Meet the five designer of the year 2018 finalists and their sinful collections.
Name of collection: GIN OUKAM.
The collection in one sentence: The collection takes the shape of a werewolf to physically represent losing one’s self control and giving in to one’s most base and carnal nature.
The most famous person you see wearing this collection: Taemin from SHINee. My designs have always been strongly influenced by Japanese and South Korean streetwear, and Taemin’s personal style is a hybrid of both.
Your best skill as a designer: Conceptualisation. I have so many initial ideas that come to me at the most random times – while napping on a bus ride, in the shower, right before falling asleep – and if it intrigues me enough, I will build that idea into something concrete.
Your design icon: Juun J. His collections are always well-conceptualised and executed through a combination of statement silhouettes with fine detailing and incorporation of tailored precision in oversized patterns. His approach to design and outlook on reinvention inspires me greatly as a designer.
Form or function: Function. I personally take note of comfort whenever I purchase clothing or accessories; that has, therefore, become one of the primary values in my own branding.
Your inspiration outside of fashion: What inspires me most is people – how we interact with one another, how our minds work. You can put an apple on a table and two persons will say very different things about it. It is fascinating how each individual has a different personality, motivation and perspective of the world, and how we are able to coexist with one another despite our differences.
Name of collection: Avarice.
The collection in one sentence: The destructive power of greed.
The most famous person you see wearing this collection: Jam Hsiao or Hua Chenyu. They present a similar aesthetic and style in their onstage performances, and are quite experimental with their looks.
Your best skill as a designer: Mixed-media. I love to play with different fabrics, materials and techniques, as well as push the boundaries of the medium.
Your design icon: I admire Yohji Yamamoto. He has an androgynous style to his designs that is flexible, and his clothes look simple but the attention to detail is strategic and impactful.
Form or function: Function. The relationship between form and function is like that between an idea and a concept. The form (or idea) is a rough notion with raw edges that need fine-tuning and additional input. Function then comes in to build the layers, strengthen the concept, and develop the form to its final stage.
Your inspiration outside of fashion: Culture and music. As a multiracial designer, I seek inspiration in the plethora of cultures in the world. Music, on the other hand, transcends boundaries and is an alternative form of expression for me besides fashion.
Name of collection: Ambiguity.
The collection in one sentence: Classic, free and stylish.
The most famous person you see wearing this collection: Zayn Malik.
Your best skill as a designer: Perfectionist.
Your design icon: Toton Januar, because his ideas are brilliant and he really appreciate details. He is also a tenacious person with fantastic designs.
Form or function: Form.
Your inspiration outside of fashion: Technology.
Name of collection: Welcome! 欢迎光临
The collection in one sentence: To represent greed with an off-kilter and satirical humour by juxtaposing images of the revolutionary Mao Zedong with the kitsch sensibility of pop art.
The most famous person you see wearing this collection: A$AP Rocky.
Your best skill as a designer: Imagination.
Your design icon: Drag queens, because they excel at creating fantasy around them.
Form or function: Function during the day, form at night.
Your inspiration outside of fashion: Graphic designers and artists such as Sam Friedman, Keith Rankin, Teng Yung Han, John Yuyi… and lots of 1980s dance music!
Name of collection: Operation Wrath
The collection in one sentence: Inspired by assassins blinded by hatred and rage, I combined elements of angsty Japanese movies and emphasised anger with black and red, while keeping the silhouette interesting with layering and infusing a touch of streetwear.
The most famous person you see wearing this collection: Troye Sivan.
Your best skill as a designer: Interesting silhouettes, layering and unique prints.
Your design icon: Raf Simons. He changed menswear by developing minimalism and created clothes that focused on the emotional aspect of men’s fashion. He demonstrated that minimalism isn’t about uninteresting clothing, but rather the impact and beauty of simplicity.
Form or function: Function.
Your inspiration outside of fashion: Art, movies and subcultures.
Follow @mensfolio to catch the final runway live on 23 October, Tuesday.