From left: Harvee Kok, Kelly Vallerie and Silvia Teh

Launched in 2013, Harper’s BAZAAR Asia NewGen Fashion Award was created to discover, nurture and showcase young talent and emerging designers across the region. For this year’s edition, besides a chance to win a $10,00 cash prize, the winner will also get sponsored for a one-year master’s degree course on the London campus of Istituto Marangoni, be presented with the opportunity to develop their final year project into a fashion brand, and have their collection showcased in a Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore fashion spread—all while being mentored by Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore and CHANEL Singapore.

As we gear up for the #NewGen2021 winner announcement, we caught up with Kelly Vallerie, Silvia Teh and Harvee Kok to find out what they have been up to after being crowned winner of Harper’s BAZAAR Asia NewGen Fashion Award in 2019, 2015 and 2013 respectively; how NewGen prepared them for a career as a fashion designer, and what was most memorable about their participation in the regional competition. The designers also share about their eponymous labels and offer their advice for this year’s hopefuls.

Related article: Emerging Fashion Designers Showcase Their Talents At Harper’s BAZAAR Asia NewGen Fashion Award 2021

Kelly Vallerie, Winner of NewGen 2019

Kelly Vallerie NewGen 2019 Winner
Photo: Courtesy

What have you been up to since winning the NewGen competition?

I have been working on my brand since winning the competition in 2019. My team consists of two seamstresses and fashion interns, and last year, we created two collections: KAWASAN Capsule 2020 and LUDUS Fall 2020 collection. We also developed other projects during the pandemic—first, a safety collection comprising masks, pouches, and protection hats; and a “Primary” Collection, a basic version of the main collection. We have also been busy with our made-to-measure services, allowing clients to order based on their requests and references.

I moved to London in end 2020 to continue my education—I’m currently on a scholarship thanks to Harper’s BAZAAR and NewGen, and studying Luxury Brand Management (MA) at Istituto Marangoni London. It’s my last term, and I’m working on my dissertation that focuses on finding solutions for emerging luxury brands to survive and grow in the post-pandemic period. I’m also managing my brand concurrently; my collection is now available on Not Just A Label‘s e-commerce website.

How did NewGen prepare you for your career as a fashion designer? What did you learn?

The Harper’s BAZAAR Asia NewGen Fashion Award is a platform for emerging talents to be recognised by the industry. I was grateful to receive feedback from the judges as those suggestions helped me to improve. I learned to balance creativity and market demand, incorporating useful advice. I saw the importance of teamwork and collaboration, as well as the value in having impactful connections with industry professionals.

What was most memorable about your participation in NewGen?

It was the moment when I met all the finalists and judges in Singapore. That was a golden opportunity for finalists to seek advice from international judges and garner media exposure. I was extremely excited yet nervous to present my collection in front of the judges, and grateful to meet other participants from different countries. All my days of preparation were worth it—my hard work paid off.

Tell us about your label and your design ethos.

KELLY VALLERIE (KELLY means “Warrior”, VALLERIE means “Strong and Brave”) is a conceptual brand affected by warrior attitude, presenting the unification of avant-garde and ready-to-wear. Known for its multifunctional garments, innovative cuttings, and artisanal details, each piece is made of high-quality and comfortable materials with an artisanal touch. Flexible and full of surprises, one garment can be worn in various styles (such as clothes and accessories).

Our products are divided into three different categories: KVAG – KELLY VALLERIE AVANTGARDE (Masterpiece Items), KVRW – KELLY VALLERIE READY TO WEAR (High-End Detailed Items), and KVPR – KELLY VALLERIE PRIMARY (Basic Items). As a brand, our core values are divided into six aspects which are creativity, quality, authenticity, ethic, teamwork, and client. We believe in a concept of “multi” which is not only applicable in creating collection but also in developing our strategy. To survive and grow in this fast-changing industry, we believe in the importance of having multiplicity, flexibility, and competency in adapting to the current innovations and trends such as sustainability. We employ sustainable practices by using wasted fabrics for our collections and create multifunctional pieces to minimise customer’s clothing purchases.

What do you hope to achieve with your label?

As we enter a new era, I’m most concerned about digitalisation and customer relationship. I’m focusing on the value and supply chain, both physically and digitally, to grow as an emerging brand. I hope to increase my brand awareness by connecting with various types of customers, developing a wider market and staying true to our brand DNA. Last but not least, I hope to successfully expand my brand in London after I graduate.

What advice would you give the participants of NewGen 2021?

Start working on everything earlier, create a detailed schedule of your plans, and discuss your works with someone you consider as your mentor. Find your strong design characteristic and creativity; engage in lots of research and trial and error. Don’t forget about your business plan—there needs to be quality content and visuals. Before becoming the 1st Regional Winner of Harper’s Bazaar Asia NewGen in 2019, I failed many times—I never made it to the semi-finals. Here is my advice: when you work, put all your heart and mind into it. Focus on the process, not the result. If you aim only to win, you’d be up for disappointment. However, if your aim is to do your best, whatever the result, you’ll always be grateful.

Related article: Winner Of Harper’s BAZAAR Asia NewGen Fashion Award 2019 Kelly Vallerie Reveals Her Future Plans

Silvia Teh, Winner of NewGen 2015

Silvia Teh
Photo: Courtesy

What have you been up to since winning the NewGen competition?

After winning NewGen in 2015, I founded my namesake label and pursued a Master’s degree in Fashion & Luxury Brand Management at Istituto Marangoni. With the recent developments due to COVID-19, I’ve been taking a step back to re-assess how my brand can adapt to the situation. In the meantime, I’m actually working on an exciting tech startup for social media management. Keep an eye out for Confetto—that’s the new business I’m working on.

How did NewGen prepare you for your career as a fashion designer? What did you learn?

Tons! I learned a lot about design and product development and most importantly, how to create designs that are creative yet commercially viable. There were many times I tried too hard and the designs became “too much”. I learnt to fine tune my designs and keep the end consumer in mind. 

What was most memorable about your participation in NewGen?

I think it would have to be the regional judging session, where I was competing against Benjamin and Lionel. I look back on that fondly because though we were competitors, we were supportive of each other.

Silvia Teh Kenneth Goh Lionel Low Benjamin Neo NewGen2015
Silvia Teh, EIC Kenneth Goh, Lionel Low and Benjamin Neo.

Tell us about your label and your design ethos.

Silvia Teh is a womenswear label with a focus on structural minimalism. The brand seeks to be part of a woman’s journey to self empowerment by creating armour-like suits, while resonating with her everyday-luxe aesthetic. I work mostly with a monochrome palette of black and white as I want my designs to be timeless, versatile and easily matched with any piece of garment you have in your wardrobe.

What do you hope to achieve with your label?

Empowering women through clothing. Not everyone is born with confidence. And while that takes time to grow, women can wear garments that make them feel powerful.

What advice would you give the participants of NewGen 2021?

What has worked best for me is when I design for myself. Don’t be too concerned about what others will think or what others will like. 

Related article: Your First Look At BAZAAR Academy Alumni Rena Kok And Silvia Teh’s Capsule Collections

Harvee Kok, Winner of NewGen 2013

Harvee Kok NewGen 2014 Winner
Photo: Courtesy

What have you been up to since winning the NewGen competition?

Since winning NewGen in 2013, I had the opportunity to complete my MA in Fashion Design at Raffles Design Institute Singapore. I have since been working as an international creative practitioner while developing my collections.

How did NewGen prepare you for your career as a fashion designer? What did you learn?

It was a humbling and eye-opening experience to be part of the NewGen journey. The competition is a great opportunity and platform for budding designers to showcase their creations and reach a wider global audience. The competition connected me to many young, talented designers around the region—we are still friends till this day. It taught me the importance of presenting myself and my work as a designer, being confident in my creativity and design process.

What was most memorable about your participation in NewGen?

Being a part of NewGen was a surreal experience and something I will never forget. I made new friends, was introduced to industry insiders, and met with the amazing team at BAZAAR. The night of the showcase in Thailand (2013) and another presentation in Singapore (2014) were both important milestones in my journey as a fashion designer.

Tell us about your label and your design ethos.

My namesake label Harvee Kok is a narration based on personal experiences and memories collected throughout the years. Focusing on experimental silhouettes, new garment constructions and design detailing, I tell my story and point of view through these wearable yet experimental pieces.

What do you hope to achieve with your label?

I am a strong advocate of slow and sustainable fashion. The idea of a well-worn garment loved by its wearer throughout the world, telling a story, is a constant motivation for my creativity. I hope to meet like-minded designers, collectively change our approach to fashion and propel the label to reach a wider following.

What advice would you give the participants of NewGen 2021?

Listen to your own voice, and always stay focused.

Related article: BAZAAR Looks Back: New Generation Fashion Designer Award 2014