updated 2 Sep 2011, 15:32
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Fri, Jun 17, 2011
The New Paper
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Passion for fashion design
by Kenneth Phoon

HE HAD chosen to study in the Science stream because he had ambitions of being an industrial designer.

But his choice of co-curricular activity (CCA) may now lead him down a vastly different career path - as a fashion designer.

Clement Kweh, 17, is the chairman for Raffles Institution's fashion design CCA - believed to be the only one of its kind in schools here.

Called Raffles Runway, the CCA aims to promote the work of budding fashion designers from the school community.

Why join the club?

Clement said he had always been curious about fashion design.

He said that back in secondary school, he was part of a multimedia club designing posters and websites for competitions, but "wanted to try something different in JC". 

The club recently organised R Project, an annual fashion event where they invite students and alumni to showcase their works.

This year's event, titled CÆLUM, raised more than $4,000 for the Japanese disaster relief. The event - held at The Gallery at Old School in Mount Sophia on May 28 and 29 - showcased 71 designs to an audience of 737 people, including guest-of-honour Dr Georgia Lee, founder of DrGL skincare and a plastic surgeon.

R Project, which is into its sixth year, first began as a Community Involvement Project (CIP) in 2006 to promote the work of budding fashion designers from the school community and to allow them to give back to the community by raising funds for worthy causes.

Last year, the CIP felt that the event could be an even bigger success if it was run by a CCA group.

This led to the birth of Raffles Runway.

Clement, who took over as chairman for the CCA in May last year, said the club was a good way to allow budding fashion designers to hone their craft.

"Preparation for this year's show started as early as last December.

"With the school's support, we have been able to receive better funding for training resources and equipment such as mannequins. This raised the quality of our show."

The CCA now has 27 members, of which only four are boys.


Teacher-in-charge Cordelia Fernandez said that staff, students and parents embraced the idea when students first proposed to have the CCA.

"At the very most, some eyebrows have been raised over our budget, but we cover our costs through ticket sales, sales of our photobook, through some very generous sponsorship and still have money left over which gets donated to a worthy cause," she said.

Clement also said that "Are you a model?" was the most common response whenever he told people about his CCA.

Amused, he said there was a common misconception that fashion design was all about modelling. He said: "Hopefully as the CCA grows, fashion designers will gain greater recognition for their work."

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This article was first published in The New Paper.

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