Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Dzojchen: Making Denim and Leather cool in steamy Singapore

If you ask any stylist worth their salt for the must have items in anyone’s closet, the list would most likely include a great pair of denims and a leather jacket.

The reason is that these two specific items have transcended seasonal trends, styles - and even gender - and proved to be just as classic and vital to any modern and stylish person as a great LBD for women and a perfect blazer for men.

But as an all-year round summer destination, Singapore may not exactly be the perfect place to don these usually heavy items so it was a surprise to stumble over a Singaporean label which focuses exclusively on denim and leatherwear.

Dzojchen first caught my eye during Audi Fashion Festival, where I fell in love with their super chic and effortless style which would look right at home in uber fashionable cities like NY and London.

And just before heading off to Paris to debut the label at Paris Fashion Week as part of the Singapore-based FutureFashionNow online retail show, I managed to catch up with the Chelsea Scott, the designer behind the label to get to know more about it.

Chelsea is a big believer that denim and leather can be worn in Singapore as stylishly as anywhere else. So read below to find out how you can ditch the hot-pants and don the denim without fear again.

Chelsea Scott, the designer behind Dzojchen

Q1: Tell us more about yourself and why you decided to start Dzojchen.

I am Singaporean/ British, and grew up for the most part in Singapore. I was blessed with the opportunity to travel both in my youth, and adult life, and amidst those travels, I grew to appreciate a multitude of cultures and mind opening experiences. Fashion has always been something I had an interest in for the simplicity of creating identity and differentiation through it, but when you pair that interest with practical necessity and culture, and see that every region, country, city, religion and social circle uses fashion as a means of identity, one can't help but to crave to be a part of what makes this ever changing, yet always consistent industry.

I was involved in different aspects of the fashion industry for several years prior to starting Dzojchen, which introduced me to several people who inspired me to make the jump, and say 'why not?', 'why not see where my passion and interest can take me'... hurdle after hurdle of teaching myself the means, ways, and trials, the brand Dzojchen was born.

Q2: You're based in NY so why did you choose to have the label produced in Singapore when a lot of Singapore-based labels are outsourcing production abroad?

Singapore is home, so it was my natural inclination to always include it as a part of this process, not to mention my family are here, and they are everything to me :) Whilst travel took me to places like NYC for means of greater exposure and inspiration, Singapore is a fantastic hub as a middle ground, bridging the world of marketing/ media and production together. Its close to the best manufacturing circuits of China, India and Pakistan, yet not secluded to the point where you lose touch with being current.

Q3: Dzojchen is (or has initially started as) a denim label. What's different and unique about Dzojchen denim?

Dzojchen did begin as a premium denim label, and we went to great lengths to make our signature pieces, not only in the way we paper patterned the pieces, but also in details and designs of every piece. I want to create pieces that one would look at amidst a crowd and say 'those are Dzojchen'. No aspect was overlooked, from the color of the thread, to the fabric sourced, and most importantly never fearing breaking from the standard 'fits' one would normally see in the world of denim.

Q4: Who are your target audience? How would you describe your ideal Dzojchen customer?

Dzojchen has been placed in the contemporary luxury market, so individuals that embody the clothes are those that embrace the brand. People who appreciate quality, but also care for style without feeling the need to be over the top. Bold but controlled, strong yet sensitive. Paradoxical.

Q5: Denim and leather may not be the most ideal material for Singapore heat. Do you take this into consideration while designing or you just target the general international market?

Every season comes to me with new inspirations, and for our AW12 season, leather came into the spotlight as a new material I wanted to explore. We created pieces for the global Autumn Winter season, but to void weather discrimination, we also made pieces like our shorts, tank tops, t-shirts in our fine himalayan lambskin, which actually is as fine as a thick cotton T. Deceiving to the eye, but holding comfort in the tropics no less.

Q7: Any tips on how to wear denim or leather in hot weather?

The key is to not fear fashion. And with Dzojchen, comfort is always in the forefront of our designing mind. Pairing and matching correctly is important. If you wear a pair of jeans on a hot day, match it with a light sheer top. And in the same regard, if your throwing on a leather tank, match it with a pair of shorts, or a skirt. If you mingle items and materials correctly, the stigma of what to wear and what not to is abolished.

Q8: If one was to have only one pair of denim. what cut, colour and style it should be?

Jeans are a wardrobes best friend. It allows for such easy transition from a casual day out to a swanky evening about town. Whilst 'cut' is very much dependent on what is most flattering to the individual themselves, the style I find myself most consistently in are our Dzojchen diagonal zipper fly jeans - mid blue. They are just the right amount of 'this and that' which allows me to wear it through my day, and throw on a blazer to attend an event by night no questions asked.

Q9: What's the plan for the near and far future?

Dzojchen is set to showcase our SS13 collection at Paris Fashion Week at the end of September, and amidst that collection, you will see entirely new pieces out of the brand, holding a full and complete prêt-à-porter line. Alongside the collections growth, we will also be stocked and exposed to more markets internationally, as well as opening our Flagship store. Accessories and shoes are also on the horizon.

Q10: Where can we find Dzochen?

Dzojchen is sold in several shops globally, but in Singapore, we can be found exclusively at CODA CO. at Scotts Square, as well as for our pre collection release sales online at Future Fashion Now, allowing buyers to choose looks straight off of the runway.