With a fine attention to detail and a technically proficient hand akin to those seen at the most luxurious high-end brands, one contemporary label is popping up on everyone’s radar.
Self-Portrait, established in 2013, is the brainchild of Malaysian designer Han Chong, formerly of Three Floor. The London-based company, already picked up by high-end retailers Bergdorf Goodman and Net-A-Porter, offers delicate and feminine designs at a beyond-fair price-point, with dresses currently ranging between $500-$600. Marking extra-special designs at especially affordable prices is just one of the many ways Self-Portrait stands out.
Mixing high-street with high-end, the designs of Self-Portrait are created with fabrics sourced mostly from Japan and South Korea, and boast intricate details using embroidered lace and sheer overlays. Heavily influenced by his aunt, a local artist in Malaysia, Chong was drawn to the creativity expressed in her paintings as a child, and the strong impression led him to attend art school before going on to study fashion at Central Saint Martins.
Take a look at any Self-Portrait collection and the influence of a once curious and artistic child is apparent immediately. Beautiful and thought-provoking, the clean lines play with ornate detail, resulting in looks that somehow make modern feel familiar, inviting the wearer to be the woman we all observe and admire from afar with an almost childlike wonder. There’s no mistaking the fact that this designer is a true visual artist, first and foremost.
The name Self-Portrait is a nod to the representation of the individual, a common occurrence found throughout art history, from the classics, to the current trend of “selfies” so prominent on social media today.
The celebration of the individual is exactly where Chong is at in this moment of his career. Opting to leave his partnership with Three Floor to branch out on his own, allowing him 100% creative control, the gamble is paying off, and with Self-Portrait’s Spring/Summer 2015 line boasting an impressive sell-through rate of 92%, there is definitely occasion to celebrate.
A consistent top-seller at Selfridges, Chong is definitely doing something right with his creation. The A-list favorite has been seen on both the red carpet, and out in the streets of New York on none other than the Queen Bee herself.
With a small team working between London and Hong Kong, Chong is building his company one collection at a time. Looking at expanding his growing operation unto U.S. markets is his top priority, however, he plans to develop slowly, keeping true to the ideals that have allowed him to stay true to his designs thus far. “I want to grow the brand as organically as possible. It’s easy to get carried away,” the artist recently stated in an interview with Business of Fashion.