It’s easy to get confused amidst the various platforms supporting regional, independent fashion that simultaneously showcase at AFX each year. It’s of course a welcome problem, but still confusing, no less.

Future Fashion Now (FFN) is essentially Asia’s first pre-order website, which curates a selection of the latest and most promising designer labels, created in collaboration with MasterCard Worldwide last year in May. It’s a platform that allows consumers to pre-order the latest runway designs online, and have them custom-produced for delivery before the next season arrives in stores; as it gives emerging designers a sustained market in which to feature creations and raise profiles.

This year, in collaboration with Parco Japan, Future Fashion Now presented what’s in store from Japanese designer, Jun Okamoto, alongside homegrown talent, Ong Shunmugam, on the Audi Fashion Festival 2013 runway.

JUN OKAMOTO (JAPAN)

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An up and comer in Tokyo’s designer scene, Jun Okamoto was flown down to represent Parco Japan with a combined showcase featuring his Spring/Summer 2013 and Autumn/Winter 2013 collections – ‘Flowers, Balloons and a Man Who Brings Rain’ and ‘A Sweet Breakfast For Her Who Dislikes Coffee’.

Both collections were inspired by short stories Okamoto wrote; each poetic, fragile and melancholic, the essence from which he reflects visually onto his clothes. His look book in turn, is a creative translation of the protagonists’ love interest.

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While it’s hard to digest such heavy context on a collection so softly structured, it’s undoubtedly executed with intent that’s matched by technique. What stands out most are the menswear looks, which take on subtle feminine motifs within very apathetic lines – raising about complexity to an otherwise, ordinary RTW collection.

ONG SHUNMUGAM (SINGAPORE)

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We first got acquainted with Ong Shunmugam at last year’s Blueprint, a contemporary womenswear label that had been making waves for its very original take on the cheongsam. This season sees Priscilla Shunmugam truly come into her own as a designer, honing her strengths to craft a strong signature aesthetic for her brand.

Titled ‘Whenever I Fall at Your Feet’, Ong Shunmugam’s Autumn/Winter 2013 collection takes shape from Singapore’s cityscape, and veers away from restructuring Asian ethnic costumes. What Priscilla builds on instead, is a delicate combination of mixed textiles and print, structured in modern shapes sporting touches of Asian influence.

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The result is a new, evolved perspective for the modern Asian woman, and her options in ready to wear. What I definitely appreciated most, was Priscilla’s further understanding of feminine curves, and her addressing to its many forms. Her departure from the traditional Asian dress marks the starting point for many great things to come for the label. I’d keep an eye out for this one if I were you.

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Image credit: Jonathan Liu