Singapore has long been recognized for its wealth and access, but its fashion is also making a splash as more and more designers from Asia make their way to New York Fashion Week.

Max Tan is one of the designers creating something special. He created his first pieces in 2010 and since he has recreated everyday pieces to be something fashionable, that tastemakers from around the world find themselves drawn to.

It’s not a mistake, says Tan.

“The first piece of clothing that I designed from my first collection SS10 was a shirt; the mundane white shirt was given a twist; the hem of the front bodice scoops up towards the side seams, curves smoothly and sits on the small of the back. It also features an pleated back peplum extended from the shirt yoke. It looks like a regular shirt from the front and the surprise is all at the back.”

This original design is still relevant today.

The collection has been through an evolution. It’s relaxed and easy, with a black and white color palette that adds sophistication. Each piece has been thought through, in the sense that there is a level of comfort the designer wanted the client to experience.

“I want women to feel powerful and feminine all at the same time. I think femininity is not just in showing the contours of the female form, but also in how a woman moves. I love my clothes to reflect that.”

The minimalism is subtle, considering how many houses focus on layers,  the fact that you can grab something from your closet and go, while still making a statement is more important than ever. Tan weaves his way through the male, female constructs with each piece, allowing for a style that doesn’t belong to either side. The handmade, oversized clothes with their geometric cuts leave room for interpretation.

The deconstruction of the tiered dress is another way Tan stayed on trend while bucking the norms, and allowing the option to add jewelry and a great pair of army boots.

“Being based in Southeast Asia and sitting right on the equator, to be specific, we are known for tropical dressing: prints are almost a stereotypical resort wear ‘look’. I want to challenge that stereotype. In my collections, I try to include Southeast Asian elements and present them in a new light.”

Tan is poised to keep pushing boundaries, so don’t be surprised to see him at a fashion week near you…

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