Culture, Lifestyle

Shattering the illusions of fashion

Shattering the illusions of fashion

Everyone craves a slice of the fashion pie — a glamour-induced career set forth by fame and the “spotlight” — but how many truly gets a piece of it? The allure of fashion’s glossy facade — runway galore and magazine spreads — is an infectious desire hard to dismiss. And it is not hard to blame those who want to be a part of it. It may be 2006‘s The Devil Wears Prada that has fed into this romanticisation, and it does not help that the jobs portrayed in such films are typically the same — the girl in fashion journalism starts her day with a morning photoshoot, before going to afternoon castings, and ends the day with an evening runway show — but it usually is too good to be true.

The truth is, fashion’s reality goes beyond the silver screen. Behind the perfectly coiffed hair, jewellery that decorate the models, and flawless looking makeup lies an artistry of the unseen hands that meticulously craft the front lines of the industry. It is easy to fall prey to the illusion that fashion — like everything else today — is devoid of human touch. The truth lies in the dedication and creativity poured into every garment, reminding us that fashion is an art form deeply rooted in passion.

Often, only attention is paid to the protagonists of what is shown on the actual show, plus the things that make it onto social media feeds — the model of an attention-riveting shoot, the famed star of a magazine cover, the creative director of a fashion show and the photographer of a visually-stunning campaign. In reality, it takes a collective effort to bring these grand visions to life. There is a plethora of incredible talent, working behind the scenes to realise the awestruck fashion fantasies — makeup and hair stylists that put together the statement-making looks, casting directors that recruit the perfect models, and show producers that set up fascinating installations that are hard to resist snapping a picture.

While the clothes always take the centre stage, the attention to details is a precursor to bravura. These are not the ordinary hairstyles, makeup looks or accessories that one can easily find on the streets. Instead, they are the supporting characters that carry equal weight in narrating a gripping fashion story, representing the fervent passion of the creators and a dream to leave an indelible imprint in the fashion landscape. In the March issue themed “Ultranova”, Men’s Folio spotlight four artists with aspiring ambitions that celebrate passion, creativity and individuality.

Omi, 25 /

Omi is not a manicurist one can easily find in a regular nail salon. Like her brooding appearance, her nail designs command attention in a heart beat.

“It is totally different from what I expected for nail industry. The regular nail salon job is quite boring where i can only do limited nail designs.”

Jenn Teh, 21 / @charsewfan

In the 21st century, the wand has been swapped for a brush. A makeup artist is the modern-day fairy godmother — wielding the power to not just enhance beauty or conceal flaws, but to transform a face into a living canvas and to narrate any story imaginable. Whether the tale is raw vulnerability, polished perfection, or anything in between, Teh is the artist.

“To be honest, the fashion industry did not surprise me at all, I think it’s because I expected it to be “brutal” and it is what it is.”

Money Wang, 31 / @mrmoneywang

Nothing adds polish and finesse like the sheer sparkle of gemstones. However, for Money Wang — a graduate from Central Saint Martins — the jewellery playbook is meant to be broken.

“I’m quite self aware that not everyone would understand or like my work.”

Juno Ko, 37 / @notingofficial

Underestimate hair at your peril. As the saying goes, “good hair, good mood, good day.” It is the crowning glory and if it wields such power over our confidence, who is the mastermind behind its magic? For Juno Ko, manipulating hair is as instinctive as breathing.

“A hidden reality that outsiders might not know is that it takes a whole village to create the fashion you see! There’s so much teamwork involved, from makeup artists to stylists to photographers.”

Interview Yan Joon Wing & Asha Farisha

Photography Chintoo

Styling Liew Hui Ying

Photography Assistant Aizuddin Afiq

Models Pierre, Rome / The Models Lab

Once you are done with this story, click here to catch up with our March 2024 issue.