Niche Malaysian designer Joe Chia has won the hearts of many since his eponymous label’s debut in 2012. A graduate from the Raffles Design Institute, his avant-garde work earned him the title, “Asia’s Most Influential Designer” during the 2013 Mercedes Benz STYLO Asia Fashion Week. Indeed, with collaborations from UNIQLO, G-Shock and Reebok, Chia’s widespread recognition is inevitable. Organizing his collections into chapters rather than seasons, this seventh chapter titled “Power Above Us All,” which coincides with the Spring/Summer 2016 season, embodies a multitude of cultural elements.
Punctuated by a brick red and earthy brown, the otherwise monochromatic collection was composed predominantly of natural textiles like cotton canvas and linen. Unstructured and loose shapes were held together with chain stitches and heavy draping techniques for dramatic folds. On the whole, Chia’s Chapter 07 was relatively androgynous with column skirts and sleeveless tunics seamlessly integrated into the menswear collection. Bomber jackets, long blazers and cloak-like pieces were all there, layered over long-length cotton poplin tops. There were a variety of sleeve constructions, the most memorable of which were exaggerated long sleeves that flared at the end with an incision perpendicular to the wrist. Harem pants and culottes provided substantial volume, especially when contrasted with the fitted, calf-high leather boots.
Literally topped with Mandarin-style caps, “Power Above Us All” is a composite of several cultural tokens and is an ode to the commonalities between all groups. While the differences between them may be many, Chia’s collection shows us how beautiful it can be when we bring them together.