A True Star Creation

On 13 May, a Star was born.

Haziq Putra, who recently graduated from the School of Design with a Diploma in Apparel Design & Merchandising (ADM), took one of the top three spots at Audi’s Star Creation competition and bagged the Audi Young Designer Award.

That’s $10,000 per award, an internship with F J Benjamin (fashion retailer behind brands like Givenchy, Céline, Raoul and Gap) and a showcase of his work for next year’s Star Creation.

We’ll let that sink in for a while.

“It’s rare that someone bags two awards at the Star Creation,” lecturer Jay Quek proudly told us. This prestigious competition seeks to uncover Asian talents and grant them the opportunity to launch their fashion careers. Jay was the lecturer in Haziq’s major project class. In fact, Singapore had two representatives to Star Creation – Haziq and Felix – and both of them were from Jay’s class.

It’s very easy to identify students from ADM on campus. Most students will attest to it. They’re usually better – and more expressively – dressed and groomed than other students, even their other Design counterparts. Felix is a classic example of this, with his bright blonde shoulder length hair.

Participating in Star Creation was no mean feat. Both students not just had to work on the competition, but also juggle with their Major Projects as well (their final project before graduating). Time management was key, remarked Haziq, who was in school seven days a week to finish his work.

Of his win, Haziq said it was an out-of-this-world (and awesome) experience. “It shows that my works are appreciated. I think that’s the best gift any designer could ask for.” So what exactly about Haziq’s creation won the hearts of the judges?

His was a menswear collection, inspired by a trip he took to Kelantan, Malaysia. There, he was drawn by the Kelantanese spirit of determination and their simple way of living – a contrasting quirk of the Kelantan lifestyle that gave him ideas.

“I have used two of Kelantan’s trademarks: the wau bulan (a giant kite flown by men) and the ikan pari (stingray) to represent my ideas. One thing they have in common is that both the kite and stingray face resistance in their movement: in the air for the kite and underwater for the stingray. Yet despite these external forces, they continue to propel forward.

This reminded me of the carefree life the people of Kelantan had in the kampung, matched with a spirit of determination to provide a better life for their future generations. I am inspired by this paradox, and wanted to portray a well- balanced life through this concept.”

That Haziq was one of the winners was nothing short of remarkable. According to Audi, there were picked a record 355 entries from 16 countries this year – that is more than five times the number received in the competition’s inaugural year in 2010. Besides Singapore, countries like China, Japan and Korea were represented.

Jay had nothing but praise for his students. “Both of them have always struck me as highly independent. They know what they want, and consulted me only to see how they can improve their designs,” he says. “They had solutions in mind already and kept refining their ideas.”

While there were many parts to the competition (the finalists, for example, were quizzed on how their collections were commercially viability), but ultimately it was the runway where fashion first comes to life. And it was here that Haziq’s Kelantan-inspired designs shone like a star.

He also appears to have learnt something himself.

“I have came to realize that we should step back and appreciate the little things that life has to offer, but also go all out to chase our dreams.”

So what does he plan to do with the money?

“Save and invest in my own label!”

We look forward to that day, Haziq.

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