Tuesday 16 October 2012

Digital Fashion Week: Singapore's Tze Goh talks minimalism

OK i'll be honest here! when I first got back the answers from my Q&A from Singaporean designer Tze Goh, I was a bit surprised. 

Before sending him my questions, I had done my research and seen a couple of interviews which he'd given, all of which were honest and straight-forward. So I knew I was dealing with a non-conformist designer.

I guess I was expecting a bit more volume, but he was probably short of time and preparing for his Digital Fashion Week show on October 21. His short, yet interesting and to the point answers actually reveal a lot more than at first glance.

I'm not complaining, but I'm just hoping when I interview this Central Saint Martin’s graduate LIVE on Google+ Hangout on the day of the show, he'll be in the mood to talk a little more, or it could be a challenge ;-)

For those who are asking 'who is Tze Goh?', let me tell you this Singaporean-born, London-based designer is as striking and minimal in his designs as his words. Geometric clean cuts and beautiful 3D silhouettes, you can instantly detect the influence of architecture in his work and the subtle details which are essential to form the construction of the garment rather than add embellishment as an afterthought. In architectural terms I see it more like Le Corbusier's Villa Savoy of the future, rather than Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia.

Singapore's Tze Goh
Perfect minimalisn, Tze Goh's collection is breathtaking in its innovative cuts and clean lines

He might be too humble to admit it or perhaps he doesn't read the hype around his work - but the likes of Vogue.It, ID, Harper's Bazaar, Elle have featured him. He was also selected as one of Vauxhall Fashion Scout’s Ones to Watch and presented his A/W11 collection on the VFS catwalk. 

Tze Goh does represent a success story which any emerging designer would wish to have and if I have to be honest, I think it also has a little to do with him being based in London, a city known for being supportive of emerging talent.

I'm so looking forward to meet and interview Tze Goh in person and until then, his brief answers to my Q&A have to do!

London based Singaporean designer Tze Goh

BonjourSingapore: Describe the essence of your label in one sentence.

Tze Goh: The label TZEGOH provides women with simple, versatile pieces that they can use as they go about their lives .

What’s the inspiration behind your recent collection which will show at DFW?

I wanted to showcase a remix of my collections that I have done so far, to present them in a manner that shows off the pieces’ interchangeability.

Who do you design for?

I design for modern consumers who are looking for versatile and chic pieces to update their wardrobe as they move from Singapore to New York, country to city.

Tze Goh's SS12 collection
From Tze Goh's SS12 collection...

Tze Goh's SS12 collection

Tze Goh's SS12 collection showcasing minimalism
I'm not usually a big fan of minimalism but Tze Goh's creations take
it to another level... pure perfection!

I feel (from personal experience) that minimalism is a really hard look to pull off, and unless you have a certain look with angular features, non-curvy figure and sleek hair it just doesn’t work. Do you agree? And do you think of that when you’re designing?

I think about how the fabric would feel next to your skin and what pieces women are lacking in their wardrobe when I design a collection. I don’t think minimalism is a hard look to pull off as I dress that way everyday, and don’t seem to have a problem with it.

To what extent fashion should be about experimentation and art rather than functionality and wearability?

Fashion isn’t art at all. It’s about dressing yourself as you go working, playing, managing your lives.

Is there any celebrity/personality that you’d like to dress in particular?

I am really unfamiliar with the lives of celebrities to be able to know how to dress them, and for what occasion?

Singapore designer Tze Goh's SS12 collection

Singapore designer Tze Goh's SS12 collection

Singapore designer Tze Goh

You were born and raised in Singapore but now based in London. Was your decision to leave Singapore through necessity or choice?

I left Singapore because I was curious to see the world outside of it, and I’ve stayed out because there’s a lot more to see.

Could you have achieved the same success you have now if you’ve stayed in Singapore? What do you think needs to change in order for that to happen?

I think it’s interesting that you would think of me as a ‘success’ when I’ve really only just started. 

Would you ever consider moving back to Singapore and opening your showroom/boutique in the city?

I would actually like to have a kind of digital showroom in Singapore, as Singaporeans are more ready and keen to buy over e-commerce websites than other countries/cities.

Singapore designer Tze Goh showing at Digital Fashion Week

What’s the most fashionable city you’ve been to?

I think that with globalization these days and the spread of e-commerce and hence similar distribution of goods, most people in most cities dress more or less the same anyway.

What do you think of the Singapore ‘uniform’, i.e. uninspiring shorts and t-shirt?

I love it. I think it’s important to have a uniform, because it frees up your mind to do other things. The trick is to wear it consistently enough for it to become a style.

How important is it for a designer these days to still be hands on at his craft and have the technical education when it comes to pattern-making, cutting and sewing – especially with a rising number of ‘designers’ who are making it in the industry with no formal training? 

I think that the only real difference between a designer with formal training and one who has none is in the level of details of the garments. Some designers who have no training have become phenomenally successfull -- such as Helmut Lang, Comme des Garcons and Ralph Lauren; while other with formal training such as Martin Margiela or Calvin Klein had went on to define success for themselves as well.

Tze Goh's show at Digital Fashion Week will be screened live on www.digitalfashionweek.com on Sunday, October 21 at 5pm. I will be hosting and moderating a LIVE post show Google+ Hangout with the Singaporean designer at 5.30pm on the same day.

Singapore designer Tze Goh showing at Digital Fashion Week

Singapore designer Tze Goh showing at Digital Fashion Week

Singapore designer Tze Goh

London based Singaporean designer Tze Goh