The Bali-Indonesia based label BLEACH PROJECT founded in 2013 is already garnering attention on the international scene, what started as a local t-shirt design project is now a fully developed fashion label stocked in cities such as Bali, Jakarta, New York, Oslo, Hong Kong and Melbourne. For the latest issue of MMSCENE Magazine our fashion features editor KATARINA DJORIC seats down for an interview with label’s founder YASIR BAWAZIER to talk beginnings, Indonesia fashion scene, business and perseverance.
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When did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer?
From an early age, I started by sketching girls in dresses. The way I remember this, beside faded memories from my childhood, is because my grandma kept all my drawing pads since i was 3 years old.
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Are you self taught or did you study fashion design?
Mostly self thought, since I studied fashion management which taught us more about the business side. The idea of this was I know how to design, but I need to have every bit of knowledge on how to build my empire.
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
Social media, when I was growing up I had to go through numerous fashion magazines and books to learn about fashion or to see what’s out there. The abundance of information given by social media is limitless, I can’t get enough of art, fashion, people, places, sex, culture, it’s amazing how everything is on the palm of your hand.
Do you have a specific research process when you start a new collection?
I never start with a certain theme or a specific research period since basically my whole life is one giant research.
But I start by choosing fabrics that I want to use and work my way up to prints, colour, style, details, etc. the whole process happens organically and my mind usually works in certain direction without realizing that it forms a particular theme or story.
How has your work evolved since you began your own label?
Well, to be honest i started the label as an easy streetwear brand involving a lot of placement print for t-shirts and slogans tees by using only comfortable jersey materials for everyday wear.
But these days, we are evolved into a more gender fluid high fashion brand. And we do this by using expensive fabrics such as lace, neoprene, fake furs, textured jersey or the combinations of it all mixed with prints and fancy details, not to mention we introduce new styles/shapes that push boundaries or gender norms which we never did in the past.
What do you find inspiring about the design scene in Indonesia?
We are a rapidly expanding nation with massive cultural heritage. People in Indonesia are starting to be more receptive of new ideas and open to diversity and take design, fashion or art more seriously. It’s amazing to see these new talents emerging, who are daring enough to show their works which probably 10 years ago would not even see the light of day.
How do you balance creativity with commerce?
This has always been the hardest part, but every designer has to become a business person. Since the only way to continuously be creative is by selling our designs and that needs some serious business skills.
As you can see in my collections, I balance the ration of creative articles with intricate shapes or designs that are probably only good for press purposes and mix them with sellable pieces to keep the business running. So my mind is constantly working both ways hand in hand.
What is the most important lesson you have learned in your professional life?
Perseverance pays off, if you believe in your vision, everything else will fall into right place and time. No need to fear what could have been or what should have been, also always challenge yourself to the next level, once you start being comfortable in your life is when you stop living.
Who inspires you the most in fashion?
When I was growing up, I thought John Galliano during his Christian Dior period is to die for and I was also a huge fan of Alber Elbaz at Lanvin.
These days, I am more inspired by the style of Jaden Smith and how he marches to the beat of his own drum and personally his style embodies everything about our brand.
What is your moto?
‘Never say Never’ you’ll be surprised by the things you’re capable of, once you let go of your inhibitions.