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Lasalle's Fashion Students Will Be Staging A Virtual Graduate Show, And They're Giving You A BTS Peek

Titled 'Behind the Seams', the five-part series highlights the work process of the students leading up to their virtual runway show.

Palpitate by Mazri Bin Ismail.

As fashion brands all over the world — from Gucci to Prada to Burberry — rethink the way we create, interact and consume fashion, so too have local fashion institutions such as Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Lasalle College of the Arts and Raffles College of Higher Education.

Earlier this year, these three fashion schools announced the cancellation of their physical student showcases. But as Singapore enters into Phase Two of reopening with eased restrictions, the schools have announced they’ll feature the works of their graduates via digital and social platforms.

/wau/ by Kristen Cheah.

One such example isBehind the Seamsa five-part Instagram series initiated by lecturers Rohaizatul Azhar and Furqan Saini at Lasalle College of the Arts’ School of Fashion to spotlight fashion graduates. This special initiative was launched on the brand new integrated Instagram account @1McNallyFashion on July 6.

Repelebb by Felicia Agatha.

Behind the Seams is also a build-up to the students’ virtual runway show titled Society of the Spectacle happening on July 16. We speak to the school’s head of fashion Circe Henestrosa, and Dinu Bodiciu, its lecturer-in-charge of the BA (Hons) Fashion Design & Textiles programme to find out more.

Circe Henestrosa, head of the School of Fashion at Lasalle College of the Arts. Photo: Natsuko Teruya

Can you walk us through the thought process behind Society of the Spectacle and Behind the Seams?

Circe Henestrosa (CH): We have to constantly respond to the changing needs of the fashion industry and if we want to remain relevant, we have to adapt and be creative. In the School of Fashion at Lasalle College of the Arts, we want to inspire our students to develop their own fashion language and become globally engaged creative thinkers and makers. We want our students to have a broader understanding of fashion from an Asian and global perspective putting an emphasis on sustainability, the future of crafts and entrepreneurship.

At Lasalle, we conceive fashion as a collaborative system and these mini-series and fashion shows are not the exception. For example, the mini-series are led by Furqan Saini and Rohaizatul Azhar, working in collaboration with our BA (Hons) Fashion Media and Industries students and our BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Textiles students. The series will introduce the students’ works in preparation for the fashion show, so our students can engage with the public before we present their final collections in the digital fashion show.

Blurred Bodies by Latika Balachander.

We have split the series according to the students’ broader research interests such as sustainability, heritage, and craftsmanship, future identities and textiles and textures. The digital fashion show will culminate with the presentation of the works of the 17 graduating Fashion Design and Textiles students in a cool digital environment that will reflect our Covid-19 situation and the way we responded to it in creative ways.

Dinu Bodiciu (DB): This digital communication thus allows us to share more and showcase the amazing works of our graduating students. We hope that this show, which is anchored in the main digital platforms, will allow a seamless dialogue between the public and the young graduates.

Fembuoyant! by Samuel Xun.

In what ways have you prepared your students for the ever-changing fashion landscape that is now becoming increasingly digital-focused?

CH: I think we all have been working very hard in our different industries, Zooming and communicating in this new virtual space. The Covid-19 restrictions were only imposed almost at the end of the academic year, so in our case at Lasalle, while no extreme changes were made to teaching and learning, our teams and our students had to work very hard to get through the period.

From this experience, our students have now learned how to work in a completely digital environment. They have become more multi-skilled individuals because they were exposed to creative problem solving, and this experience allowed them to become more flexible, adaptable and more agile. I also think they learned to look at fashion from a bigger perspective. If any graduating cohort is prepared for the new digital era, it’s definitely the 2020 graduating cohort worldwide.

1.5oC by Kwok Minh Yen.

What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking of embarking on a career in fashion in Singapore?

CH: Go for it! All the students who are graduating this year are capable of producing wonderful things and creating real changes. Become those individuals who can now look at fashion with fresh eyes. At the end of any pandemic, there is always a rebirth, and I think it is in the hands of all of you, who have gone through this experience, to thrive and come up with that re-birth for the fashion industry. I want to encourage all of you to be experimental, to take risks, and contribute towards the possibility of a better fashion ecosystem in Asia and beyond.

We also spoke to the 17 students from BA (Hons) Fashion Design & Textiles to find out what their experience has been like putting together a fully realised fashion collection during this period.

Click through the gallery above to meet them.

This article originally appeared in Harper’s Bazaar Singapore.

Mazri Bin Ismail
“My collection is called Palpitate. It’s a physical manifestation of my experiences as a Wolff-Parkinson-White patient. My goal is to create my own brand that’ll be unapologetically authentic and that will one day be internationally known—no matter how long it takes.” Samuel Xun
“My collection Fembuoyant! is like a hocrux of myself, split into three themes: Artifice, aestheticism, and femsexuality. I’ve always found happiness in knowing that the work I’ve put out has made some sort of impact on someone positively. When you think about how saturated and desensitised we are to imagery now, it’s especially nice to know someone took the time to appreciate the work and somehow relate to it. I am currently working on something with an amazing artist, Stephanie Jane Burt, so I’m looking forward to that!” Natalie Schriber
“My collection A Bird’s Journey is made entirely from vegan materials so as to highlight the negative effects of animal-produced goods on the environment. My hope is that people reflect on their consumer behaviour and support local designers who make conscious decisions instead of fast fashion. I wish to build my own brand or work as a freelance textile designer and contribute to a more sustainable fashion industry sans animal cruelty. Right now, I am restoring furniture and I am looking forward to incorporating my textile designs into the upholstery.” Natalia Halim
“My collection is titled Dystopia and it projects fraud and distorted reality. I hope for fashion to be more sustainable through recycling, and I hope to contribute to the industry through my own business.” Kwok Minh Yen
“My 1.5oC collection is an all-white line, and I want to raise awareness about the current pressing global issue—climate change. I also hope to further my study, and investigate textile designs so as to find a unique technique of my own. Ultimately, I want to be a designer who can make positive changes in the fashion industry, develop innovative designs with a sustainable approach.” Masrurah Husna Hafiz P'ng
“My collection Ma (間) explores the Japanese sense of spaces in-between, the ‘openings’ between skin and fabric to create a wider dimension. Through this, I hope that I get the opportunity to design garments for famous people worldwide and get recognised. I also aspire to create clothing that celebrates and embraces the bodies in it. I would also like to be a part of the slow fashion movement.” Latika Balachander
“My collection is called Blurred Bodies and it’s an interpersonal conversation between garment and the abstracted human anatomy to signify that beneath the skin (and other differences), we are identical. My hope is for fashion to be more accessible. In the future, I want to be a designer who brings about conversations and dialogues that extend from fashion into our daily lives from artistic forms to perspectives.” Lee Cha Yeong
“My collection Ggogga-ot  is a lively and cheerful plus-sized womenswear collection in hanbok style. I want to show the world the different possibilities of creating garments for many different types of women, and not only for the fit, sexy, cute, and well-curated ladies in the media. Big women, physically-challenged women, old women also desire to look awesome. My aspirations come mostly from feminism issues. I find it uncomfortable seeing the fashion advertisements projecting skinny, tall, anorexic models who give young women the wrong ideas of cutting weight to look like skinny models.” Felicia Agatha
“My collection Repelebb makes use of climate-sensitive innovation to offer smart solutions in design, such as through cooling features as well as exploring how forward-thinking designs will work in synergy with nature to push fashion further to the future; I hope the fashion system will transform for the better. I also aspire to create a brand where designers can support each other and focus more on creating thoughtful garments for customers.” Fiona Lian Sadiq
“My collection is titled FOILED and it revolves around the sense of tactility, evoking fun experiences through the creation of unique fabrication. I hope to be able to play an active role in the fashion industry to help it evolve further. For now, I’m looking forward to help break the mould of fashion and come up with fresh and thoughtful innovations for all genders.” Hamkah Latib
“My collection is called The Renascence, which is the outcome of reinterpreting the idea of remixing culture through the Renaissance and the contemporary as a satirical conversation of what it means to be ‘in’ fashion. I hope that as an industry, there will be more innovative creations in fashion, using technology and science. Personally, I hope I have a place in this crazy industry.” Nur Hazeerah Binte Mohamed Basri
“My collection is called Pontianak and it’s an uncanny feminist take on the misogynist folklore where someone else’s fears become your armour, all the while rehabilitating one’s relationship with the body. In my lifetime, I hope to make a positive impact on the world by being part of Malay cultural reforms. I also hope to start a non-profit to empower the disadvantaged in the region and uphold artisanal crafts.” Jensen Ng
“My collection is called Colossal Beings and it’s a plus-sized menswear collection inspired by my love of space travel and science fiction films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Gattaca, and Interstellar. My hope for the industry is that everyone continues to put in effort in diversity, such as race, skin colour, body size, sexuality, gender, and age, across all in the workplace. I also aspire to have my own line of fragrances in the future and be a creative director.” Phang Kuan Yi
“My collection’s name is Gear18: Saber and it’s about Virtual Warriors. I hope for more awareness surrounding the production of fashion garments to aid in mitigating the waste issues plaguing the industry. In the future, I also hope to conduct further research into sustainable materials to help reduce waste in fashion.” Kristen Cheah Ke Ting
“My collection /wau/ employs zero-waste pattern cutting as an homage to the diminishing art of traditional kite-making in Malaysia. I also hope for the industry to be more grounded and humane in its production chains, as well as for consumers to be more aware of the work that goes on behind making the garments. For now, I intend to continue to find different ways of zero-waste pattern cutting, and fuse it with a more timeless style.” Cathrin Margreta Siatanto
“My collection is called Chimera, which is a hybrid of two or more imperfect creatures creating something powerful and innovative—much like what my line is about.” Adhya Tibrewala
“My collection Emove represents a series of emotions through distorted faces. I hope that in the near future, I am able to get opportunities to develop my own work in a sustainable manner. As a designer who is still growing, I aspire to be the best in everything that I do. I consider it my personal responsibility to live up to the label of being called a ‘fashion designer’ with grace and pride.”