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The Birth of Amur

The Birth of Amur

Protection for life in the frontier. That was what Amur eventually evolved into.

In the beginning, there were belts and shawls. Not content with accessories however, we dreamt of bigger things. What better way to showcase one’s propensity for fabrics, cuts and construction than long outerwear?

Is fashion design an art form? If a piece of work serves a function, it is not art, no matter how aesthetically-pleasing it can be. I hold the opinion that design is just the sellout cousin of art. The noble goal of fashion is to translate the zeitgeist we live in into clothing. While many corporations use fashion as a vehicle for wealth-extraction, others make clothes to serve as coping mechanisms for their audience; offering multiple courses of beauty that soothe troubled souls and speak of collective pains.

I believe that we are living in a new era as yet unnamed, while postmodernism is now becoming an invalid on crutches. With the advent of AI, a seismic shift in geopolitical reality, not to mention the diminishing marginal returns of our labour and education, one must navigate a new landscape to survive. Having been violently uprooted at the age of ten, I understand the struggle of moving into a new world, over and over again, in search of a new home. Even if some choose to isolate in the wilderness, for those who still pin their hopes on the joys and sorrows of humanity, I recommend heading to places that explores other ways of thinking, seeing and believing, be it near, or far. The Earth is much bigger than we give it credit for.

As I developed Amur – from the garments to the story and its imageries – my subconscious seemed to have willed my contemplations into reality. The centrepiece of the collection was a coat that had been through multiple iterations (you can read about the entire evolution here). Three years later, it finally arrived at a version that reflects the hardy attitude I wanted. In its final form, Amur represents one’s journey into a frontier. Surrounded by alien faces, and often alien tongues, one will be no less lonely at first, thus in need of a mental and physical protection while searching for a solid ground to walk on.

Like childbirth, the creation of Amur involved many months of arduous gestation period. Pain and frustration mixed with anticipation and excitement. There could never be an adequate amount of preparation. Times like these I could hear Dave Grohl telling me to just do my best, and my mom’s reminder that I was learning to live again. The delivery of the collection unleashed mental and physical exhaustion, but also immense emotional satisfaction.

I do not remember how we celebrated the completion of Amur. It probably involved an earlier bedtime. Having spent many late nights fixing and altering garments down to the last detail, a good night’s sleep was in order. As I hung the last garment to join the rest of the collection, I took pride in the cohesion of its refined coarseness. It was a humbling sight; a reminder that many hands had been involved from start to finish. With the assistance of technology, they farmed and harvested the cotton plants, turned the fibers into yarns which were dyed and woven in textile factories, stored the bolts in warehouses then delivered them to us, who laid and sheared the fabric on the cutting table, finally sewing and ironing to shape its final form. It was a marriage of man and machine; the right tools in the right hands blessed with the right skills.

Amur, now available on

To be continued in Part II.

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