FASHION INSIDER: PRINTS CHARMING
TEXTILE AND PRINT DESIGNER, SHAN SHAN LIM INTRIGUES NABILA AZLAN WITH THE TYPE OF ART THAT SHE’S INSPIRED BY AND HOW SHE TURNS THEM INTO HER OWN CREATIONS.
We speak to textile and print designer, Shan Shan Lim who is making it big in the local art scene.
FEMALE: What pushed you to become a designer?
Shan Shan: “I’ve been making art for as long as I can remember, but nothing beats my love for textiles. I moved to India for my secondary education and my school was in the Himalayan foothills, surrounded by small villages of farmers, weavers and potters. That’s when I learnt about Gandhi’s khadi. Deeply moved by the hand spuns, woven cloth and how it reflects India’s struggle for freedom, it inspired me to specialise in weaving and printing when I was completing my degree at Central Saint Martins in London!”
F: Describe your signature style when it comes to designing. SS: “If we’re talking about themes, I’m drawn to minimal prints and abstract shapes with bold colours. I believe my return to sunny and tropical Malaysia after my studies has something to do with that; everything is so colourful – from the hawker centre plates to our diverse rainforest. Mediums, on the other hand… I might have some form of artistic ADHD in me cos I’m never tired of exploring different mediums up until now!”
F: You got to work with d.d Collective’s fashion designer, Debbie Chung for the Fall 2018 collection. What’s the story behind the collab?
SS: “I reached out to d.d Collective myself upon my return from London cos the first thing I wanted to do was work with our local fashion brands. Debbie showed me the brand’s colour palette for Fall 2018 and like magic, it syncs with the drawing and paintings that I kept in my personal travel sketchbook. I started creating motifs from my sketches based on that and aesthetically speaking, we clicked really well! Working with Debbie was smooth sailing and the whole experience was truly amazing.”
F: What’s your idea of a productive day?
SS: “I live by lists. I can’t tell you enough how satisfying it is to have my tasks and goals crossed each day but of course, everything must work according to my own pace. I listen to a lot of classical music, doo-wop and ’50s blues at work – nothing intrusive to keep my flow going. Whenever an artist’s block hits me, I’ll remind myself to take a step back because more often than not, when art is forced, it doesn’t translate well.”
F: If there’s one advice you can pass on to an aspiring designer who is just starting up, what would it be?
SS: “The time is now and there isn’t really the ‘right time’ for doing what you love! You’ll learn from your obstacles once you start and they’ll make you better at what you do. Also, never come in conflict with your own voice; remember, originality will always stay relevant.”
F: Your work has been showcased on mats, posters, clothes and even on a wall at Snackfood! What’s next on your list? SS: “If given a chance, I want to work on everything – album covers, furniture, murals and tattoos – you name it! I want all my collabs to be with those who value the craftsmanship and maybe someday, even work with Indian designer Sabyasachi too. In the meantime, stay tuned for my works with modestwear label, Cala Qisya, and bespoke stationery brand, Ana Tomy!”
Oftentimes when art is forced, it doesn’t translate well. – SHAN SHAN LIM