Words by Katie Farley

MAX.TAN is an awe-inspiring dichotomy of contemporary excellence with an avant-garde aesthetic and artistic edge that instantly captures an onlookers gaze. An emerging fashion label who has been flying the Singapore flag since their inception back in 2010, MAX.TAN can be identified by their Asian inspired cuts that are frequently fashioned in their signature monochrome and striking geometric characteristics that are worn by women and admired by men. With a noticeable androgynous vibe that marries with soft geometry, the brand thrives on playing with memorable lines and developing straightforward concepts, resulting in the label illustrating silhouettes that conceal the body of the wearer and conjure up a fresh form altogether.

“I grew up under the influence of my seamstress mum” explains the brand’s creative director, “therefore, I was exposed to garment making even before I knew what fashion really was. Fashion was then a natural path for me. I started the label in Spring 2010 under a government program to raise the profile of Singaporean designers back then.”

In 2010, MAX.TAN was invited to exhibit in Amsterdam at Modefabriek, transpiring as the original Asian-based brand ever to do so. Debuting in Amsterdam, the label’s Autumn/Winter 2010-11 collection was furthermore promoted by Vogue Paris online as well as achieving the 2010 China Fashion Creation Contest. Vogue Nippon picked up the designer’s following Spring/Summer 2011 collection, with MAX.TAN additionally receiving the accolade of being called one of the hottest new names to look out for in fashion.

“Serious but never severe, minimal but never simple, fragile but never weak” is the mindful statement that appears on the MAX.TAN website, which, even without images, provides a tangible aesthetic that anyone would desire to dress in. MAX.TAN pioneers an unconventional albeit quiet fashion lifestyle, the label encourages free spirits who dress to please no one but themselves. Developing different cuts and escalating on particularly simple notions is what collectively delineate the MAX.TAN language.

Exploiting on minimalistic concepts, each of the designer’s sartorial offerings arouses a world of serenity nuanced with a rebellious zeitgeist. Overriding elements of masculinity and femininity are unapologetically addressed amongst every collection. Creatively enhanced with a dose of contemporary art, MAX.TAN’s looks experiment with a cohesion comprising of volume, modified shapes and use, oversized, undersized, deconstruction, reconstruction, and transformation. These collective dynamics shape the first chromosome of the label.

So what differentiates MAX.TAN from other upcoming designers? – “A lot of press and buyers have said that the design approach is very Asian but cannot seem to put a finger to which part of Asia it is” explains the creative director. “I guess being based in a cultural melting pot such as Singapore has allowed me to fused and work seamlessly between references be it East or West. At the same time, I think this is what makes my work different from others.”

Despite not being in the fashion circuit for long, the designer continues to evolve his aesthetic. “In my earlier works, I exercise an Asian perspective and cut on stereotype Western-style garments by deconstructing and reconstructing them. More recently, I have flipped the process around; updating traditional Asian garments with a contemporary twist.” MAX.TAN’s current Fall/Winter 2018-19 womenswear line entitled “’IDOLS” radiates a beautiful nonetheless dramatically haunting feel that is abundant with long draping’s, unusual textures and has an edgy, ethereal feel that is wonderfully enchanting. “I love the spray paint ombre effect on some of the garments” explains the designer, “along with the reworked sarong pants in voile, elongated Chinese opera sleeves on wool voile tops.” For understated fashion magic, look no further than MAX.TAN.

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