REGIONAL diversity shone in the Asean Fashion Designers Showcase (AFDS) that was part of the Penang Fashion Week 2019 in Gurney Paragon Mall.
With a dozen leading couturiers unveiling their latest collections, crowds had a feast of the whimsical and flashy, as well as the elegant and modest.
AFDS founder Hayden Ng led the way with The Wild Recall, a range with earthy tones and flowy silhouettes that bridged the past and present.
Ng, a Singaporean, said the aim of the collective was to increase mainstream awareness and appreciation of the region’s rich fashion and design, as well as promote greater cross-cultural and creative collaborations.
“Being part of the Penang Fashion Week allows us to exchange ideas and experiences so everyone can improve together.
“It’s a platform to show that Asean designers are extremely talented and have great products to offer outside of the normal fashion brands.
“Ultimately, the aim is to go global and bring the message that Asean can,” Ng said of the AFDS, which is an independent NGO accredited by the Asean secretariat.
It was established in 2015 with six designers and six models, but its ranks have grown to 30 designers and 36 models from all Asean nations as well as partner China.
Ng’s compatriots Sylvia Lim and Jennifer Neo also enlivened the catwalk with a range themed Singapore Sedap from their Triologie label, featuring vibrant prints of durians, pineapples and bananas.
Laos’ Bandid Lasavong showed off his Men Folder SS Collection 2019 which updated 1970s suits with modern styles, while Fadzil Hadin put out the Retro Ramadan Collection 2019 from his Chantique Brunei label, inspired by old Malay movies.
The Tsafari Impressions Collection was Vietnamese designer Ho Tran Da Thao’s way of bringing silent monuments to life with its modern take on heritage and tradition.
The Golden Rule by Pat Santos of the Philippines was a show-stopping and shiny range with a maximalist yet contained European aesthetic.
Equally luminous was the Yellow Star collection of Thailand’s Pitnapat Yotinratanachai, which celebrates the country’s new king.
Indonesian Lenny Agustin unveiled edgy and playful creations with a hint of batik, with China’s Li Zhen focusing on structural aesthetics and Myanmar’s Zin Myat Myat Win featuring Missing Childhood that made use of pleating and folds.
Cambodia’s Natacha Van took audiences to The Forest with garments that carried a message of peace for all creatures that call such natural habitats home.
“The Asean fashion scene is growing. Events like this open up opportunities for young designers and creates a better future,” Van said of her participation.
Local favourite Micheal Ooi finished off the recent AFDS show with a versatile range called The Movement with elements that could be unfurled or retracted to create different looks.
Immediately after that, Ooi had another show in collaboration with actor Hero Tai.
The collection, Born To Be Hero, was predominantly black and gold.
Another highlight of the recently concluded Penang Fashion Week 2019 was a show by P.D.T Accessories for men, headed by local Liu Yong Sean and Korean Kang Bong Seok.
“Our aim is to show that accessories need not be limited only to women, and that guys can also wear them,” Liu said of the collection themed Medieval Art.
Well-known local designer Keith Kee also unveiled his Women’s Liberation collection of dresses and gowns inspired by the many clients he had come across over two decades in the industry.