The Asian fashion labels and designers we love at Society-A: Disaya, PH5, Kimhekim, etc
These days, shopping ought to be an exercise of conscious, considered consumerism. There's no getting away from it, so why not have a think about where you're putting your dollars? From a fashion perspective, the support of Asian designers is a good place to start. Luckily, there are now specialist multi-label stores that do the brunt of the legwork, sourcing and bridging designers from around the world to you. In the case of Society-A, it's a thoughtfully curated lineup of some of the best Asian designers in the world that makes discovering and shopping them a walk in the park.
Founded by Disaya Sorakraikittikul, this Thai label trades specifically in sensual design coupled with touches of luxurious details. For the spring/summer 2020 season, the designer took inspiration from Eastern and Western pottery, combining the baroque shapes of Meissen silvers and the blue-and-whites of 18th century Chinese ceramics. The label has developed custom fabrics and finishes, such as 3D organza embroideries, and delicate floral print motifs, all on flattering and easy to wear silhouettes.
The Malaysian designer Jonathan Liang's eponymous label is based in Paris, which should signal the international level of ambition that the brand has. This season, Liang tipped his hat to the New York installation artist Jim Hodges, who is broadly associated with delicate mixed media works that use flowers, mirrors and cut-up jeans. Liang reinterpreted Hodges' floral installations as wildflower motifs on layered translucent fabrics. The brand's signature contrast of pretty and utilitarian also makes a strong comeback this season. Broderie Anglaise details are paired with fused nylon fabrics in thoughtful and innovative cuts.
Kimhekim, a South Korean label that shows in Paris, takes its name from one of the country's ancient royal clans. You might have seen a photo of its spring collection, in which one of the models sparked a viral moment when she walked the runway with an IV drip in hand. That hilarious moment was part of the collection's imaginative narrative of attention-seeking women who spend their summer days in sanatoriums in pursuit of self care. Wit aside, you can expect to find exciting silhouettes that are equal parts elegant and wacky – a tricky balance picked up perhaps from the four years the designer spent working under Nicolas Ghesquiere at Balenciaga.
Knitwear is the name of the game at PH5, a New York-based label by Mijia Zhang and Wei Lin. The brand's name is a nifty play on the acidity scale, placing themselves between 1, extreme femininity, and 7, unisex androgyny. The label is grounded by knitwear techniques and advancing those through technology, while operating in a whimsical aesthetic space. Their spring collection is inspired by postwar Japanese youths who took preppy, American Ivy League style and turned it on its head, creating a new cross-cultural look.
Indonesian label SOE Jakarta describes its central fixation with handwoven textiles as a "love affair", and it's clear to see in the way the brand uses and manipulates fabrics. These are largely Javanese, though the label's creative director Monique Soeriaatmadja has a well-informed and travelled eye. The spring collection takes inspiration from the French surrealist photographer and painter Dora Maar, who recently had a large retrospective at the Tate Modern in London. Those photographic references took shape in the collection as layered transparent fabrics and squares of organza meant to evoke the film montages of Maar's work.