Despite only being in Singapore for three hours, Japanese fashion designer Toshikazu Iwaya, the brain behind emerging label Dresscamp, looks remarkably fresh, and even more remarkably dressed. Put this way, he stands out in the genteel lobby of the Mandarin Orchard Hotel.

toshikazu iwaya dresscamp interview in singapore DECOR MAINJapanese fashion designer Toshikazu Iwaya, the brain behind emerging label Dresscamp.
Image: Wesley Kow for herworldPLUS

Wearing a tee with a vaguely menacing smiley face, skinny shorts and gold encrusted snapback cap, Iwaya looks exactly like you’d imagine a fashion-forward designer should. Although his Dresscamp Autumn Winter 2014-15 runway show at Audi Fashion Festival 2014 is not his first overseas show – Iwaya has shown in Paris, Hong Kong and Uzbekistan (of all places) – but it is his first trip to Singapore.

SINGAPORE FLING
Asked about whether or not he knew anything about the island, he replied that he’d done some research in advance and realised that it wouldn’t make sense to show the full autumn and winter styles as they’re not really appropriate considering the weather.

So the show that will be seen on Saturday, March 17, 2014, will be a specially curated pick of the collection with the emphasis on looks that are more compatible for Singapore’s warm weather.

“[But] I tried to express the same feeling as the collection had when it was shown in Tokyo [during Tokyo Fashion Week]; I just adjusted it for Singapore weather. I have heard that Singapore is a quite energetic place, and that it’s positive and innovative, and open to new ideas,” said Iwaya. 

“My collection is quite colourful so I think it will suit the Singapore market,” said Iwaya when discussing the possibility of bring the Dresscamp brand to retail stores in Singapore. “[But] I think I would also adjust the collections to fit the market as well. Internationally I’ve noticed that many brands are starting to reduce the amount of heavy autumn and winter pieces in their collections, so I’d look to the balance of my summer and autumn collections for Singapore.”

When it comes to the “balancing” of Dresscamp’s unique blend of tailoring and streetwear, Iwaya said that although “street style is more real”, it’s the classical tailoring that he personally prefers; the combination of the two is similar to his own personality, and although he has lots of “things” in his mind, there’s no one strong influence or inspiration when it comes to either his designing or his concept for the brand overall.

BORROWING & BLENDING
This “magpie” effect means that Dresscamp is a brand that can sometimes be hard to define; but you’ll also never be bored as customer. Iwaya noted that this “borrowing and blending” that’s typical of his work is also something you can find in a lot of young Asian designers.  

“When it comes to Asian designers there’s nothing to say ‘this is asian style’. Asian designers are influenced and inspired by lots of different countries and cultures both in Asia and from around the world. Asian designers are already borrowing from lots of places to put together with a new perspective,” explained Iwaya.

“Over the last 10 years its been changing. I’ve been giving lectures in a fashion school in Japan and I can see that many of the students are from other countries – especially from other Asian countries – so I’ve seen the impact of the regional and international globalisation of fashion.”

FASHION FORWARD

toshikazu iwaya dresscamp interview in singapore DECOR 2

Iwaya is already an established name in the Japanese fashion industry and fast becoming a name to drop globally as well. His future plans include expanding more into the Asian region; already available in Hong Kong and China, he’s currently looking for stockists in Singapore and Bangkok.

“America and Europe are still important markets [for Dresscamp], but I think that Asia is the place for growth; especially for menswear as the European menswear market is still fairly conservative,” said Iwaya when asked about his plans for the brand.

As for his personal plans, Iwaya said the main thing he wanted to do in Singapore was to “make the show successful first”; after that he wants to check out some local fashion stores and maybe visit Haji Lane. It might seem like it’s all about business, but with a smile Iwaya said he just likes fashion, any fashion, so what seems like work is really just him having fun.

The Dresscamp Autumn Winter 2014-15 runway show at Audi Fashion Week 2014 is presented by Parco Japan and will be held on Saturday, May 17, 2014, at 8pm. To buy tickets go to audifashionfestival.com. Stay up-to-date with AFF2014 news by following the hashtag #affsg. For more information about Dresscamp, go to dresscamp.jp.