The curtains finally fell on 2017’s Harper’s BAZAAR Asia NewGen Fashion Award and it was Phua Chun Huen who bagged last evening’s biggest prize. It must’ve been a sweet victory for Phua, who took time off fashion to help in his family’s business and chose the competition to mark his return.
“The days leading up to the regional leg was filled with excitement and anxiety. Initially it was stressful until I decided to just let nature take its course. Still, I told myself I would not want to finish this race without a good fight. Even it meant losing, at least I lost with no regrets,” Phua said after the show, “I just wanted to do things the way I felt they should be done. It was an unexpected win.”
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Phua faced stiff competition this year, with fashion talents from Indonesia and Thailand putting up a fierce fight for the coveted title of the region’s best emerging designer. “This year’s finalists have a sophistication and point-of-view that’s well-developed. Social media has become increasingly important in their marketing plans and paired with their designs I can sense a marketability and commercial know-how that’s truly geared for the new millennium,” observed Kenneth Goh, Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore.
In the end, Phua emerged triumphant because his beautiful designs came backed with a sound business plan. Goh added: “Chuen displayed wonderful technical knowledge and breadth of textile understanding that belie his young age. His time-out from fashion has certainly instilled a hunger in him, plus a sensitivity that’s really quite beautiful and lyrical.”