“Designers are less technical today,” says Silas Liew, who exhibits an impressive attention to detail when it comes to his work attitude. And while there’s a large faction of designers who maintain complexity is unneeded and simplicity is key when it comes to design and its process, it is the unseen technicality in design that gives it its purpose, he says. “For me,” Liew continues, “cutting-edge fashion captures what is right for the moment, both technically and culturally. Perhaps it’s not surprising that Liew finds fascination in the technical aspect of things; he once studied to become a marine biologist while living in Melbourne, and what exhibits more fascinating complexity than the living world?
While working on that science degree, Liew distracted himself by dabbling in jewellery design and ceramics, and experimented in making things out of paper, silicone, wood and porcelain. From there, it was only a matter of time before he took up sewing classes and his experimental approach became the hallmark of his fashion design career. He applied his study techniques to fashion design; making investigation an essential part of his process. “Having an in-depth understanding of patterns, construction and textiles is a precious skill next to being open-minded to different points of view,” he says. “But, naturally, I am also affected by external factors that inspire, like the indie music scene, modern art and textile technology. People affect me tremendously. I draw a lot of inspiration from people who are outside the realm of fashion. From there, I conceptually mash up ideas and write them down instead of sketching.”
On the final night of the Malaysian-International Fashion Week 2010 (MiFW10), six attendees wore off-runway pieces from Liew’s collection, which showed mere days before. Before the end of the night, the designer was beckoned to the stage as winner of the ‘Who’s Next Designer Search’ competition. His sleek, structural designs, with a metallic, sci-fi edge intrigued the judges as well as the media. For us, we’re looking forward to the Brave New World that he’ll show us next.
By +Shahrezzan Mustaffa Ezani http://surfaceasiamag.com/fashion/290-the-know-it-all