In this issue of ASIAN VOICE, we feature JOE CHIA, a brand from Malaysia. JOE CHIA takes inspiration from various normal people in daily life. A person who mows the lawn, delivers parcels, works at a restaurant etc. It’s all about being present. The design of JOE CHIA reminds of us not forgetting to experience, observe and enjoy the real life.
Nana: Could you give us an introduction about JOE CHIA?
JOE CHIA：JOE CHIA focuses on creating garments that people truly need in their daily life. Purposeful, thoughtfully constructed garments that stand the test of time with great emphasis on
functionality, cuts and fabrics. Themes and emotions woven through are often a reflection of our
surroundings. JOE CHIA produces by reexamining the past, reinterpreting within the present,
and recreating for the future.
Nana:Why did you initially create the brand and name it “JOE CHIA”?
JOE CHIA: The brand started from wanting to create garments I would like and wear myself. I started to
draft, cut and sew garments by myself when I was working in a local boutique, creating garments that are meant to be worn in various ways with exceptional cuts, functional yet timeless.
Naming the brand “JOE CHIA” was never our main intention, it was simply a beautiful accident
from garments that I’ve labeled my name over as a fresh graduate that has now grown into a
shared spirit, vision and belief.
Nana: What has influenced the creation of the brand and the pieces designed for your brand?
JOE CHIA: We are often inspired by the everyday man, who often plays various roles in our society. From the simplest conversations in a coffee shop and how they perceive the world. The things that
often seem mundane are the things we draw inspiration from – the needs, the surroundings of a
person who mows the lawn, delivers parcels , works at a restaurant. These are the ideas we aspire to reflect and deliver through our designs.
Nana: Can you tell us about some of the most challenging experiences you have had during the process of building your brand?
JOE CHIA: Every single day is a challenge for us especially coming from a design background, and from Malaysia where fashion is not a primary industry, there are many limitations in terms of resources from sourcing, production etc. One of the toughest challenges for us throughout was to constantly produce work and product at the highest level, whilst navigating through the pandemic.
It takes a village of skilled and passionate people to grow a healthy and progressive label. We are glad that we have always managed to face our challenges head on and are grateful to excel them in our own way throughout the years.
Nana: How do you come up and decide on the themes for your collections?
JOE CHIA: Every chapter is a continuation of the previous chapter, our garments often evolve along our surroundings and needs as a person as we grow. We would always start creating by
reexamining past pieces/collections and think of ways to develop future pieces with new ideas
and details that we’d like to incorporate or enhance.
Nana: Is it possible to let readers know a little about your next drop (collection)? If so, what has inspired the theme and the pieces in them?
JOE CHIA: Our latest collection Chapter 19 , Fall Winter 2022 is a juxtaposition between hope and despair, a reflection of the uncertainty of our world today and how we should unite as one moving
Nana: Is there a particular artist, movie, place, book that you would recommend our readers to check for inspiration?
JOE CHIA: Inspiration often comes from various abstract thoughts and ideas, music tends to play a huge role in our daily processes. We’ve also recently discovered @earfeeder on instagram which everyone should have a look at.
We have spent more of our time being at home, or the studio and for the recent chapters we’ve taken the opportunity to capture our surroundings at this period of time and to have those elements reflected on our garments. Sometimes the things that are most inspiring can occur anytime and anywhere in our daily lives.
JOE CHIA: Be true to yourself and strive to be a better version of yourself everyday.
Nana: Do you have any advice for our readers who are seeking to find a way to build an innovative brand like “JOE CHIA”?
JOE CHIA: There isn’t ‘one’ go to direction or roadmap on how a brand should operate, every single niche has its own strength – as long as you are able to identify and reach your audience with your
products. Have faith in your own vision and keep grinding – be nice, grounded and work hard.
Be true to yourself and strive to be a better version of yourself everyday.JOE CHIA