Harper’s Bazaar Asia NewGen Fashion Award

Fashioned for new beginnings

Harper’s Bazaar editor-in-chief Kenneth Goh (above, right) with designers Rena Kok (left) and Silvia Teh (centre), both past winners of the annual Harper’s Bazaar Asia NewGen Fashion Award. PHOTOS: HARPER’S BAZAAR
From the capsule collections: Rena Kok’s Macro P. Morph Skirt ($229).
From the capsule collections: Silvia Teh with her Kyra outfit featuring green brocade print (top, $229; shorts, $299).

The annual Harper's Bazaar Asia NewGen Fashion Award had to take on a non-competitive format last year because of Covid-19.

Instead of pitting designers against one another, Harper's Bazaar Singapore held a special edition titled A New Slate.

It involved the magazine's editorial team members mentoring two past winners, Silvia Teh and Rena Kok, to create two capsule collections of four full looks each.

The award was started in 2013 to nurture and develop fashion talent across Asia.

The capsule collections are now available exclusively at OneOrchard.Store, an e-commerce platform by Textile and Fashion Federation Singapore (TaFF) featuring local designers. They will be launched at Design Orchard, TaFF's retail space, next month.

Under the guidance of Harper's Bazaar's editor-in-chief Kenneth Goh, creative director Windy Aulia and executive editor Charmaine Ho, Teh and Kok, who won the award in 2015 and 2019 respectively, came up with their collections in three months.

Goh, who is in his 40s, says of the special edition: "Even though we are in very difficult times, we cannot give this up. We just have to find different ways to keep this going."

He wanted to give young designers like Teh and Kok a sense of purpose, achievement and hope.

"That is why we call it A New Slate, to give the designers a new beginning to reach out to a new customer base," he says.

While he did not assign a theme for the collections, he wanted the outfits to have longevity and versatility and be consumer-friendly.

For her creations, Teh, 27, was inspired by the handcrafted bows she made when she was younger. She also used prints and colours - a stark contrast to the monotone works she is known for.

The founder of her three-year-old eponymous label wanted to bring out elements of lightness and joyfulness.

Her capsule, which comprises tops, shorts and pants, marks her first time making pants. Her personal favourite is a top and a pair of shorts featuring green brocade prints.

Teh, who has a master's in fashion and luxury brand management from Istituto Marangoni in Milan, says: "This journey has pushed me out of my comfort zone, to use more colours and experiment more with shapes and lengths."

Meanwhile, Kok, 25, was influenced by running, boxing and bungee jumping - activities she did during and after the circuit breaker - and wanted to weave comfort and fluidity into her clothes.

Many of her designs, as well as the use of latex fabric, were inspired by her bungee jumping experience. The Lasalle College of the Arts graduate also has her own collection called Renakok.

In a bleak year for fashion, her capsule collection, which consists of skirts, a dress, skorts and tops, gave her something to look forward to. This is also her first time creating a ready-to-wear collection.

"While I usually only do bespoke pieces, I can now see myself providing more ready-to-wear pieces for the Singapore crowd," she says.

• The capsule collections are available online at OneOrchard.Store and in-store next month at Design Orchard. Prices start at $199.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 22, 2021, with the headline Fashioned for new beginnings. Subscribe