Photo: Ashley Mak
The curtains finally fell on 2017’s Harper’s BAZAAR Asia NewGen Fashion Award and it was Phua Chun Huen who bagged last evening’s biggest prize. It must’ve been a sweet victory for Phua, who took time off fashion to help in his family’s business and chose the competition to mark his return.
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Phua faced stiff competition this year, with fashion talents from Indonesia and Thailand putting up a fierce fight for the coveted title of the region’s best emerging designer. “This year’s finalists have a sophistication and point-of-view that’s well-developed. Social media has become increasingly important in their marketing plans and paired with their designs I can sense a marketability and commercial know-how that’s truly geared for the new millennium,” observed Kenneth Goh, Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore.
In the end, Phua emerged triumphant because his beautiful designs came backed with a sound business plan. Goh added: “Chuen displayed wonderful technical knowledge and breadth of textile understanding that belie his young age. His time-out from fashion has certainly instilled a hunger in him, plus a sensitivity that’s really quite beautiful and lyrical.”
"The days leading up to the regional leg was filled with excitement and anxiety. Initially it was stressful until I decided to just let nature take its course. Still, I told myself I would not want to finish this race without a good fight. Even it meant losing, at least I lost with no regrets,” Phua said after the show, “I just wanted to do things the way I felt they should be done. It was an unexpected win.”
This article was first published at Harper's Bazaar Singapore.