SocietyA: From PH5 to Minjukim, these are the best Asian-designed brands to shop at the multi-label boutique
In the age of globalisation and expanded representation, Asian fashion brands are finding it easier than ever to make a name for themselves on the international stage; no longer pigeonholed as only craftsmen or consumers, we're finally earning long-overdue visibility as creators. Multi-label boutique SocietyA has taken as its mission assembling the best work from designers of Asian descent in a single location, and its Ngee Ann City boutique is consequently a treasure trove of gems from inhabitants of the Asian continent (and its diaspora). Below, you'll find our edit of the best brands to shop at Singapore's premiere destination for Asian design.
Alongside contemporaries Simone Rocha, Shushu/Tong and Ryan Lo (all, coincidentally, also of Asian descent), Antwerp-trained Korean designer Minju Kim's work expounds on the trappings of girliness. The weaponisation and commodification of femininity is a roiling debate that's only just begun penetrating the Asian mainstream consciousness, which explains her timely inclusion on Vogue's list of '5 Designers to Know From Seoul Fashion Week Fall 2019'. Oh, and her clothes are gorgeous, that goes without saying.
Indonesia's insider favourite is best-known for her polished brand of simplicity — with an offbeat eye for detail. Wavy colour blocking, contrast accents and folded edges elevate Hartanto's conventional fit-and-flare or sheath dresses from appealing to outright lustworthy.
The athleisure and fitness crazes of the 2010s have been a boon to the knitwear industry. Designers Wei Lin and Mijia Zhang — the former an heir to a knitwear manufacturing dynasty from Dongguan, and the latter a Parsons grad — are out to display your best, fittest selves in their label PH5's clingy wares. They're no one-trick ponies either, producing equally seductive voluminous pieces in recent seasons; no wonder The Business of Fashion shortlisted the duo for its inaugural China Prize.
This Korean label's understated fall/winter 2019 showing at Seoul Fashion Week was a marked about-face from its spring collection, which skewed feminine and was densely ornamented. Lesson learned, always expect the unexpected from YCH.
If floaty, romantic floral frocks are your catnip, Jonathan Liang's your man. Like most young designers these days, he's a prolific collaborator who's previously partnered with Uniqlo, Rimowa and Shiseido. That stretch across the fields of fashion, travel and beauty may signal Liang's larger ambitions for his label, which can reliably count on the crucial and generous support of its biggest champion, the blue-chip Chinese retailer Lane Crawford.
Soft, painterly prints are South Korean designer Daeun Lee's calling card; scattered on her languid, lightweight designs, they conjure days of dappled sunlight and the sound of wind rustling through the canopy— anyone up for a picnic?
You've probably realised by now that most of SocietyA's stable of brands claim a womanly appeal. Cho Eunae's Tibaeg is no exception to the rule, with pastel pleated skirts and prettified denim distinguishing her from her shopfloor peers. Stay tuned for fall/winter 2019's offerings, which feature pale denim streetwear staples studded with gumball-sized Swarovski sparkles. Like, woah.