If you know anything about fashion, or are even vaguely interested in clothing at all, then you can’t have missed the impact of London-based fashion brand Self-Portrait. The Malaysian-born designer, Han Chong, is particularly known for his unique way of working with lace and mixing different fabrics into feminine, interesting, sexy and fashionable garments.

Singapore fashion week self portrait designer han chong DECOR

His iconic lace dresses were first spotted by magazine editors across the globe, and quickly gathered a cult following, popping up on influencers’ social media and garnering the alumnus of Central Saint Martins a firm following. The following is so firm in fact that it didn’t take long before a number of ‘homage’ pieces – basically copies – were all over the internet and then, of course, all over social media. It’s said that ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’, but in the environment of a business, imitation means a loss. 

READ MORE: All you need to know about London-based label Self-Portrait

So, what does Han Chong REALLY think about this ‘imitation’? Read through the questions below to find out …

Would you describe your style as having anything that’s particularly ‘Asian’ about it? If yes, why? If not, why not? 

I am very inspired by lace at is a traditional Malaysian fabric. At the same time I wouldn’t say my clothes are particular to one area. It’s not something that I focus on when I create my collections.

What do you think about being considered an ‘Asian’ designer?
I am proud of my heritage and think it has allowed me to give a different perspective in the fashion industry. 
Though I don’t think that defines who I am as a designer. If being a designer of an Asian background inspires other Asians  than I think that’s wonderful.

What 3 items do you think every woman should have in her wardrobe?
A great blouse, a jacket, and a beautiful dress for special occasions.

How do you feel about the very obvious ‘homage’ pieces that have flooded the internet? Are you angry or flattered?
It can be flattering but also frustrating. There is a huge difference in influence and imitation. I hold my designs very dear, but at the same time it motivates me to work hard and continue to grow. I am a very open person so the idea that sometimes I have to be protective of my ideas can be disheartening. I honestly never thought that as a contemporary brand we would be experiencing these issues, that these were the problems of leading luxury labels. I guess this is just the times that we live in.

Self-Portrait will be on the runway at Singapore Fashion Week 2016, on Sunday, October 30.  In Singapore, the brand is stocked at multi-label boutique Et-i-kit (34 Kandahar Street) and dresses range in prices from $300 to $650. Alternatively, the label is available for purchase on www.self-portrait-studio.com or www.net-a-porter.com. For the full line-up at Singapore Fashion Week 2016, read our story See the complete line-up of shows for Singapore Fashion Week 2016