What do Malaysian designers think about the call for fashion to go seasonless?


  • Style Premium
  • Wednesday, 08 Jul 2020

Fashion wants to do away with its seasons. But what does it mean for Malaysia? Pictured here (from left) are Rico Rinaldi, Vincent Siow, Kenny Loh and Khoon Hooi.

Fashion wants to do away with its seasons. Coming from big-name designers around the world, Saint Laurent's Anthony Vaccarello, Gucci's Alessandro Michele, Giorgio Armani and more – the revolt questions the frenetic pace to which collections adhere to.

But what does it mean for Malaysia? Will designers and consumers here be affected in any way if the labelling (for example, Spring/Summer, Autumn/Winter, Pre-Fall, Cruise) are removed?

Read more: Will runways go dark as designers pull out of seasonal fashion weeks?

The naming convention has been a matter of tradition dictated by the global fashion scene. Local designers are, however, forced to come up with seasonal collections if they want to show internationally.

“If you want to enter into the global market, you have to come up with a Spring/Summer or Autumn/Winter collection. But I believe that we need to localise our own fashion calendar, ” says Vincent Siow of Vestio Bespoke (previously Comoddity).

“On the consumer end, I personally think Malaysia won’t be affected if fashion goes seasonless. Nevertheless, it should affect the way we think about fashion and the need for the traditional seasons.”

Siow has presented his designs internationally in the past. For several years he was seen at big tradeshows which ran alongside events like the annual Paris Men’s Fashion Week.

Read more: The rundown on fashion weeks and how they're coping with going digital

Malaysian designers have long adhered to the global fashion calendar when it comes to their collections. Photo: Khoon HooiMalaysian designers have long adhered to the global fashion calendar when it comes to their collections. Photo: Khoon Hooi

'A creative exercise'

Couturier Khoon Hooi, who has travelled to Paris Fashion Week to show his collections, says he is hesitant to dismantle the traditional way of developing and showing according to seasons.

“The approach is better suited to bigger brands who are churning out pre- and main collections. When they speak of scaling down, they are considering the idea of scrapping out pre-collections and scaling back to twice per year collections.”

Khoon Hooi (whose designs have been spotted on the red carpet in Hollywood) adds that a label should be free to plan their merchandise output to cater to their target market. According to him, what we see here is more of a creative exercise and less of a collection designed for a certain season.

The Hari Raya season is always a busy one for designers in Malaysia, where a lot of resources goes into coming up with collections and their accompanying campaigns. Photo: Rico RinaldiThe Hari Raya season is always a busy one for designers in Malaysia, where a lot of resources goes into coming up with collections and their accompanying campaigns. Photo: Rico Rinaldi

The Malaysian fashion calendar

Others have pointed out that Malaysia does indeed have seasons. When it comes to consumer trends, the peak buying period has always been for Hari Raya or Lunar New Year.

“Brands and fashion designers here have to focus on those seasons. At the end of the day, fashion is about business and you need to think of your consumer. On the local front, it is the customers here that matter, ” says Rico Rinaldi, who has dressed various famous local celebrities.

He, however, questions what will happen to fashion weeks. In the past, these major events, taking place in style capitals like London, Paris, Milan and New York have always followed a seasonal calendar.

Read more: 4 ways fashion redesigned itself while under a pandemic lockdown

“For Malaysia, I believe we should have at least one new collection every year to ensure that we are not stagnant in our designs but always finding ways to innovate and create awareness of fashion, ” says Kenny Loh.

As the creative director of heritage tailoring brand Lord’s Tailor, Loh does not adhere to the quick turnaround of traditional seasons. Even his ready-to-wear line tend to lean towards classic styles.

“I think it’s not about having seasonless fashion but finding a way to define fashion in the tropical countries outside of the limitations of Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter since the latter part is totally irrelevant to us.”

FOMO no more

It remains to be seen how much fashion will change if it does indeed move away from the traditional seasons. At the end of the day, clothes will still make their way to the retail racks and boutiques.

What it probably will do is relieve the pressure on designers having to repeatedly push out a massive collection every three months or so.

And shoppers? They can maybe finally rid themselves of the FOMO (fear of missing out), and perhaps not update their wardrobes each fashion cycle.

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