-so­cial­ist rule. Why know it: While cash­mere of­ten con­notes knit or loungewear, Mandkhai’s reper­toire in­cludes a va­ri­ety of coloured suits en­livened this sea­son with flo­ral em­broi­dery. (Equally de­sir­able: the “tai­lored” pants and gen­tly over­sized sweaters with just the right amount of slouch.) The Ha­did sis­ters are fans and you should be too, con­sid­er­ing that its cash­mere is sus­tain­able, sourced from free-roam­ing Mon­go­lian goats. The near­est stock­ist: The Re­fin­ery’s Hong Kong out­post.

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