By NASA MARIA ENTABAN
THE Fashion Design graduates of Raffles College of Higher Education never cease to amaze. This year, 20 students put magnificent collections on the runway during their recent 26th graduation show.
Various creations made from numerous materials and combining different dress elements like tassles, feathers, ribbons, sequins and leather, dazzled down the runway at the ballroom of J.W. Marriott Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
Out of the 20, three designers stood out and received accolades from industry experts who were there that night. These designers received partial scholarships to complete their Bachelor’s degree at Raffles College.
Graduates Alyssa Lee Chen Erh, Eka Nazhwa Abdul Aziz and Daniel Lau tell us what their collections were all about, and shared their inspirations for their work.
Daniel’s collection was inspired by the book Alchemy & Mysticism by Alexander Roob. In the book, it explains that “Ouroboros” is an ancient symbol of a serpent eating its own tail, which represents a constant cycle in a sense that something is constantly recreating itself.
“For my collection I wanted to play with a few elements which are construction, textures and detailing,” said Daniel, 21, who hails from Mentakab, Pahang. “With that in mind I was able to tell myself what I wanted for this collection and that made things easier with the fabric choosing process, which ranges from cotton poplin, pure cotton, PVC, taffeta, knits, jerseys, netting and also fringes.”
Every individual piece in his collection has a story and meaning to it, including the colours.
“For example, for the Fringes dress, I drew inspiration from an illustration of a man with wavy hair made from the wind, so from there I played around with the idea of the flowing wind to create the lines for the outfit,” explained Daniel, who is a fan of designers Francisco Costa, Kevin Carrigan, Alexander McQueen and Nicolas Ghesquiere.
Alyssa Lee Chen Erh
Fight Or Flight
The 20-year-old designer from Kuala Lumpur based her collection on the analogy of a caged bird – yearning for freedom.
“When formulating my concept, I drew inspiration from a critically acclaimed poem by Maya Angelou, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings,” said Alyssa.
“The poem beautifully captures the contrast between a free bird that is able to soar with the wind claiming the sky and a caged bird looking at the world only through the bars of its cage; singing and longing for what could be.”
Alyssa depicted the imagery of the cage in her menswear using precise pleating and panelling, loose knits and metallics, while for the womenswear (signifying the bird), she used lightweight silk nets and layering of chiffon while creating silhouettes which draw from a bird’s form.
“White was selected as the unifying colour of designs as white has an interesting property where it can take on a purity and lightness when used in certain materials while a sharp and stark white could appear strong and cold,” said Alyssa, who admires the works of designers Christopher Kane, Proenza Schouler and Mary Katrantzou.
Apart from white, she used greys and greens to complement the concept of a caged bird; the dreary grey gave the collection an atmosphere of confinement or cold bards of steel while green signified a fresh start.
Eka Nazhwa Abdul Aziz
Eka, 22, is from Klang, Selangor. She named her collection Minorama, a combination of the words “minimalism” and “panorama”.
Minimalism represents the small twists in her collection – folds, pleats, drapes and cutlines, while the panorama part is inspired by the picture of The Church Of Light, built by Japanese architect Tadao Ando.
“Architecture is my second passion, something I’d be doing if it wasn’t fashion,” said Eka. “I’ve always believed that the way people live is influenced by architecture, thus the inspiration.”
Eka worked with soft fabrics like jersey and chiffon to symbolise the idea of transparency, like how beams of sunlight shine through churches and buildings.
“As for leathers, PVCs, cotton and suede, they all defined the strength, hardness, stability and toughness of the structure of building,” explained Eka, whose favourite designers are Alexander Wang and Riccardo Tisci.
“As for the colours, I used white, off-white, shades of grey, and black. The lighter tones are inspired by the sunlight, while the darker tones are from the shadows made from the beams of sunlight.”
Check out some of the design collections from other graduates: