For those who aren’t familiar with the term AFDS, it is known as ASEAN Fashion Designers Showcase and it was an original showcase conceptualized in August 2015 by our renowned local fashion designer, Hayden Ng. The creation of AFDS is to help raise awareness for all the fashion designers in the ASEAN region, enabling them the ability to present their creations to a greater consumers’ market and most importantly, the recognition they deserve.
I was one of the lucky ones who managed to attend last year first season show held at Library@Orchard with 6 designers showcase. This year 2017, 18 fashion designers and brands across the regions have come together to unveil their creations from RTW to Menswear to Couture and that’s thrice the number of designers from last year’s participation. All thanks to the Founder of AFDS, Hayden Ng, who built such great platform for the ASEAN fashion designers to showcase their creations.
18 Fashion designers is truly a WOW factor. Here’s are the glimpse of where the fashion designers are from, who they are and their brand name.
Singapore: We have of course our famous and renowned Hayden Ng (HAYDEN), followed by Doris Lee (Little Qipao), Esther Choy (ESH) and Audrey Tang & Fiona Seah (One Day We Forayed).
Cambodia: Natacha Van (Natacha Van Collection).
Indonesia: Hannie Hanato & Neera (HANNEERA).
Laos: Viengkham Nanthavongdouangsy (KHANG) and Bandid Lasavong (MEN Folder).
Malaysia: Melvin Shah (Melson) and Orson Liyu (OrsonLiyu).
Thailand: Yuki Unawan Tangkaravakoon (YUNA) and Itthikorn Charoenkarn (ITTHIKORN).
Vietnam: Nguyen Quoc Binh (qb quoc binh) and Pham Dang Anh Thu (Joli Poli).
Other Fashion brands from Singapore included, DESTI SAINT (handbags), REZILIENZ (Hand-crafted Jewelry) and PACIFIC OPTICAL Company (Optics).
This year’s show was held at M Social Singapore on 7th July at the Beast & Butterflies (Restaurant). The whole set up and lay out was highly exclusive and it was very uniquely structured. Who would have thought a restaurant could turn into a fashion show runway but with creativity I suppose anything is possible, mind you, last year’s show was held in a Library.
Beast & Butterflies @ M Social
When I received the invite from AbsolutePR who was the official PR company handling all invites as well as media support, I was told that there was a 3pm Media preview first before the official 5pm show. With high anticipation, I arrived at the hotel lobby at 2.55pm, only to see models still having a couple of practice runs (with no makeup and was not dressed up yet). First thought I had was, “Am I late for the media preview” or “Is this it”? and so I went around asking random people for a lady called Joanna who was one of the coordinator for the show about what’s going on? Finally, she found me seated at the corner watching models practicing their pose (VOGUE pose) and quickly introduced herself.
Models having the last runway practice before the show
As an ex-editor of an online fashion magazine and had attended numerous of such events, engaging a good and reliable PR company is a must and I must say AbsolutePR is one of the better event companies I have come across. They were not only attentive in ensuring guests are comfortably seated but most importantly, they accommodate to their guests needs. Highly recommend to work with them if you need a PR company for your events in future.
So.. where’s the media preview, I asked? Little did I know, media preview was not a preview show but what it really meant was, a sneak peek preview for all medias before the show on the fashion designers’ latest collections and of course, what they had to say about their collections. Although this is fairly common in Europe and US with all the big brands, where editors of publications (printed or digital) are invited to view their collections before releasing to the public, this has never been the case in Asia.
Every designers' preview was held exclusively in their suite room (loft style - with stairs and some with balcony), every collection was nicely hung up with every display meticulously done. As each designer explained their collection concepts, I could see the pride and joy glowed in their eyes and through their eyes I could tell how much this meant to them. Although some of the designer's first language wasn't English, they tried their every best to answer all my curious questions on the usual, what, why, who, when and how.
One designer who left a deep impression on me was Melvin Shah, designer from Malaysia. Unlike most of the designers who chose to display their collections inside their suite room, he chose the unthinkable, he chose the balcony area to display his collection to us. To top this, he even prepared mineral water and fresh grapes for us while he was presenting his work. Joanna, the PR lady even posed as his model. Sitting outside the balcony, enjoying the sun and breeze made me felt as though I was in Paris, attending one of the most exquisite fashion showcase ever and yes, I am one of the lucky ones to have this privilege.
The show began with a brief introduction by the emcee on how it all started, after which Hayden Ng, Founder of AFDS gave a short speech and ended with an emotional "Thank you". Once the music hit on, the show started with a bang! Models walked the runway with full confidence written all over their face, maybe it was because of the numerous practice they had but to me, it was because they were wearing a brand, a brand they were proud to say they walked it! Every piece of collection speaks for itself and mostly were ready to wear (RTW). I of course had my eyes on a couple of pieces, especially from Melvin Shah, Orson Liyu and YUNA.
The show ended with so much love and support (simply by hearing the applause). Finger food were also catered for invited guests within an exclusive section near the bar. Looking at how the guests mingled with the designers, the laughter, the endless smiles and never ending photo sessions says it all. It was a successful event, a memorable event, an event I look forward to attend in 2018 S3 with full anticipation.