There is only a handful of fashion designers in Malaysia that excel in surface design. Cassey Gan falls in that category. She discovered surface design or digital print on textile during her time at the London College of Fashion, under the tutelage of James Pegg and Robert Phillips. Gan describes her creations coming into focus when she, upon the suggestion of Pegg, dialed up the chromatic scale of her designs into brilliantly saturated lashings of pattern and proportion—an experience so cathartic that she has not looked back since.
When one gets the opportunity to visit Gan’s studio and showroom in Taman Desa, it is impossible to ignore the confidence she creates with—imbuing, for example, her most recent collection, Series 08, with a typology of shift dresses and tops, with multiple layers of skewed geometrics set upon a base of blue.
Gan’s main concern is what women wear on a daily basis. She says, “Everything must have a function.”
The studio is emblematic of the design process within, outlined in several mood boards across the walls and ultimately translated into paper garment patterns by Gan herself. She cuts her garments with the intent to defy bodycon culture in favour of an uncomplicated silhouette. One could almost catch a glimpse of Japanese design, with an anti-glamour aspect.
Gan’s main concern is what women wear on a daily basis. She says, “Everything must have a function.” Surface design refers to the many ways the surface of a fabric is decorated, and digital printing is the simplest form of that.
However, unlike the work of the Japanese avant-garde minimalists of the late 1980s, such as Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, whose use of print is applied to create tension or absurdity, Gan draws the line at being anti-aesthetic.
When asked about her inspiration for Series 08, Gan mentioned the late architect Dame Zaha Hadid. Gan had lived in an area of central London lined with the offices of architecture firms, branding agencies and craft studios. The main office of Zaha Hadid Architects was just around the corner. The inorganic curvature and subjugated structure in Series 08 unmistakably reference Hadid’s architectural works.
In 2017, Cassey Gan moves into her fifth year in business with a number of commercial efforts. In the first quarter, a new multi-label retail space launching in The Gardens Mall will introduce her label to a larger audience. In the second quarter, she is participating in a new China-wide trade event during Shanghai Fashion Week, DADASHOW.
Where you can shop for Cassey Gan:
Cassey Gan Studio (by appointment only)
53C Jalan Desa Bakti
58100 Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Dutamas 1
50480 Kuala Lumpur