Designer Menswear Clothing by Arj Selvam
Perth-based fashion designer, Arj Selvam took a moment to catch up for an exclusive interview with Australian Fashion Review. Check it out for an interesting read…
Q1) Who are the name/s behind the label? What is/are your backgrounds?
I was born in Sydney but raised in Perth. I recently completed honours degrees in Engineering and Commerce from The University of Western Australia and feel the six years I spent at university was the time I needed to truly decide what I wanted to do in my life. I have always had a strong interest and understanding in the ‘way things work’ and have had big dreams of working within the aerospace industry.
My interest in fashion has developed over the years through my surroundings and the people around me. Starting a business has always been at the back of my mind; it just took me those years studying at university to merge my interest and love for fashion with the business acumen and lateral thinking I developed.
Arj Selvam, is just that, me. I am responsible for all aspects of my eponymous label. I subcontract some areas of my work to maintain integrity and quality in my designs, and I work very closely with these people to ensure this.
Q2) When and where did the label all begin?
The label has been a couple of years in the making. I do not possess the blood, sweat and tears that most fashion designers would have prior to starting an eponymous label. I however possess it in a different vein.
Midway through my penultimate year I made the decision that a mundane office job within engineering or business was not me. In my final year (2008) whilst concurrently working on my honours thesis on a topic a million miles away from fashion or clothing design, I made steps towards starting something. Not necessarily an eponymous label at the time, but rather developing a skill-set on my own accord and self teachings which included research, fashion sketching, pattern making, sewing as well as short courses in jewellery making in order to create just one garment at least. I am no expert in any of those trades I mentioned, but I sub-consciously began sketching designs not knowing an eponymous label was in the making. At the start of this year (2009), with the help of a few people with considerably more experience than I have, I took steps towards making those ideas come to life.
So definitely not the typical education and experience of some of the more established designers that I admire, but if the traits they possess include a hard work ethic, passion, and rudimentary way of approaching a problem/idea/design is held in good stead in this business then I believe I can attest to that to some degree.
Q3) What do you hope to accomplish with your fashion label? What is the dream!?
I know there is a long way to go for me to achieve some of the goals I have in mind. I am in no rush whatsoever to financially gain from this. I just want to be creative, be able to create something tangible from scratch, to allow my ideas and concepts develop over time so that one day my philosophy as a designer will be transparent.
I am drawn to Japanese designers as well as some of the high-end, avant-garde designers presently making their mark in Europe. As a designer I want to base myself there one day, either through Arj Selvam the label or using it as a platform.
Womenswear is also on the back of my mind, but this is something I will only take on once I feel comfortable with my success within menswear. After all, the size of the women’s market opens up ten fold, so it is both lucrative and challenging.
Q4) If you could pick someone famous that best represents your labels style, who would it be? Alternatively, what famous person/s would you want wearing your label?
There is no one I would want to ‘force’ to wear my clothes for publicity or financial gain. I want the wearers of my clothing to believe in my vision, and choose to wear the garments on their own accord. I cannot control who wears my clothing, and I have no problem with this.
Q5) Who are your favourite fashion designers and what about them inspires you? What else inspires you?
There are many designers that inspire me. As I have immersed myself in the design of clothing these past two years, I find that I appreciate designers, designing for a more mature audience. Some designers that come to mind that have inspired me in some shape or form include: Carol Christian Poell, Rick Owens, Maurizio Altieri, Maurizio Amadei, Tatsuro Horikawa of Julius, Kazuyuki Kumagai of Attachment, Ann Demeulmeester, and Yohji Yamamoto.
I find that the direction that my label is taking follows clean lines, geometry, and the colours black and white. I am inspired by edgy, industrial feel that some of the designers I mentioned incorporate in their work and want to incorporate this into my work, of course with my own interpretation.
Q6) Complete the following sentence: OUr fashion label is unique because….
Our fashion label is unique because it seeks to strip back a garment to its purest form.