20/09/2017
Top of the class.

Words by

Fashion Journal

The menswear industry in Australia is often considered somewhat of an underdog. However, there’s a new guard of labels setting about to change things.

With their respective Woolmark Prize nominations and showings at Melbourne Fashion Week, Chris Ran Lin and AMXANDER are making the industry sit up and pay attention.

We sat down with the designers to chat inspiration, gender stereotypes and trend predictions for 2018. 

AMXANDER
Jason Pang and Jake Chen

When did you launch your label?

At the start of 2014.

What are you currently working on?

Our AW18 collection, our Shanghai Fashion Week campaign and an exclusive online capsule collection which is out at the end of the month.

Why did you decide to design menswear?

Jason: As an avenue to be creative and to help men express themselves.

Jake: Growing up as a migrant, it was difficult to navigate my own identity. I was the only Chinese kid in school and with no school uniform, I stuck out like a sore thumb. That’s when I first, at eight years old, thought about how clothes are such a powerful contributor to our social construct. Being forced into the traditional route of education by my parents – and subsequently achieving a Masters in Business and working in consultancy – made me really question my identity. I thought ‘hey, hold on, why can’t I have both?’ I was always great at art, and felt it was such a shame that I never nurtured my wild, creative side. Meeting Jason by chance was actually the spark that ignited the fire.

Describe your design aesthetic.

We are romantically rebellious, with a touch of fluidity. We idealise symbolism and like to translate and elevate casual formats with embroidery.

Biggest challenges working in menswear?

In Australia, we’re part of a society that have had it good. In the past, there haven’t been oppressive regimes, economic depression or other forms of pressure that create a strong desire to mutate thoughts and ideas into an expressive format. Contrast that to the era of punks who were formed on the backbone of anti-capitalism, or even to the modern day Chinese consumers, who are products of the one-child policy. You’ll see that instead, Australians are a static society, and subsequently we are happy and content. is is great, but we believe it causes a cycle of monotony within the domestic market – particularly in menswear.

What do you predict for the future of menswear in Australia?

Less monotony (hopefully). Greater access to information in our digital age has pushed the limits of how guys express themselves, and the traditionally rigid definition of masculinity is changing for the better.

If you could pick one person to wear your clothes, who would it be?

Jake: Oliver Sim

Jason: Sung Jin Park

Biggest achievement to date?

Being nominated by The Woolmark Company as an Australian menswear finalist for the International Woolmark Prize.

What’s next for you?

Come the end of September, we will have a small capsule of limited-run embroidered hoodies, sweats and T-shirts available exclusively on our website. 

amxander.com

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Chris Ran Lin
Chris Ran Lin

When did you launch your label?

Chris Ran Lin launched in 2013.

What are you currently working on?

Right now I’m working on orders for my SS18 collection. I’m also preparing a couple of new looks to showcase at Jakarta Fashion Week in October.

Why did you decide to design menswear?

I wasn’t planning on designing menswear when I first decided to study fashion. I only discovered my interest in it during my final year of university. I became very fascinated with the possibility and potential of menswear design.

What kind of guy do you design for?

The guy who wears Chris Ran Lin is brave enough to challenge the traditional stereotype of male dressing.

What do you predict for the future of menswear in Australia?

Australian menswear has changed a lot since I came here 13 years ago. I now see more guys who are willing to try new things. More designers are doing menswear right now, too.

Biggest achievement to date?

My biggest achievement would a collaboration with Lane Crawford. The exclusive range, Chris Ran Lin for Lane Crawford, is going to be available in-store and online soon.

Trend prediction for 2018?

I think we’ll see lots of pattern and colour. Sportswear and athleisure are also going to be big in 2018. 

chrisranlin.com

This feature was originally published in Fashion Journal 172. You can read it here.

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