Meet the region's leading fashion designers
Singaporean Nic Wong Chia- chee studied interior and graphic design before moving into fashion. In 2001, he got an internship with London's Intraport, which designs clothes for Laura Ashley, Topshop and Miss Selfridge. Two years later, he graduated from the LaSalle SIA College of the Arts in Singapore, launching his label the next year.
Have you always wanted to be a designer?
Yes, since I was a child. My mother was a seamstress, and I used to play with her fabrics and drape it over the mannequin.
How did you set up the label?
I founded my company, Nicholasnic, with my sister and launched my label, Nicholas, after I won a Mercedes-Benz Asia Fashion award in Singapore in 2004. We opened a concept boutique at the colonial Stamford House in Singapore a year later.
How's the company structured?
I don't have a design team, so I handle all design and operations. We have four part-time staff.
How many lines are there?
I have two ready-to-wear lines under the label Nicholas: Pink Label and Black Label.
What's the design philosophy?
I mix soft and hard fabrics to create form and contrast, and I'm always on the lookout for unusual weaving and exceptional prints to complete the perfect look.
What inspires you?
Life, friends, prints, colours, objects and music.
What does your current collection look like?
For Pink Label I was inspired by Portobello market in London, so the collection fuses old-world charm with modern pop art. Black Label features black, grey, blue and mint-coloured ensembles with textured fabric, knitwear, Victorian detailing, checks and tartans.
What makes your business successful?
I'm a strong believer in good, detailed workmanship. Mixing old, rich fabrics with modern textures in a contemporary way creates a different look.
Where are your designs available?
Only in Singapore. I hope to venture overseas eventually.
What are your plans?
To design a range of lifestyle products and stationery with my own prints and take part in international events such as London Fashion Week.
What's your motto?
Sincerity is important - and laziness gets you nowhere.