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Beyond the Runway

Fashion insiders talk about what it takes to break into the industry and why AirAsia’s Runway Ready Design Search is the right platform to help budding designers launch their careers

Dreams are but dreams, if you haven’t the right platform to make them a reality. For budding fashion designers, though, the third edition of the AirAsia Runway Ready Design Search promises one winner the chance to have a capsule collection produced and showcased at KL Fashion Week Ready to Wear 2018. The winning collection will even be stocked at mega online store Fashion Valet, alongside other prizes – including AirAsia credits for flights within the region and long-haul. We quiz a designer, stylist and street-style fashion photographer on their tips to making it in the often intimidating world of fashion.

Nicholas Ng
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Nicholas Ng

@garbagelapsap
Street-style photographer

Where do you draw inspiration from for your photos?

When shooting street fashion on the streets, I’m more inspired by a person’s character than outlook. To me, the way someone dresses is a reflection of his or her character.

Who do you count as your influences?

My grandfather influenced me a lot – photography was his biggest passion in life. He bought me my first Olympus film camera when I was young. When it comes to street style, Tommy Ton’s work inspires me the most. His eye for detail is incredible.

What is fashion to you?

Fashion is almost like a tool for a person to ‘decorate’ themselves and define their style. You can buy fashion, but you most certainly can’t buy style.

How can a young designer catch your attention?

I believe every designer should stick to his or her own concept, because originality is so rare now. It’s what makes you stands out.

What was your biggest challenge when you first started out? 

If anything, it would be approaching people to take their photos. I got rejected plenty of times when I first started shooting street-style fashion.  

Why do you think AirAsia Runway Ready Design Search is an important competition for budding fashion designers?

The design search [is the only regional competition that] offers the winning designer the opportunity to showcase a collection, which is especially crucial in the Southeast Asian market where platforms are so limited.

Furqan Saini
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Furqan Saini

@in3pid
Fashion Director and Stylist

Where do you draw inspiration from for the fashion spreads you work on?

As a stylist – and to quote Diana Vreeland – I’m of the belief that the eye must travel. Having lived in New York and Paris, I’m deeply inspired by different cultures, landscapes and people. I've created fashion spreads based on the Last Supper, Lisa Stansfield, and Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher.

Who do you count as your influences?

Too many! The pages of National Geographic; the works of Neil Gaiman; the effortless style of uber fashion stylist supremo, Carine Roitfeld; British fashion stylist Robbie Spencer; Alexander McQueen's muse, the late Isabella Blow; Yves Saint Laurent and Raf Simons. 

What is fashion to you?

Fashion is an extension of one's personality, with a well-oiled machine behind it. It can be used as a canvas for you to let the world know who you are – or aren't.

How can a young designer catch your attention?

A healthy respect for history and tradition is great, but that’s not the be all and end all. I think being able to understand the brief given, to respect it and be able to push boundaries is better. Finishing and detailing are definitely important factors, too.

What was your biggest challenge when you first started out? 

To be given a chance. 

Why do you think AirAsia Runway Ready Design Search is an important competition for budding fashion designers?

I think platforms that champion the bright-eyed should be lauded. Talent can come through every and any country, city, social status and strata. It’s vital that new designers be given that chance to show and hone their talent. The next big thing could be coming our way! 

Savina Chai
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Savina Chai

@savinachaiyj
Creative Director and Founder of local design label Eight Slate

Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs?

[Eight Slate’s] clothes and designs are created with the modern woman in mind. She is strong, confident and wants pieces that are unique and contemporary with great quality. 

Who do you count as your influences?

I'm empowered by successful female fashion entrepreneurs such as Emily Weiss of Glossier, Victoria Beckham, and Natalie Massenet of online fashion retailer Net-A-Porter.

What is fashion to you?

Fashion is my first and greatest love. To me, there’s more to it than clothing – it symbolises freedom of expression, and carries heavy influences in film, music, culture and photography. 

How can a young designer catch your attention?

Anyone with strong business foresight would have the most potential, in my opinion. 

What was your biggest challenge when you first started out?

One of the main things I struggled with was finance and cash flow. It also took plenty of dedication and research – even picking up new skills like accounting, graphic design and photography – to make things work.

Why do you think AirAsia Runway Ready Design Search is an important competition for budding fashion designers?

It gives these aspiring designers an alternative platform to showcase their work and compete in a supportive and creative environment. 

The Air Asia Runway Ready Design Search online registration closes on Apr 22 2017. Walk-in, on-ground auditions are on Apr 29. First 100 online registrants from Singapore will be entitled to participate in our lucky draw for a chance to win a pair of flights to Bali.

More information on submission guidelines can be found at www.klfashionweek.website/aarrds2017.

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