Class of 2021 poised to make their mark

20 August 2021
The Straits Times, Life!

Singapore’s graduating fashion designers stand out with their fearlessness and sophistication in addressing socio-cultural or deeply personal issues.

This is usually the time of the year when the nation’s brightest fashion design students take to the runways to showcase their collections – the culmination of months of research and hard work. They are part of the next generation to carry the design torch forth and their work forms a snapshot of where Singaporean fashion is headed. While runway shows in front of a live audience might not be possible this year, the message that these designers want to get across is no less diminished.

Amid restrictions and uncertainties, these graduates prove that creativity, resilience and resourcefulness can flourish. For them, fashion is a vehicle through which they can explore issues pertaining to identity, society, heritage and multi-culturalism. These, of course, have always been issues at the heart of Singaporean fashion and of Singapore itself, but they feel even more pertinent today, making for rich fodder when it comes to creative authorship.

One of the graduate designers featured is Anadier Ong Soo Teng from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. She shares the inspiration behind her work, “The collection is called The Marketplace, inspired by the bustling markets of Singapore and their diversity of unique ethnic cultures and heritage. I drew from this ‘organised chaos’ of randomly stacked baskets filled with fruits and produce in their colourful packaging, plastic nettings, bags and containers. I saw all these as ‘accidental fashion’, which informed the silhouettes and colour combinations of my collection. I also wanted to incorporate discarded dry-food packaging such as gunnysacks and rice bags, alongside deadstock materials, to create a sustainable collection – to express a visual story through the reuse of discarded materials to show how fashion can play a role in reducing carbon footprint. I used modular fastenings such as drawstrings and snap buttons as well, which allow the designs to be convertible – a skirt can become a bag, or a pair of trousers can be turned into a skirt.”

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