Since 2014 Justin Chew has been steadily building his repertoire and standing in KL as one of the most innovative and unique designers in the scene. Learn more about him from today’s Featured Interview!
1. Hi Justin! Can you please tell us more about yourself?
I’m 27 this year born and based in Malaysia, I began my foray into fashion by attending Raffles College of Higher Education in Kuala Lumpur. In 2010, I showcased my first collection at MIFA 2010. The following year, I emerged as a finalist in MIFA 2011 Kronenbourg Who’s Next competition through an expansion of my debut collection. In 2013, Justin Chew Basic Label (which has now been rebranded as JNTC by Justin Chew) was launched alongside my new start-up store, THISAPPEAR. I launched my first ready-to-wear Fall/Winter 2014 collection at Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week 2014.
2. What inspired you to start your own clothing line?
I choose to become a fashion designer because I really in to drawing and painting. Since young, I’m into clothes more than toys, and during high school I bought my first I-D fashion magazine. This was where I slowly get into clothing and design.
3. Any challenges you faced when you first start JTNC, and how did you overcome them?
The starting point was perhaps the hardest and most challenging because I was doing this all by myself and I had zero knowledge about business, so I got cheated by a China clothing production house. But I’m glad that i manage to go through it, I gained my knowledge and built connections at every steps I made.
4. What keeps you going when the going gets tough?
AI’ll give myself a break in order to keep myself silent just so to clear off my mind. Then I’ll continue fighting on from it.
5. If you could collaborate with anyone or any brands, who would it be?
I’m always in love with Nike, so I hope that one day we can collaborate to create a pair of shoes of our own.
6. Where do you usually get inspirations for your designs?
Inspiration is everywhere for me, but what inspires me the most is hip-hop culture. Once I get inspiration, I always start planning and design on graphics first before deciding what garment will be match with the graphics.
7. What makes JTNC unique compared to other streetwear brands?
In comparison to other streetwear brands, we place design and creativity before business, which is why we make sure that every JTNC’s new collection is something fresh and new to our audiences. Our designs are unique and it comes in limited quantity and we will not restock once it’s sold out
8. Share with us an achievement that you are most proud of.
JTNC currently still in the process of growing, so we still need some time to get an achievement that we are proud of.
9. Among all the JTNC collection, which piece is your favorite, and why?
The football jersey is my personal favorite piece. Since young I love football and always wanted to design a football jersey. This is also my first time designing a football jersey with my favorite pattern and prints.
10. What’s next for JTNC?
We’re planning to go to Milan for a trade show so hopefully we can make it happen in January 2019.
11. Any advice for young fashion designers who wants to start their own clothing line?
Be yourself. Go all out as long you think that what you’re dong is right and makes you happy. Sometimes bad things happen for a reason; it serves as a lesson for us not to repeat the same mistake.