Update thyself to join the world, says Bernard Chandran to Malaysian fashion

Bernard Chandran (third from right) posing together with some of the creative personalities during the T-shirt art installation at Area27 store. Standing in front row (L-R) are Melinda Looi, Syomir Izwa, Tunku Nadia, Melissa Indot, Bernard Chandarn, Aisya Hanem and Gael Froget and in the back row (L-R) are Silas Liew and Joe Chia.

Fashion maven Bernard Chandran launched the first T-shirt art installation of newly opened store Area27 in Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur recently.

‘The Right T-shirt’ has generated a great deal of public interest. Twenty-two pieces of T-shirt design by personalities from the different industries including fashion, artists, DJs and performing arts, are on exhibition.

“This is for the expressive personality expressing their own versions of art,” said Chandran.

The T-shirts on display during the art installation at Area27 store-gallery.

“There are 22 T-shirts of different designs, fabric and colours; one from each individual. There were not given a theme, so they had a free hand.

‘Initially, it was opened to experienced designers and later to aspiring designers and friends I work with. I asked my hair-stylist and make-up artist to participate,” revealed Chandran.

Bernard Chandran striking a pose at Area27

“You have to be creative and in touch with what is current. For example, you see batik designers…they are creative but not in touch with what is current. You need to update yourself only then you can join the world in its fashion creation,” adds Chandran.

“I’ve been to London and it was very tough. The designers there are 10 times better than us and whenever they create something, they are relevant and current, easy to understand and, they research extensively.”

Fashion design student Gael Froget (left) and fashion designer Silas Liew show their creative side in T-shirt designs at the T-shirt art installation

Second-year fashion design student at Limkokwing University, Gael Froget, 25, from Mauritius, said he was contacted by Chandran, who was interested in seeing how he can infuse his sense of art into his fashion on the T-shirts for the installation.

“I study fashion design but I am also a painter. I usually use oil and water colour to paint. For this T-shirt, I hand painted using water-based serigraphic ink instead of a printing machine. This T-shirt is unique because when you paint on T-shirts, you will never find duplicates – and people appreciate uniqueness,” said Froget.

A T-shirt design by Gael Froget showcases his creative style and signature painting of a face with very big slip and with one eye bigger than the other.

“It took me two days to paint this T-shirt – it is an image of a face who is not anyone I know. I paint subconsciously and I know my shades. You can see the face with very big lips and one eye is bigger than the other; this is my style and signature. All my paintings are portraits of faces. I really get inspired by the variety of people I meet.”

A black T-shirt design by fashion designer Silas Liew who used semi-felted wool knit fabric for the piece

Froget said he had already received orders for similar designs of this T-shirt.

“It has been only one week since I put up this picture (the same design on the exhibition) on facebook. People saw it and said they wanted one like this. Each T-shirt will be different. I want to keep its exclusivity.”

The partnership of singer/songwriter and recording artist Melissa Indot and deejay Tunku Nadia known as PopMuseSic is expressed on T-shirt of a skull wearing headphones.

PopMuseSic partnership of deejay Tunku Nadia (left) and singer/songwriter and recording artist Melissa Indot

Tunku Nadia said: “Our unique piece for the Area27 exhibition is a combination of the kitschy elements of pop culture, edginess of punk rock and roll and the freedom of boho chic look with music as the underlying element.”

Fashion designer Silas Liew, 27, used a semi-felted wool knit for his black T-shirt and the neckline and side straps are  made of garment-weight sheepskin leather which were hand-cut and pieced together manually. Aboriginal costumes and indigenous wear, particularly the blankets and tapestries made by the Navajo, an American Indian tribe, were the inspiration for this simple garment.

PopMuseSic’s expression of music and fashion as seen in their T-shirt of skull wearing headphones.

The T-shirt art installation was held in conjunction with the Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week and is on until the end of the year.

“We will hold the art installation once a month or once in two months. Every installation will be a surprise,” said Chandran.

“Area27 was recently opened on October 15. It’s the first step to get designers and creative people from all walks of life together. Next time we can put up another creative theme like toys, shoes, handbags and clothes. So here we give everybody a chance to be creative so I hope this place will be able to link everyone together.”

Why Area27?

“My son was born on 27th and he also inspired me to open the store. My date of birth is also 27 so I think Area27 sounds nice and cool because two plus seven equal nine and whatever you multiply by nine you will get nine,” said the proud father.