Individuality: Joey Ma

...season favourites from the ultimate individual

by Joey Ma
Joey Ma, Hong Kong fashion icon and long time supporter of NOT JUST A LABEL, shares his favorites from this season and from the past. As one of our biggest fans, Joey passionately explains his picks. Joey has been a muse to many designers. His fiery fashion sense and provocative attitude have caused quite a commotion in the fashion industry. He offers a refreshing, consumer's perspective on avant-garde fashion.

"NOT JUST A LABEL carries more than 5,000 designers from all over the world. Picking a favourite can be extremely tough. The more you look, the more you find. After searching through a myriad of amazing collections, I finally selected a few designers from my favourites that exemplify innovation in young design. I want to share my thoughts and findings with you.

Kampe's current collection, 'Exploded View', is one of the most exciting and unique collections I have seen in a while. Michael Kampe graduated from The Royal Academy, Antwerp with honours. His collection can be perceived as more of a "collectible" than "consumable" collection. Kampe focuses on individual and one-off pieces. He recently explained to me that each of the prototypes are sent to a small production company in Antwerp. This results in fine finishing and unique detailing, added to the already brilliant pieces. With his individual production technique, Michael Kampe brings something truly special to the fashion industry. He is now a finalist at the 2011 Hyères International Fashion and Photography Festival.

'----5', a great collection by Balmung, hailing from Tokyo, shows us some amazing unisex pieces with edge, that are surprisingly wearable. Hachi Balmung started his label back in 2008 at the age of 21. He is known for making characteristically unique details on the sleeves of garments and on his pieces with ruffles. He also uses metallic materials, and cardboard, which I think is very creative! Besides constructing these amazing pieces, Balmung includes some simple t-shirts with digital prints in this new collection. It has been a while since Tokyo has offered a designer so young and promising. Balmung adds youth, creativity and innovation to an area in the industry dominated by fast trends and luxury brands. Balmung is a breath of fresh air in the Tokyo fashion scene.

Sadak by Sasa Kavacevic has been featured on NJAL before. I have had the honour of previewing his Autumn/Winter 11-12 collection, "Apokalypse", and it is absolutely breathtaking. This collection will be shown for the first time at Tokyo Fashion Week, March 23-24. Sadak is famous for creating his own patterns. He uses a lot of angles and Greek mythological creatures mixed with bright colours to create these signature prints. In this collection, he has used this technique to create something I have never seen before. Sadak has always been one of my favourite designers. I found out about him through NJAL more than a year ago and have been a fan ever since. As a long time supporter of the online shop at NJAL, I have collected quite a few amazing pieces. Sadak's red silk jacket from his collection 'LAPOT' remains one of my favourite pieces of all time. I really admire his creativity and will continue to support the individuality of designers like Sadak.

Another of my all-time favourite pieces is by Tomihiro Kono. This headpiece is just out of control. A gigantic black veil with crystals hanging from inside. Tomihiro Kono creates such amazing pieces. Their gigantic and exaggerated proportions give off a sense of twisted regality. It truly makes me delighted to see such amazing talent, so readily available on NJAL. The leather jackets from Orschel-Read's collection, 'DXII - S/S 2010 Bespoke' are another great example of this.

Lastly, Ascione's coat which was worn by Lady Gaga, is another one of my all-time favourites. There is a "Celebrities" section in NJAL which shows the celebrities who wear the pieces from the designers that NJAL carries. I think it is a brilliant idea because it shows how much exposure NJAL's designers are getting these days. I don't find myself fascinated by celebrities; I do care about the clothes a great amount. I love Ascione's. His amazing black layers of mixed fabrics create an empowering, yet graceful aesthetic. If I had never discovered the goldmine that is NJAL, I would have never found this amazing designer. I am always happy to share my thoughts and excitement about different, new designers. I cannot wait to discover more.”