Here, we celebrate the five designers competing in the Men’s Folio Designer of the Year 2020 competition, interpreting this year’s theme of Rebel Rebel to celebrate our 23rd anniversary.
Hamkah — The Renasance
The collection in one sentence: Reinterpreting the idea of remix culture through the renaissance and contemporary periods as satirical conversations of what it means to be “in” fashion.
Prime feature of the collection: The black on black textures and oversized layered silhouettes.
The most famous person you see wearing this collection: Billie Eilish or Rihanna! The baddest only!
Your best skill as a designer: Being adaptable and determined to figure out design solutions that don’t compromise the quality and essence of the product. Sometimes, the designs don’t translate well from 2D to 3D!
Your design icon: Riccardo Tisci, when he was at Givenchy! His works merge the dark, the beautiful, and the unorthodox. Additionally, playing with bold prints and textiles that elevated his designs.
Form or function: Both! I strive to showcase both aspects in my designs as I want my pieces to be versatile — bold yet functional.
Your inspiration outside of fashion: My inspirations often come from visuals and music from music videos, movies and tv shows. The bleaker the better!
Ayan Zeynalova — Refugee
The collection in one sentence: A unisex collection which conveys a rebellious spirit and feel of freedom.
Prime feature of the collection: I love that the designs are based on loose silhouettes and oversized shapes to appeal more to the soul, rather than the eyes.
The most famous person you see wearing this collection: Jaden Smith! He has refuted archaic gender norms as it relates to his wardrobe. The 22-year old style icon proves that there is no reason to dress according to socially constructed gender lines.
Your best skill as a designer: Fabrication. I enjoy creating various textile manipulations using traditional (block) and digital printing, bidding, macrame, weaving, and knitting techniques while mixing and matching different textures.
Your design icon: Rei Kawakubo. She’s mysterious, unapologetically ridiculous, and at the same time, a genius. Before she came into the scene, no designer ever dared to do what she does. Parading unfinished hems, adding random bumps and lumps into silhouettes, designing clothes without armholes — these creative decisions are indeed outrageous, some might even say impractical.
Form or function: Form.
Your inspiration outside of fashion: In my spare time, I tend to explore the history of architectural sides and significant buildings across the world.
Wu Tian — Escapade
The collection in one sentence: Rebellion is the beginning of the march towards freedom.
Prime feature of the collection: The main feature of this collection is the strap, which represents two meanings. One is that people are bounded by life and thought, while the other is the beginning to lead people towards freedom.
The most famous person you see wearing this collection: Zhao Lei.
Your best skill as a designer: Graphic designing! I love the local cultures and exploring pattern elements of different regions applied in fashion design!
Your design icon: Pioneer independent fashion icon, Angel Chen! Her collections are known for her unique insights, which cleverly combines eastern and western aesthetic concepts. Her designs present the integration of different fabrics and material characteristics, which include embroideries, bold colours, and the use of traditional Chinese folk craft. Her works reflect a whimsical and oriental theme, which perfectly displays the mental outlook of young people.
Form or function: Function.
Your inspiration outside of fashion: Culture, art, and graphic design.
Latika Balachander — Blurred Bodies
The collection in one sentence: An interaction between the garment, body, and inner identity, which views humans as uniformed vessels through rebelling against division.
Prime feature of the collection: Inspired by the aging body of my grandmother, the vivid prints and bulbous silhouettes are abstracted derivations of skin cells. The garments, then provide a second skin for the wearer.
The most famous person you see wearing this collection: David Bowie aka Ziggy Stardust
Your best skill as a designer: Story-telling. I enjoy creating a stimulus for narratives and conversations that extend from fashion into foreign contexts.
Your design icons: Rick Owens and Martin Margiela. I am inspired by their ambiguous creations and outlandish design approach.
Form or function: Form.
Your inspiration outside of fashion: Socio-cultural contexts encapsulated through paintings and sculptures.
Darren Loh — Rebel of a Digital Nomad
The collection in one sentence: An interpretation of an alter ego rebelling against the social norm while desiring freedom as free-spirited individuals
Prime feature of the collection: The packability function in every garment!
The most famous person you see wearing this collection: Kris Wu.
Your best skill as a designer: I believe that I am an analytical imaginative. Being analytical is essential to making progress, defining problems, gathering data and extracting key information. Combined with a witty imagination, I believe that I have the edge to push me towards creating better design solutions.
Your design icon: Currently, it is Masayuki Ino of Doublet. He is known for his humorous reinventions of wardrobe staples and his innovative textile applications. He inspires me to be more daring in experimenting with unconventional non-fashion approaches towards fashion design.
Form or function: I believe that functionality is the key importance to making clothes “smarter”.
Your inspiration outside of fashion: I have always been an admirer of anything innovative, especially manifestations outside of fashion. It inspires me to push existing boundaries and further develop new ideas.
Photography and fashion direction Collabtive
Grooming & Hair Eric and Jenny Tan / Paletteinc