also available at:
Fashion

Singapore Fashion Designer Max Tan Is Our Very Own Rick Owens

To mark National Day, Female turns the spotlight on one local brand every day in the month of August. Minimalism is the reference point for many local designers, but Max Tan takes it a step further by maximising minimalism.

max3

What

The five-year-old label is known for its sophisticated yet rebellious spirit, which is translated into designs that are clean but big on volume.

max5

Who’s behind it

Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts alumnus Max Tan (above), who graduated with a diploma in Fashion Design and started his eponymous label right after. He is now helping to groom the next generation of designers by teaching at the institution on a part-time basis.

max4

Why know it

As experimental as the brand may look, its androgynous styles and oversized silhouettes don’t veer to far into avant garde territory. In fact, it offers plenty of basics that come with twists in their construction for an elevated effect.

Although he had to close his stand-alone store at Capitol Piazza in March because he was “unable to reach a negotiation with the landlords”, Tan says that his work to expand the brand continues.

Out of Singapore, the label has chalked up quite a following, especially in Europe. It is stocked in speciality boutiques in cities such as Copenhagen, Germany, Norway and San Francisco. “To be stocked alongside the bigger boys – Rick Owens, Helmut Lang, Damir Doma, and J.W. Anderson – has definitely help boost our confidence in where we are driving our aesthetics and branding,” says Tan.

Last year, the brand was selected by Vogue Italia to take part in a competition for emerging designers in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. And just last week, Tan was in New York City as part of the Fashion Futures 2.0 programme created by Singapore Fashion Week in partnership with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). The programme was founded with the aim of helping local labels grow into global brands. Showroom visits made up most of the trip, a sign that interest in the label is certainly growing.

max2

What to expect in F/W ’16

Titled Cloistered (above), Tan takes inspiration from military and religious uniforms for the season.

“Humans believe in the efficacy of two opposite extremes – military and religion, to attain peace. We live in the world where different ideologies strive for the same ideals. When different beliefs are in search of a common ground, possibilities are endless,” says Tan in his collection notes.

The collection sees sheer fabrics, such as chiffon and organza, projected in a new light – one that is less feminine and more complex. Military jackets have been deconstructed and turned into a poncho and a gilet. Tan’s signature – draping – is also present throughout by giving his designs depth and movement and lending itself to the underlying theme of conflict and complexity.

Where to buy

Threadbare & Squirrel (501 Orchard Road, #02-02), Egg3 (33 Erskine Road and 164 East Coast Road) and Re-Style @ Isetan Scotts (350 Orchard Road).

 

Like this? Find out how local label Aijek’s feminine lace pieces are going global, and get to know fellow Singapore brand Stolen, which has the sexiest bareback dresses.