What amenities or infrastructures would be most helpful to young designers?
Manfred: Actual and honest coverage. Take away the competitions, take away the glitz and glamour. We don’t need it at all. We just need an outlet that allows for more collaborations and gives relevant exposure to young designers. Take more interest in their craft and stop looking at their works merely as a product for sale. Fashion graduates – they’re not in this to make a brand or start a label (yet)… So when organisations demand that the clothes have to be wearable and sellable, isn’t that just a demand to make something just so it’ll fit in the catalogue? Where’s the artistic integrity in that? Don’t bury the passion and spirit of young designers just to make their designs sellable.
Putri Adif: It’s more personal for me. I never felt like the competitions were organised for people like me. They’re intimidating, especially for new designers. The selected designers are usually recommended by the schools and these individuals are usually chosen mostly because of their grades. It just doesn’t feel fair, every student excels differently and it just sucks to know that if you don’t fit in their criteria, you don’t fit in the industry.
I’d like to see more welcoming initiatives such as Why Not?. It’s good to feel like you belong and you have an opportunity to make something. I don’t think sidelining designers is the way the industry should work; it should be more collaborative.
Izwan Abdullah: I think in general with these platforms, there’s no permanence. Exposure is good and all but there’s not really much beyond it. Maybe we can look into scholarships or attachments – something that designers could benefit from and use to further enhance their craft. Like Putri mentioned, I don’t think competitions work very well in this context. Such platforms should be as accessible as possible so that everyone gets an equal opportunity.