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If there is one word to describe Malaysian-born designer Cassey Gan, it is 'understated'. Quiet by nature, Cassey Gan admits that she is never a loud person and does not enjoy being the centre of attention. The fair-skinned designer shies away from the spotlight and prefers being focused, working hard behind the scene and allowing her work to do the talking.
Armed with a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons), Cassey allowed her passion for fashion to drive her and she graduated with a second degree – A First Class Honours in Fashion Design & Technology: Womenswear (BA), from London College of Fashion in 2012. Vogue Italia featured her in their global edition of “Discovering fashion’s future generation of talents.” She was 1 of 34 graduates from the UK to be talent-spotted in this magazine.
In today's feature, we find out more about the designer herself, the mechanics behind Cassey's pieces and get further insight into her latest collection, series 06.
Q. Tell me about yourself
Favourite designer(s) – Alexander Wang, Phoebe Philo for Celine, Victoria Beckham, Stella McCartney and Nicolas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga
Your muse – My muse changes from time to time. This season, she is an artist named Jojo Goh from Malaysia.
When you are not embarking on a new collection – I enjoy travelling, watching movies and trying out new cafés but I cannot stop designing. I am always seeking for inspiration everywhere I go.
Q: You did a degree in Engineering, what spurred you to pursue Fashion Design & Technology after?
I realised that my passion is with the arts and my parents have been extremely supportive of my pursuit of a fashion career. That gave me the confidence to go ahead and I am very happy about that decision. It really changed my life completely, in a good way!
Q: Has engineering played any part in your current pursuits?
To a certain extent, I think it has – subconsciously. In engineering, I was trained to be very structured, disciplined and detail oriented. Those traits have definitely helped me in being more structured and organised when running my own business now. Learning a lot of maths during my engineering years has also helped me greatly in pattern drafting.
Q: What sets you apart from others in the industry in terms of your style and design?
The label focuses greatly on both comfort and style. There is always an acute attention to details and an interesting mix of fabrics and prints. All outfits are non-form fitting.
Q: How do you ensure originality and innovation behind each collection?
We do not design based on trends. We design based on what we think a Cassey Gan woman would and want to wear and how they would feel wearing our designs. We have also started creating our own prints to ensure originality.
Q: How do you come up with different styles and themes for each series yet ensure each series is set apart from the other?
I try to visit a new place every time before I start a collection. I then draw out inspiration from my trip and bring it back to the studio to discuss with my team. The collection grows throughout the entire design process as we do quite a lot of trail and error. Most of the time, we learn or discover something interesting through making mistakes. We tend to have some kind of continuation in our series. For example, if there were a detail we really like from series 05, we would then bring that detail forward and explore it even more in series 06. Print is also a big part of the label hence, you can expect different prints every season.
Q: How would you describe your designs and what inspires you?
Our designs are modern yet timeless. There is always good balance between comfort and style. I’m inspired by new experiences like meeting new people, visiting a new place etc.
Q: What would you like consumers to take home upon trying on a Cassey Gan piece, in terms of emotions?
I would like them to feel understatedly cool, confident and beautiful. These emotions are important because they inject positivity and optimism.
Q: Any plans to branch out into menswear in future?
Not in the near future. However, I am rather interested in kidswear!
CASSEY GAN SERIES 06
Q: The print on your series 06 pieces is called ‘Nostalgia’, how did you come up with the name and why?
The prints are inspired by observation of walls that withstood the test of age and time – culminating the enchanting textures and colours – each with its own temporal story to tell, hence the name nostalgia because everyone has a past and everyone has a story to tell.
Q: Series 06 uses bold colours with the main colour being black, is there a reason for that?
Personally, I have always loved working with black and navy. The bold colours are directly drawn from the photos I have taken of the walls I mentioned above. I felt that for this collection, in order for the colours to stand out, I have to pair them with a dark base, hence the use of black and navy.
Q: The apron dress is an interesting piece, how did you come up with such a style?
I have always had a fascination with protective wear. For series 05, I was looking at samurais and their protective uniform. For series 06, I started looking at women who had to work in weapon-making factories during world war one. They were all wearing some form of aprons, which I found extremely interesting and could be translated to a dress in a modern way.
Q: What else can you tell us about series 06?
It is the first series we produced our own original prints for and we are extremely excited about that. We have also introduced a new silhouette into the collection, for example, the apron dress. We also have more separates in series 06 including a couple of quirky bibs! This collection is very versatile and it allows for different ways of mixing and matching.
Cassey Gan series 06 is now available at K+ nana & bird at Scotts Square and online.