Celeb client pushes his creative button
Local fashion designer Josiah Chua still gets a buzz about US pop star Lady Gaga buying his creations
Imagine one of the world's biggest pop stars taking notice of your clothes.
That was a surreal, yet very real moment for local award-winning fashion stylist and designer Josiah Chua.
The celebrity in question was Lady Gaga, who purchased the 29-year-old's avant-garde creations from cult boutique Dog in Harajuku, Tokyo.
Even though that momentous event happened three years ago, Chua, who is a fan of the US singer, is still heartened by it.
"News like that really encourages me to push myself further in creating more exciting works or pieces that are out of the norm," he told The New Paper. "I do hope more artists or consumers love what I do and collect more of my garments."
Chua, who is currently based in Singapore, will be unveiling a preview selection from his 2018 capsule collection based on the theme of HyperCity at the Singapore: Inside Out Tokyo exhibition.
Running from Friday to Sunday at Bank Gallery, an architectural space situated within Tokyo's sophisticated Omotesando district, it celebrates Singapore's contemporary creative talents from disciplines such as design, music, fashion, sound, performing and visual arts.
Chua is among 13 Singaporeans and Japanese who have been selected to be part of the Tokyo leg of the travelling showcase organised by the Singapore Tourism Board.
Singapore: Inside Out will take place in Sydney from Nov 3 to Nov 5.
"To be part of Singapore: Inside Out is probably one of my highlights this year. This special exhibition pushes me to embark on a new journey," said Chua, adding that audience at Singapore: Inside Out Tokyo can look out for "some magical, shimmery artwear".
Chua, who specialises in one-of-a-kind pieces, said his approach "is always quite unplanned" and "spontaneous".
He added: "A lot of the design construction and design process is discovered along the way. Each piece is unique, and this has become a kind of flair that is expressed in most of my work."
The Lasalle College of the Arts fashion graduate, who earned his master's in clothing studies at the Bunka Gakuen University in Tokyo, finds inspirations from materials that "allow me to dream".
"Most of my work can start from the materials itself (or) directly from a concept or inspiration that uses a material to illustrate some form of narrative.
"The themes I explore are mostly fantasy-based, revolving around cartoons, the magical make-believe world and mythical beings."
However, Chua feels the local fashion scene is "striving to keep afloat".
"It is getting tough, especially in recent years. It is probably due to the slow retail climate and buying patterns among current consumers."
His advice to aspiring fashion designers is to keep creating and design from the heart.
"What kept me going was the need to create something new. It is more for myself and my curiosity to always discover new stuff through creation."
He added: "There are many ways, such as design showcase opportunities or design platforms, to inspire more exciting design work to help aspiring designers. Starting out was never easy, and it is still not easy. It is just about dealing with different obstacles."
Chua is currently working on completing a collaborative capsule collection with local illustrator May Chua that is inspired by local folklore.
"She created a series of illustrations with characters and creatures such as Sun Wukong, Chang-E and dragons.
"The artwork is then printed on textiles and will eventually be made into clothing pieces. It will be pretty exciting, so keep your eyes peeled," he said.