Reads

Relove feat. Self-Portrait

Reads|Relove feat. Self-Portrait
When Han Chong founded Self-Portrait in 2013, he wanted to ensure that beautiful fashion wasn’t just available to a privileged few, which he achieved with accessible pricing. Nine years later, it has become the go-to brand for event dressing, with pieces that will make you feel as good as you look. As we celebrate the launch of Self-Portrait x Relove, Chong explains what drew him to fashion, the end of trends, and what he buys at Reluxe…
What is the vision behind Self-Portrait? Since starting Self-Portrait almost 10 years ago, I've always wanted to provide high-quality designs that were able to uplift, empower, and celebrate women - to make them feel the very best version of themselves. What is your design process? I start by thinking about my customer - what she may be feeling, her needs or wants in today's ever-changing world. I then look to design pieces that are timeless yet modern, and that can continue to be worn and passed down through the generations. When we see a strong response to certain styles, we like to keep them in our collections, updating them with new colourways, lengths, and fabric variations, so that they always stay relevant. Who is your ultimate Self-Portrait woman? I never have just one person in mind. For me, the joy of what I do comes from designing for women with different personalities, attitudes, and ways of living their lives. What does the brand represent to you? I want the women who wear my dresses to feel great, no matter the occasion, and to feel like they can do whatever they want without feeling too restricted or uncomfortable.
“For me, the key to sustainability is clothing that's not defined by a particular trend and which is made to withstand the test of time. If my customer feels comfortable and confident in what she’s wearing, there's no risk of it ever going out of style.” What has been your favourite moment in the history of the brand? Opening our very first London flagship on Albemarle Street in 2018 - it's such a beautiful space. We've also recently opened a second store off London's Kings Road which is exciting! What does sustainable fashion mean to you? For me, the key to sustainability is clothing that's not defined by a particular trend and which is made to withstand the test of time. If my customer feels comfortable and confident in what she’s wearing, there's no risk of it ever going out of style. What drew you to fashion? From a young age, I knew that I wanted to become a creator. My aunt is a local artist in Penang, Malaysia, and introduced me to art growing up. I went to study art and design in Kuala Lumpur, and it was one of my tutors that inspired me to get into fashion. From there, I moved to London to study at Central Saint Martins. Your pieces seem like they're made to have fun in, do you think about how they'll be worn when you're designing? They're all injected with a hint of personality. It's always been about making women feel confident and happy!
“I tend to purchase wardrobe staples that I know I'll wear again and again and which I can easily mix and match with other items...I've even bought a few pieces from the Reluxe website which I love!” What does your ultimate night out look like? Dining out with my friends. I much prefer low-key restaurants where the vibe is relaxed and the focus is on the food. How do you shop? I tend to purchase wardrobe staples that I know I'll wear again and again and which I can easily mix and match with other items. This means I have a uniform-like wardrobe, which also helps me to make very fast decisions about what to wear. I've even bought a few pieces from the Reluxe website which I love! What does preloved mean to you, and how would you like it to grow? It's a deep appreciation for design and aesthetic that is not dictated by trends or 'newness'. By reselling items once loved, or likely still loved, we are giving them a new lease of life and the opportunity to be newly loved by someone else. The idea that fashion needs to be 'new' has become an archaic way of thinking. Preloved, second hand and/or vintage shopping has become a really important way of how conscious consumers purchase. What would you like the future of fashion to look like? To be less guided by trends and to create for the people wearing the designs. A recent example for Self-Portrait has been the increased appetite for effortless shapes and fabrics over the years, no matter the season. This then led us to expand our knitwear ranges with knitwear becoming a very important category for the business. What are your favourite pieces from Self-Portrait x Relove? I love the silver sequin dress in the Relove edit - we initially designed this one for Claudia Winkleman at the Strictly Come Dancing finale last year.
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