For the first time at the Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week 2018 (KLFW2018), MINI lent its name to the highly-anticipated trend-setting event in town – not just its automobiles but also the spirit that defines the brand. Fun, dynamic and trendy, anyone who has driven a MINI can relate to these feelings. It was apt that the carmaker elected to exhibit, in collaboration with The Woolmark Company, the MINI FASHION FIELD NOTES Capsule Collection.

Erected away from the concourse area, the capsule collection ran from August 8 till August 12, featuring select sartorial pieces designed by alumni of the International Woolmark Prize: Liam Hodges (UK), Staffonly (China), PH5 (USA) and Rike Feurstein (Germany). The 16-piece limited-run collection consisted of contemporary designs with crisp lines and silhouettes, complemented by a range of colours.

First showcased at the Pitti Uomo 94, the capsule collection embraced the Transcending Borders concept and made from the finest Merino wool. Hence every piece in the capsule collection is crafted with the urban traveller in mind – from a maroon bowler hat by Feurstein, to a grey trench coat by Hodges, to a striped suspender jumpsuit by PH5.

As part of their efforts to support the capsule collection, Hodges and PH5’s Wei Lin and Mijia Zhang took their seats at the Fashion Talks, held at Acme Bar & Coffee. They broached subjects spanning inspiration for their creations, trials and tribulations faced by nascent designers, and manufacturing and logistics. However, it was their frank disclosure and opinions that provided a glimpse of what the future holds for fashion as a whole and in Malaysia. Below are the takeaways.

A platform for rising stars

Given Malaysians’ fixation with labels, KLFW2018 provided a platform for independent local designers to showcase to audiences their skills and ingenuity. In addition, the MINI FASHION FIELD NOTES Capsule Collection was planted in between Gucci and Prada boutiques, at the cloister of the capital’s haute couture scene. The space was thoughtfully laid out, giving every item from the capsule collection the platform it deserved. While we often vent about the lack of support for up-and-coming designers, MINI FASHION may just be the antidote we have been waiting for.

Scouting mission

“We are at Takashimaya,” Wei Lin of PH5 beamed when asked about their presence in the region. She was not shy in admitting that the trip to Kuala Lumpur was a scouting mission for her label – to gauge demand and perhaps more than that. Not merely acting as a platform, MINI FASHION may also be paving the way for more independent designers to enter our market.

Fast fashion can be sustainable too

If you can wear a Uniqlo shirt for five years but you can only wear your high fashion clothing once in a while, who is to say that fast fashion is not sustainable while latter is sustainable? That was the rhetorical question put forth by the designers at the Fashion Talks. Although sustainability to many represents obvious qualities such as using vegetable tannins and organic fabrics, it may not be all that straightforward it seems. “Which is why when I design, I always have practicality in mind,” echoed one of the designers.