When people think of Singapore label Ong Shunmugam they think of the traditional qipao; but rehashed and reimagined through the astute use of graphic prints and delicious colour interplay. However, for her cruise 2016, designer Priscilla Shunmugam is venturing into unchartered waters.
"Let's just say we've never done anything like this before," says Shunmugam. "I am very excited and, at the same time, very frustrated with it; which is always a good sign because it means I'm not satisfied with what I've seen so far. But if I could sum it up, I would say it looks very deeply at Japanese traditional wear. So immediately the word kimono comes to mind, but be prepared to see it in ways you've never seen it before."
In particular, the latest collection (which will debut at this year's Singapore Fashion Week) references the Japanese occupation of Southeast Asia — "We're trying to create some beauty out of a very difficult period."
Widely upheld as one of Singapore's best labels, Ong Shunmugam has been selected — together with Sabrina Goh of Elohim and Chelsea Scott-Blackhall of Dzojchen — to take part in Fashion Futures, the inaugural talent development programme by Singapore Fashion Week in collaboration with CFDA.
"Having CFDA as a partner of the Fashion Futures program is a huge, huge thing. I mean, every designer wants to be within breathing space of anyone from CFDA," says Shunmugam. "It's a dream come true."
Here, in a Buro 24/7 digital exclusive, we speak to the designer about her upcoming show, her renowned attention to detail, and the upcoming trip to New York this July for Fashion Futures.