Designer Afton Chen set up Reckless Ericka with business partner Louis Koh in 2009. The young Singaporean label has an edgy vibe with avant-garde silhouettes infused with classic details and a British tailoring sensibility and will be presenting its Autumn/Winter 2013 collection, “Into the Grey,” at the fashion trade show Blueprint in Singapore. ARTINFO talked to Chen about the new collection, her inspirations, and plans for a new women’s wear label, “Still.”
What is the inspiration behind “Into the Grey”?
The collection was inspired by the mise-en-scène of the 2011 film, The Grey starring Liam Neeson, and by the Japanese animation Princess Mononoke by Hayao Miyazaki. It has a mostly gray palette with some navy, dark green, and tribal weave fabrics. It draws on the idea that there can be no clear victory between humans and nature, with just the hope that the relationship between the two can be cyclical. Both films are filled with tension and a gloomy undercurrent runs throughout, even in the most hopeful of scenes. The violence portrayed in both films is not gory, but is harsh and the fact that the violence is not glorified, but shown in a casual tone makes it all the more senseless and brutal. The collection is filled with soft shapes and hard structures, combining fluidity and construction, and exaggerated outerwear cuts that are loosely based on the Muromachi period in Japan’s history.
How do you think it progresses from the previous collection?
Previously I was inspired by a series of black and white photographs entitled “Portraits from the Belly of the Whale” by Michael Garlington. I created a collection that delved into the life of a retired performer stuck in its own temporal plane. Gingham in colorful shades of blue, green, red, and orange was paired with a heavy silk-cotton weave in intense red and blue. It was a lighthearted collection, with outfits evoking part decadence, part androgyny. The current collection features few androgynous outfits, compared to the previous collection, and the silhouette is cleaner and sharper.
One word to describe this new collection?
For whom are you designing?
I’m designing for someone who has a strong sense of personal style and isn’t afraid to have fun dressing up.
And what inspires you in general?
Inspiration comes from everywhere; we shouldn’t limit ourselves. It can be from a song, a painting, a movie, a book, people around me, or things happening in the world.
Do you look at fashion as art?
It is definitely a form of art, a unique self-expression.
Best fashion memory?
When I walk on the streets and see people wearing our outfits, it never fails to make me smile!
Three words to describe your personal style?
Off-beat, constructed, introspective.
Favorite fashion designer?
Favorite Singaporean designer?
Nic Wong of SATURDAY.
We’re planning to launch a new label, “Still,” around June 2013. “Still” is a women’s wear line with youthful and understated outfits. It is not a diffusion line, just a separate label. The lines and silhouettes are clean, evoking a sense of peace and tranquility. Designs are light on the palate, focusing on the purity of fabrication quality and finishing. The collections will be retailing at SGD $109-399.
We also have an exciting collaboration with a graphic artist for our next collection Spring/Summer 2014, so stay tuned for that!
Blueprint is running May 16-17 in Singapore
As first published on sea.artinfo.com