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Mad About Hats

Malaysian milliner Bremen Wong                   
photo: bremen wong

There are not many who are like Bremen Wong in the world of fashion. Fearless, extremely artistic and super down-to-earth — this Sabah-born milliner has continued to fascinate not only the local audience but an international one with his bewildering and avant-garde headpieces.
Style: Malaysia steals a chat with this milliner on what moves him in creating his wearable works of art.
Tell us about your upcoming exhibition.
The exhibition is entitled Headdress : Beauty and Power and it will be launched on Tuesday, April 26, 2016 at Gallery Ratna Sari, National Textile Museum. The exhibition is being hosted at Saindera Gallery located at National Textile Museum.

How did the partnership with National Textile Museum Malaysia happen?
The museum has been in touch with me since the time they invited me to present the Talk & Show event in support of cancer patients and volunteer workers. Besides that, I have given a craft workshop under the museum program called The Carnival Textile in 2011. The latest partnership is this 2016 exhibition in which my collection is loaned by the museum for an exhibition called Headdress : Beauty and Power.

How long will the exhibition be held for?
After the opening ceremony on April 26, 2016, the exhibition will be open to public from April 27, 2016 till February 25, 2017.

 photo: bremen wong

How did you become a milliner?
My journey began at a neighbourhood bazaar where I sold headbands and T-shirts that I had designed. The headbands were sought after by customers and a big success, but my collection of sequinned T-shirts was a flop. After that, I decided to focus on creating a bigger range of head accessories.
With that, I started my own brand, Fabu-love, and under that label I retailed my designs at flea markets and bazaars. It wasn’t easy at times and I had to resort to price-slashing to get rid of my stock. In time, I realised it wasn’t very profitable and I made the move to exit the bazaar scene and enter the runway scene with an invitation by Stylo International Grand Prix in 2009. I also dabbled in a minor collaboration with Alexandrea Yeo, Project Runway Malaysia’s first runner-up. I can safely say that these timely opportunities marked my entrance into the millinery industry. Before that, I didn’t even know of the term.

What inspires you creatively?
My headpieces are inspired by humanity and spirituality. And they are also related to religion, race and reality. I derive much from my surrounding energy and channel those emotions to design and make headgear or head accessories. The metaphysical is a big part of my life as I practise Buddhism, but having said that, all religions inspire me with their inherent goodness.
My heart is what drives me to create, which is what I believe is the best way of approaching anything. I believe one just needs to put in one’s best effort and not expect results, and in doing your best, things will just fall into place. Aside from that, life and family also inspire me.

Who is your favourite milliner?
Of course, it is Philip Treacy and Stephen Jones, milliners from the UK .

photo: bremen wong

Headdress : Beauty and Power Exhibition will be open to public from April 27, 2016 till February 25, 2017 at Saindera Gallery, National Textile Museum located at 26, Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur.

by: Tan Siok Hoon