As one of the leading design schools of art in Singapore, LASALLE College of the Arts recently presented the 2023 graduate fashion show. The event showcased the work of students from the BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Textiles program. With the theme of “Transition,” the graduates were challenged to interpret via fashion how the world continues to change. Under this thematic umbrella, students explored three main topics: heritage and culture, sustainability and the fashion industry, and technology and the future of fashion. Read on to learn more about noteworthy graduates and their innovative collections.
Indira Varma, “Ratnagarbha: The Repository”
Inspired by the lifestyle of Indian royalty, their palaces, and the art found in Jaipur, India, Indira Varma’s “Ratnagarbha: The Repository” is an ode to the arduous work that goes into the creation of fashion. “This project is a universal nod to the countless jewels that go into making fashion products — the art, culture, techniques, materials, wisdom, people, local traditions, history, the tangible, and the intangible,” says Varma.
The collection itself consists of earthy-toned minimalist pieces with sharp clean-cut silhouettes that create a boxy figure. The crisp and polished looks are then juxtaposed with intricate details, crafted with a hand-block printing technique. This contrast ties into the project’s aim of creating a sustainable production system that brings a positive influence on both society and the environment. It also serves to counter the prominent exploitation of artisans and give power back to craft communities.
Michelle Tan, “THE COLOUR BRAWL”
Consisting of knitwear pieces, Michelle Tan’s “THE COLOUR BRAWL” finds musing in elements of curated environments, urban spaces, and the dynamics between people and objects within those spaces. The knits were manually crafted with a knitting machine, procuring that each pattern piece was carefully calculated to avoid textile waste. Most of the pieces are made of 100% Shetland and British wool, which adds a more structured look on the body. More importantly, these textiles are eco-friendly as their microbial qualities require fewer washes and overall lower maintenance.
“THE COLOUR BRAWL” was designed to evoke a bold sense of depth and dynamism. The collection was further enhanced with delicate net textures and pearl embellishments, as well as a mix of warm oranges and cool subdued blues — diffused in gradient prints. This priority and care for craftsmanship and textile usage align with Tan’s mission of humanizing the creation process of garments. The designer weighs in, “We have been led to believe that building a space involves depth and longevity while fashion privileges surface and newness. The importance of novelty in fashion inadvertently contributes to the fast fashion phenomenon and throwaway culture.”
THE COLOUR BRAWL
Photos courtesy of Farah Sudiro for LASALLE College of the Arts
Farah Sudiro, “INTROVERTPARTY”
As the name suggests, “INTROVERTPARTY” by Farah Sudiro explores the concept of introversion and how this personality trait could hinder people’s verbal interaction and lessen human connections. In Sudiro’s words, íntroversion is “a preference for the inner life of the mind over the outer world of people.” With this premise, the designer explores the concept of introversion through caricatures of body language and behaviors associated with introverted people.
The result is a six-look collection that features a plethora of experimental silhouettes with interchangeable pieces. The lineup not only offers plenty of styling options but also represents the adversity between people’s internal spectrum of introversion and extroversion — traits that are often battling one another.
Photos courtesy of Farah Sudiro for LASALLE College of the Arts
Khairina Sari Ramlan, “Underneath the Veil”
Titled “Underneath the Veil,” Khairina Sari Ramlan’s graduate collection reinterprets modest wear. “The meaning of modest culture in Islam has been distorted and misinterpreted by many,” Ramlan explains, “this project aims to challenge the perception of modest clothing by exploring and redefining what lies beyond the way Muslim women dress, specifically focusing on the Hijab.” This exploration resulted in an array of dramatic and romantic looks that take modest wear to a regal level.
Amongst the six looks presented, the collection shows three different types of Islamic veils: the Burqa, the Niqab, and the Hijab. Although the silhouettes are reconfigured to a grand new take, the veils still maintain their original values and design principles. By incorporating ball gown silhouettes, corsetry, and exaggerated volumes, this collection challenges the norm and pushes the boundaries of traditional modest wear.
Underneath the Veil
Photos courtesy of Khairina Sari Ramlan for LASALLE College of the Arts
Lim Su Hui, “Homeland”
Lim Su Hui’s graduate collection is a graceful, poised, and poetic spin on effortless elegance. For “Homeland,” Lim paid homage to Singapore’s 14th-century Golden Age. The designer also delves into the obsolescence of mass-produced garments and how it has caused a depletion in the relationship between the wearer and their clothes. Lim tries to counter this issue through an evocative collection that implements zero-waste pattern-making practices.
“Homeland seeks to enkindle love and meaning into dress that supports the symbiotic relationship between people, clothing, and environmental heritage,” the designer explains. “It reconfigures meaningful notions of material culture and transient feelings experienced commonly in our homeland into materiality, textures, and silhouettes of historical architectures and plants that are native to Singapore and Asia.”
Photos courtesy of Lim Su Hui for LASALLE College of the Arts
Like the main theme of these collections — “Transition” — suggests, fashion is an industry in constant evolution. Despite the changes taking place, this new generation of designers is still able to tackle transitions in unique and novel ways. As each of these designers boasts a distinctive style and strong individuality, the world can look forward to seeing them flourish into leading names in the industry. In the words of Circe Henestrosa, the head of LASALLE’s School of Fashion, these “students have explored bold and important themes in their collections, from how cultural heritage can be celebrated in contemporary times, to how fashion can be more inclusive and sustainable.” They also introduced the use of new methods and technologies in their collections, proving that fashion will always have the potential to keep innovating.
Want to read more about emerging names in fashion? Check out how young fashion professionals are innovating in their respective fields here.