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Inspired by nostalgia, the Malaysia and Paris-based designer brings forth his Spring/Summer 2021 collection. In our recent conversation, he takes us back to the past and gives us a peek into the future.
Sheena Angelique: Your brand has come so far. Who is Jonathan Liang now as the designer and where is Jonathan Liang since it was founded in 2013?
Jonathan Liang : As a designer, I’ve been expanding beyond just design, leaning more toward crafting stories and the business side of things. I want to be able to see the world I am creating as a whole. Since 2013, Jonathan Liang, as a brand, has been in a pretty comfortable place even with the raging pandemic.
Sheena : Your designs encapsulate the sweetest yet most empowering tribute to femininity in the past. How is it evolving?
Jonathan : It evolves with our audience, what they like and what they relate to. Designs should not be something selfish or a personal opinion all the time. I’ve always believed that designs should continuously listen to its audience. That is an evolution that is constant to me.
Sheena: Tell us about HARD CANDY. What do you want to focus on for this collection?
Jonathan: HARD CANDY has this rather contradicting connotation to it. It feels sweet yet powerful, and this reflects the entire collection and brand identity this season. Feminine and frills but with a certain level of cool vibe.
Sheena: Could you highlight some details and representation of your Spring/Summer 2021 Collection.
Jonathan: This season portrays the reinvention of gingham fabrics, silken ensembles, and nonchalant wear – the je ne sais quoi energy of the women in the 1960s, reimagined for the women of today. Vintage garden roses prints, inspired by wallpapers in French homes, which often appeared in Jean-Luc [Godard]’s films, are seen on fit to flare silhouettes with drawstring details, deconstructed panels, and bustier top-stitched tops.
Sheena: Your visuals are stunning! How do you translate your designs into images?
Jonathan: Thank you! I actually try to find alternative concepts for my visuals, something related but also apart from my core inspiration. I think the mixture of elements add a level of depth to certain ideas. It evokes questions from audiences, and that is the exact reaction that we strive to have as a form of connection.
Sheena: In what way do you think your heritage influenced your work and creativity?
Jonathan: It was more so in my upbringing, growing in a family obsessed with garden flowers. This has shaped my obsession with flowers. I think they are always nostalgic because they represent a significant memory or moment for everybody. Similarly, we want everyone to feel a bittersweet emotion when they wear Jonathan Liang.
Sheena: With the rapid fluctuation and rise of challenges in the market, how do you adapt?
Jonathan: We are currently focusing on digital [platforms] and we hone our strategies toward very personalised connection with customers. Being able to relate directly in a world where everyone is looking for something relatable is the focus of many brands, and this method has always been effective for us. We aim to continue to do so in the coming years as the digital environment grows.
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