Where Are They Now? We Catch Up With The BAZAAR NewGen Finalists

Since 2013, the region’s most prolific design competition has become the S.E.A. Games of fashion. We catch up with the previous contestants from #TeamSingapore to find out how their lives have changed since competing. By Adriel Chiun

bazaar newgen

Photographed by Gan

In the quest for nurturing the emerging design talents of tomorrow today, the various editions of Harper’s BAZAAR around the region have banded together to create a competition unlike any other.

With the coveted prizes of a mentorship by the biggest names in the industry, a fully sponsored Master’s Degree for the regional winner and two short courses at the esteemed Instituto Marangoni, the Harper’s BAZAAR Asia NewGen Award competition is a chance of a lifetime.

Today, we catch up with the previous #TeamSingapore contestants whose odds were forever in their favours to talk about how their lives became forever charmed after the competition.

Related article: NEWGEN 2018: We Want You To Be The Next Big Fashion Designer

silvia teh

Photo: Courtesy of Silvia Teh

SILVIA TEH, 2015 REGIONAL WINNER

Where did you learn design?
I learned design on my own for a few years. However, the experience that tremendously helped to improve my design skill was the internship I had with Thomas Wee.

How helpful is the BAZAAR NewGen competition?
The BAZAAR NewGen Competition was extremely helpful in so many ways. The first, and most important takeaway was how the competition unlocked the potential I never knew I had – I found my voice and my identity as a designer through my NewGen journey.

Subsequently, the competition gave me the kick I needed to launch my brand. It opened up a lot of doors for me; especially dealing with suppliers, boutique owners and buyers.

What did the competition teach you?
There are two key things I’ve always kept close to heart – the importance of design and having my own voice. The fashion market is very saturated these days, and in order to stand out, you have to be true to who you are as a designer. The second, and most important is, that the competition helped me to see fashion from a business perspective.

How has the competition affected your life?
Frankly speaking, the competition helped cured my stutter – an issue I’ve struggled with since my formative years as a child. I was always afraid of giving presentations because I will stutter severely when I get nervous. I had a rough start during the competition because I couldn’t present my ideas properly due to my stuttering. But since presentations are common practice throughout the competition, I’ve grown to be confident and learned to control the way I speak. Today, enjoy giving presentations and have a lot more confidence when I speak.

In hindsight, what advice would you give yourself during the competition?
To believe to myself more. This is because, the initial designs I presented did not speak of my identity as a designer because I was trying too hard to impress. At the end of the day, I realised that I should’ve listened and believed in myself more.

Related article: Generation Next: 6 Of Asia’s Hottest New Names In Fashion To Know Now

lionel low

LIONEL LOW, 2015 FINALIST

What was the highlight of your NewGen experience?
Having to suddenly grab a mic and be sent out to the stage, and be presented with the most challenging question of “What do you think you have brought to fashion?” The most memorable one though, was having to be able to work and interact with designers around the region together with the judging team.

What did the competition teach you?
There were constant challenges along the way – even during the discussions and consultation sessions. And from all of these, I learnt that to be a good designer, is to be honest with yourself and be able to build a consistent story for the consumer without ever having to lose what defines you.

In hindsight, what advice would you give yourself during the competition?
To be even more focused. To better understand the importance of cohesiveness. And the importance of balance between editorial and commercial appeal.

How helpful is the BAZAAR NewGen competition?
Incredibly. The competition gave me a deeper understanding of the fashion industry from various perspectives – be it from an editorial or business angle because of interacting with the mentors and the team. And just to be able to learn and understand more from these people at the front line of fashion is just amazing. It gave me a new sense of assurance and gave me more passion to pursue fashion.

If given a do-over, what would you have done differently during the competition?
I would pay even more attention on the making of the garments – to expand my thoughts on what actually sells and what could only be a good story telling piece. I would definitely find a better balance to satisfy the creative and business sides of my brain.

Related article: All The Front Row Guests At The BAZAAR New Gen 2017 Runway Show

fedri mak

Photo: Courtesy of Fedri Mak

FEDRI MAK, 2016 RUNNER UP

What does it mean to you to be a NewGen finalist?
Pride and confidence. I am really proud to represent Singapore in the regional level of the competition.

How helpful is the BAZAAR NewGen competition?
BAZAAR NewGen has raised my awareness on the importance of commerciality and balance in good design. The judges’ feedback was vital in terms of the finishing of my garments, the construction and fit, etc. And many other small details that we tend to forget. Also, I learned that the critiques and comments from the standpoint of a buyer and consumer need to be heavily considered before we launch our products. To me the competition is just as important as a process of self reflection.

What was the highlight of your NewGen experience?
The learning experience, knowing the people and the course manager at Marangoni.

What did the competition teach you?
Self reflection on design, the confidence it takes to create a collection. It is all about knowing what you want and also the importance of the clothes actually needing to sell – which involves other kinds of consideration, outside the designing and creating of the garment. Also the unexpected feedback from the judges taught me a lot of new things.

In hindsight, what advice would you give yourself during the competition?
Creating a unique vision that is interesting and individual. A theme is a very important element that determines the whole collection. It has to be strong and clear.

Related article: 8 Of The Hottest Asian Fashion Designers Came Together For An Epic BAZAAR Shoot

ng may ee

Photographed by Gan

NG MAY EE, 2016 FINALIST

What made you enter the competition?
I found out about the competition during my final year in LaSalle through my lecturers and decided to give it a go.

What was the highlight of your NewGen experience?
Interacting with fashion designers from around the region, exchanging tips, culture, and techniques with them. Being a part of this collective, sharing ideas with people from different cultural backgrounds is something I will look back on fondly.

How helpful is the BAZAAR NewGen competition?
Meeting experienced industry mentors who patiently guided me through the competition. They gave me advice I could not only apply during the competition, but also in my career. Also, working with Swarovski, being able to understand the numerous applications of different types crystal and bead elements was eye-opening.

What did the competition teach you?
To tell my story through the collection in a way that resonates emotionally with the audience. It’s about anchoring my narrative in every detail from the print, to the clothes, to every stitch and bead.

In hindsight, what advice would you give yourself during the competition?
To rest and reset in between judging sessions. For the 2016 cycle, the entire duration was 8-9 months and when you look at a collection for that long, you need fresh eyes to get more ideas.


 

Want to be Asia’s next fashion superstar? Take part in the BAZAAR NEWGEN 2018 competition today!

All entries (application form, sketches and curriculum vitae) are to be sent to:

Attn: NewGen 2018

Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore – SPHM Pte Ltd

1000 Toa Payoh North
News Centre
Level 8, Annexe Block
Singapore 318994

CLOSING DATE: 30 MARCH 2018

For details on competition process and full terms & conditions, please refer to the application form found here. For further enquiries about the competition, please email: bazaarprojects@sph.com.sg

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