Outsider Fashion Art Festival Returns With More Asian Designers

PLAYHOOD and TAKARA WONG are just some of the menswear brands to look forward to this 4 – 7 April.

BY Asri Jasman | Apr 4, 2018 | Fashion

The second iteration of Outsider Fashion Art Festival is happening just less than six months since the first edition back in October 2017. As the name suggests, the four-day event is aimed at bridging the world of art and fashion, with a heavy focus on Asian talents. Outsider is not concerned with bringing together big-named brands in the region though. Which means, the curation of designers are as indie as they come but with fresh ideas not typically seen in the mainstream market. Expect to be impressed by the calibre of up-and-coming fashion designers in the region, as well as established brands you might not be familiar with; yet.

We speak to some of the Asian designers that will be making their debuts here in Singapore.


Boys of Bangkok – Leisure Projects (Thailand)

Who is the Leisure Projects man?
He is fashionable but not loud. He is a laidback, reflective thinker, who is aware of everything around him but watches from afar. If he were at a party, he would shy away from the spotlight but discreetly charms those he meets.

What inspires you?
I get inspiration from a wide range of things including travel, art, music as well as social and political issues. So each collection is different as I delve into different ideas. Ultimately, I try to keep the silhouette simple and modern to define the identity of Leisure Projects.

The finale of Leisure Projects’ show at Bangkok International Fashion Week 2018 saw the models in a rainbow of raincoats. What was the idea behind that?
My SS18 collection "Leisure Pride" was inspired by the LGBT pride events that takes place globally. The movement aims to promote the celebration of love, equality, diversity and self-affirmation. I wanted to take on these positive energies to create a vibrant collection that can be enjoyed by everyone, without the boundaries of social constructs. I also wanted to convey the message to everyone, not just the LGBT community, that we only have one life and we should enjoy it and be who we want to be.

Boys of Bangkok – Q DESIGN AND PLAY (Thailand)

At first glance, there seem to be similarities between Demna Gvasalia’s Balenciaga/Vetements and Q DESIGN AND PLAY, especially with the use of familiar logos and fonts. Is the brand inspired by Demna’s play on commercialism?
Actually, the thing is, it's quite disappointing that local brands are always seen as followers of global brands. Q DESIGN AND PLAY has been established for eight years and this has been our DNA from the start. It might be coincidental but we definitely have done some of the things that Demna does now, way before he did.

What’s the idea behind the ‘TOURIST’ tags and the touristy Bangkok details?
It's about Thai attractions that Thais tend to always overlook but foreigners are fascinated by. So I thought of showcasing these tropes to add more value to them as well as to let people know that there is an aesthetic value to them.

What is Thai fashion to you? 
It’s the distinctiveness of being Thai. The blending together of ideas, culture and society—that’s what makes Thai brands attractive and different.

PLAYHOOD (Singapore)

Who is the person behind the brand? 
PLAYHOOD is just myself, Sarah Lai. Using the experience I received from studying overseas in London and working in both the British and local fashion scenes, I decided to start a business—in the middle of 2017—that provides customized hand painted designs on denim.

There’s no distinguishing between menswear and womenswear for PLAYHOOD. Was this done intentionally?
Yes, it is. I found it interesting to show how our clothes can be used to play with the ideas of masculinity and femininity. Our playful pairing of feminine floral motives with the masculine connotations of workwear-inspired denim, creates this unique and fluid garment that has references from both genders. I want both men and women to be able to enjoy and wear PLAYHOOD.

Is there a reason why the prints are mostly that of flowers?
Flowers are amazing in that they come in so many varieties, each with unique symbolisms. There’s a kind of language to flowers, which I use to convey the themes for each collection. For our NEVER GULITY hand painted series, the idea was to capture the innocence of a first relationship. Hence, I chose to use white lilies, which symbolises innocence and purity; much like a first love.

Any exciting projects in the works that you can share?
We are looking to develop our most popular designs into prints for denim jackets and shirts to be sold at pop-ups and flea markets. We are also currently working on a new project inspired from our hand painted custom series, and will be releasing a full ready-to-wear printed denim collection by the end of this year!

TAKARA WONG (Thailand)

What sets TAKARA WONG apart from the other Thai-based brands?
Identity is what we care most about—we just want to be ourselves. While fashion changes every day, our sense of identity remains. TAKARA WONG is all about having that punk attitude. We’re not afraid of the world. That is our identity.

You believe in a concept of "trial and error". Can you explain a bit more about this philosophy?
I didn’t graduate with a degree in Fashion Design. I started with zero knowledge and it’s been a journey based on “trial and error” from the beginning. So when we started making and designing, it’s not perfection but it’s pleasurable.

You also started by designing clothes for musicians. Did this help in formulating the kind of clothes you want your brand to be known for?
I worked in music industries before so I listen to a wide range of genres of music. I also spent most of my adolescence around musicians. Music is one of my biggest inspirations and every collection must have some sort of a musical connection. Music and fashion are most definitely an unbreakable pair.


Outsider Fashion Art Festival will be held at The Projector from 4 – 7 April 2018.