In July of this year, Vogue Singapore, in partnership with Charles & Keith, unveiled the Vogue Talent Prize 2021. Conceptualised with the intention of spotlighting young local creatives, five exemplary applicants were shortlisted from an initial round of submissions by a team of judges from Charles & Keith and Vogue Singapore.
Each shortlisted finalist was then tasked with the challenge of creating a brand campaign for Charles & Keith. The homegrown fashion institution turns 25 this year; along the way, it has become an internationally-lauded name with overseas boutiques and top models like Xiao Wen Ju fronting its campaigns.
Utilising products from the brand’s fall/winter collection, the winning creative and campaign will stand a chance to win $2,000 in Charles & Keith vouchers plus an internship at Vogue Singapore and Charles & Keith.
Now, here’s where things get extra exciting—you get to a have a say in who wins the inaugural run of the Vogue Talent Prize. Here, we’ve rounded up the five creatives, their one-of-a-kind Charles & Keith brand campaigns, as well as the inspiration behind them. Have a gander, scroll to the end to cast your vote and have your voice be heard—because we’re listening.
1. Samantha Lek, 23
To NUS sociology major Samantha Lek, collaging has been a way to express her personal values and interests—from human rights to music. Lek describes it as a medium that knows no boundaries: “Collaging is all about experimenting with different styles. These factors align with what I believe fashion should be, a way for individuals to express their personality and an empowering tool.”
She adds, “Collaging allowed me to build this abstract and surreal world that I had in mind for the campaign.” A series of three digital collages, ‘Infinitesimal/Paramount’ is about the duality of the larger-than-life and all-consuming attributes of fashion.
A cinema buff at heart, Lek looked to sci-fi films such as The Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, combining abstract and realistic elements around Singaporean landmarks. “I wanted elements of Singapore to be part of the collages. After all, Charles and Keith is a local brand that has gone on to make it big internationally. Singapore has also been labelled often as the ‘city of the future’, which can be seen as a science-fiction term. Classic science-fiction films have amazing fashion and I wanted to pay tribute to that as well.”
2. Hung Wan-Ting, 21
Paper dolls have always been of significance to Raffles Design Institute student Hung Wan-Ting, whose mother used to style them with her. Armed with a penchant for bringing together old and new worlds, Hung has since discovered an affinity for incorporating them into stop motion videos. “I wanted to use this playful medium to present Charles & Keith’s products and also evoke memories.”
For her campaign submission, Hung created a 41-second stop motion video that emulates our daily Instagram use. It also sees a playful iteration of Charles & Keith pieces as part of pretty paper ensembles, akin to childhood dress-up games.
Taking cues from the increased societal pressures that can often stem from social media, Hung was inspired by the concept of internal beauty, a discourse often heavily debated in the sphere of fashion. “My video was created in the hopes that when customers see it, they are reminded that beauty comes from within.”
3. Cherie Ng, 22
You can only truly relish a pair of shoes by wearing them. But in the case of London College of Fashion Fashion Marketing undergraduate Cherie Ng, sketching your favourite pair of heels comes in a close second. “I chose illustration as a medium as during this pandemic I managed to reconnect with my hobbies,” shares Ng.
With Charles & Keith’s key items such as the Zadie bag and Lucile shoe line featuring soft, padded silhouettes, Ng looked to highlight the warmth and comfort of the pieces with a series of two dynamic sketches of the fall/winter 2021 footwear pieces. “By illustrating the shoe in its various forms, I want to show the beautiful design and contours of it from different angles, and really make it the focus of the campaign.”
The focus, adds Ng, isn’t purely on the final product. It also gives viewers insight into the beginning stages of a design. “I thought that by illustrating, I could give the customer the view of the shoe when it was still on the drawing board.”
4. Ishan Singh, 20
For Ishan Singh, “Photos help capture a moment in time and through composites, you’re able to inject emotion and personality into the scene.” This led the final year business management student at Singapore Management University to experiment with different forms of visual communication. “Visual storytelling is a whole new world for me. I have experience with writing but I knew I’d need to incorporate visual elements to create an effective campaign.”
Shining light on what Singh calls “inherently unique qualities” of a homegrown brand, his campaign, ‘Only On These Shores’ is a series of four images that dabble between monochrome and colour, with the sun and the moon as repeated motifs. “You see Charles & Keith models pictured against quintessential backdrops—Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, Arab Street, and Fort Canning—as a showcase of the vibrant landscape and culture which has helped shape the brand over the years,” he explains.
The composites also play a part in highlighting the versatility of the brand’s products in a way that fits seamlessly into day-to-day life—whether on the way to work or on a leisurely stroll. Elaborates Singh: “This campaign was designed to explore the close ties which will forever bond Charles & Keith and Singapore, even as the brand continues to grow globally. ”
5. Jiajia Tan, 30
As Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology undergraduate Jiajia Tan puts it, photography is a means of creating an emotional connection. “A still image stops time and allows the viewer to pause, reflect and revisit a moment. I wanted to capture that beauty and synergy through photography.”
‘Strength in Duality’ is a series of three photographs aimed at sparking conversations about empowerment and gender roles in clothing through the use of composition. “It is a play of contrast between structure, fluidity, femininity and masculinity,” Tan shares.
Using Charles & Keith’s fall/winter 2021 products as a jump-off point, Tan was particularly inspired by the boxy and sculptural elements of each piece. “The campaign stemmed from the idea of empowered women. I wanted to show the versatility of Charles & Keith’s products by juxtaposing two different personas that are unafraid to challenge societal norms. Everyone should be unafraid to be who they are and wear whatever they want,” she explains.
Credits for ‘Strength in Duality’
Photographer Jiajia Tan
Stylist Hiro Ye
Hair Christvian Wu
Make-up Zoel Tee
Outfits 3 Eighth, Gin Lee, Sabrina Goh
Models Aloysius Chua and Yi Wen / Now Model Management
Assistance Alvin Quek, Joel Chua and Boon Xin
Here’s how to vote
[Updated on 18 October 2021] Voting has now ended. We will be revealing the winner in an upcoming article, stay tuned to find out more.
Photography Sayher Heffernan
Styling Jasmine Ashvinkumar
Hair and make-up Sha Shamsi using Chanel Beauty and Keune
Hair and make-up assistant Noor Faseha