We had an interesting face to face conversation with Cheah Wei Chun, the Creative Director behind design house, CLANHOUSE not too long ago. He is also the person who has been responsible for creating some of the most fascinating covers and fashion editorials for GLAM Malaysia. Dramatic study journey abroad, first design work back in Singapore and much more here we chat about, our conversation continued on a somewhat more serious note from here onwards, nonetheless, poignant and necessary, we felt.
Why Asian themes and fashion stories through GLAM?
I have been consciously using either a Malaysian model or exploring the Asian theme because I felt it is something that we Asians can easily relate to. It's like I am using Chanel to make it look like Saloma (not the other way round). I feel there are so many things that are left unexplored within the Asian themes. The West has a rich visual library or imagery built up so many years back in fashion, but sadly, no visual library of Malaysian fashion here, which is problematic, I feel.
What makes a fashion editorial great?
First of all you need to have originality, without that, your inspiration suffers, and your work will be too. The very basic that one needs to achieve in making a great fashion editorial is that it has to look interesting and aspirational. It's like playing the scales. That is the very basic you need to master if you were to play the piano. Same goes to fashion editorial. It is that look that draws the readers in. Fashion editorial plays with your fantasies and imagination.
Photoshop is not a new thing in the fashion industry. Before photoshop, way back in fashion history, there was Airbrushing. Everyone from Richard Avedon to Irving Penn used photographic techniques such as dodging, burning and airbrushing to manipulate images. I have no issues with photoshop because on many occasions, in fashion editorial, I am portraying fantasies to a certain extent, not reality. You will have to do it cleverly, of course, knowing when is too much and when is just nice to enhance your work.
What do you think of fashion bloggers and their prevalent influence in the fashion industry today?
I don't particularly follow any of them, to be honest. This is my thought, people are dressing to be photographed more now, and less as individuals. It is a bit of a disease today, actually. Wow! That got us leaned forward with anticipation, wanting to know more! Very few people aspire to look edgy, most people aspire to look pretty. Pretty usually stays in a very confined space and it can get a little boring after a while.
From your years of experience in the work you do, what sort of advice would you most probably share with those who would like to succeed in this industry?
Finding genuine passion and through that, you will find your original voice. It requires you to understand yourself. Self awareness plays a huge part. It demands you to step out of your comfort zone. Do I push for originality or comfortability? I know by doing the shot this way, I would most definitely get the result that I want, or should I push further and try something different and risk not coming out desirable? Our immediate question to him was, what would it be? Without much hesitation Wei Chun answered. I would usually push it. I am quite a risk taker. You really need to go into that uncomfortable zone, only then you can reach for that originality. My passion for my work stop me from being lazy.
You kept using the word "interesting" a lot in our conversation today, what is INTERESTING, to you?
Originality. If you don't have proper intention, the work is meaningless. It is like music, it is the subtlety of the work. And also what is your point of view? That is what makes you different from the rest.
On that note, we came to realize that whatever that Wei Chun had shared with us that evening, made a whole lot of sense, and we felt, they are not only applicable in the fashion industry, but actually our attitude towards life itself and how we look at our work. Our cup of coffee, by then, was long emptied. Only the stain remained visible, and the smell that lingered on, in the air. But that was one great FACES time that we had with this amazingly cool designer. Read all about what we talked about previously in our first parter of the interview here.
We bid farewell and Wei Chun saw us to the lift, sending us down to the lobby of The Gardens Hotel, that night. We immediately knew that the shoot next day that Wei Chun would be getting into, would be another great one for he would most definitely pour his heart and soul into making another great interesting fashion editorial for GLAM Malaysia *_^
Our sincere thanks to Wei Chun for this session and all visuals via CLANHOUSE online here. If you are curious who we have spoken to up close previously, click here to find out more.
Till our next personality chat, have a beautiful and happy week ahead *_^