Narrating an imaginary tale about an impossible love, shared between a knight and a princess, RCA graduate and winner of the ITS Maison Martin Margiela Award, Fah Chak is the menswear designer channelling passion with the shapes of her signature, constructed garments.
Can you tell us about the collection you showed at ITS? The collection is about an impossible love between a knight and a princess, so that’s the whole mood for the collection. In terms of colours, my aesthetic depicts the stages of the love between two people but in terms of the shape of the designs for my menswear garments, everything stems from the armour. I think with medieval armory and garments alot of technique and finish has been lost. The shape and the lace that men wore to show their ranks has been completely lost and it would be nice to bring those touches back and make the looks wearable for men today. That was the challenge. There are lots of things that are made for women but not for men, so why can’t we push the boundaries for men a little bit more? Instead of just going back a few decades through trends and fashion, can we actually go further back?
What impact do you want your label to have on trend? I think fashion has been sexualised, a lot. It’s very understandable that trends have become more about being sexy and cool, with an attitude, but with my clothes that’s not what l wanted, l want to create a new definition of fashion or menswear. It doesn’t always have to be about being cool, it can be about being sensitive. I think when people see my collection, I want them to get that full impact, it’s like a communication, an impact of that’s what I started off with, that’s what I was inspired by, the energy and emotions that I put into the collections.
What was the starting point with this collection? I basically focused on creating my own tailoring technique, with a modern twist. When I’m making my garments, the fabrics that I usually use give volume and structure, so I use them together to make structural pieces. They’re cut slightly differently from the inside to the outside, with very minimal seams. I like to use very few darts and maximise shapes.
Did you teach yourself these techniques? Yeah, it was a lot of experimenting. I spent fourteen hours everyday at college, also on the weekends, testing out different types of fusing, different types heat, different types of pressing, different sewing techniques.
Was the whole collection a process of experimentation or did you have the aesthetic that you wanted to aim for in mind? I had an idea in mind, but because this is a story that I’m retelling, I wanted to see where it would take me and what might inspire me at the time.
Is there a man you have in mind when designing? Someone I fancy at the time maybe! It changes. Women doing menswear has a lot to do with sex, I think.
What’s inspiring you right now? I think it’s the holiday outside! The holiday weather and the boats.
Text: Milly McMahon