Amelia’s Magazine | Ong-Oaj Pairam: London Fashion Week S/S 2014 Preview Interview

ONG-OAJ PAIRAM S/S 2014 preview by Gaarte.

Thai born designer Ong-Oaj Pairam takes to the catwalk this season as part of Fashion Scout at the Freemasons’ Hall. Having trained with the likes of Proenza Schouler and Roland Mouret, he combines precise tailoring with an eye for decorative detail. I caught up with Ong-Oaj for an exclusive preview of the new collection.

Ong-Oaj Pairam Autumn:Winter 2013
Ong-Oaj Pairam A/W 2013.

You studied at Brighton University (so did I!) What is the best thing about the course these days?
I found the course really tough, and found I had a hard time just keeping my head down. The beauty of studying in Brighton is the ability to escape from it all when you need to switch off. You are surrounded by the beautiful countryside and the sea. The aftercare I have got from my tutors has been really valuable and they have been really supportive of me launching my own brand. The friends I made at uni are friends for life: many are taking the day of work for me and chipping in backstage to help with the show.

What three words best describe your style?
Confident, elegant, fun.
Ong-Oaj Pairam Autumn:Winter 2013
Ong-Oaj Pairam A/W 2013.

What did you learn from working at Proenza Schouler and Roland Mouret?
Proenza Schouler was only a small company when I started with them so I had to adapt very quickly to various roles. I would be pattern cutting, managing a runway show and running sales all in the same week. I was very lucky that Jack and Lazaro exposed me to everything. New York is also great place for people watching, and because I saw people making really brave yet sophisticated choices in what to wear it helped me develop my own style. Roland Mouret helped me refine my pattern cutting skills: he is a master at the body conscious dress. I learnt that simpler design is often harder to achieve yet just as impactful.
Ong-Oaj Pairam Spring Summer '14 Preview Collection by Rose Crees
Ong-Oaj Pairam S/S 2014 Preview by Rose Crees.

How have you translated the idea of Drew Barrymore’s character in ET into a fashion collection? It sounds most intriguing. 
Haha, inspiration comes in the most extraordinary forms. Gertie (Drew Barrymore’s character) inspired me in many ways. Initially I emulated her childish curiosity in the creative process, exaggerating what is exciting and removing all the usual rules. She’s one tough cookie, despite her age, and I admired her strength. Without giving too much away, there are lots of cues to her character in the collection, including fabric choices, patterns, colour and perspectives. (Although there’s no gingham cowgirl uniforms or cut out bed sheet in this collection… yet…)
Ong-Oaj Pairam A/W 2013 by Zoe Gotts
Ong-Oaj Pairam S/S 2014 preview by Zoe Gotts.

Why is it so important to you to print on British textiles, and where do you get this done?
We have so many skilled factories and teams in Britain and there is so much talent, yet it’s very easy to get work done overseas to save on cost. You miss out on a wealth of local talent, craft and inspiration if you save a few pennies by getting work done abroad. All the textiles in this collection were sourced and printed in Britain, and all my embroidery and my shoes have been manufactured here. It’s nice building a relationship with the companies and you learn so much more from the people. 
Ong-Oaj Pairam Autumn:Winter 2013
Ong-Oaj Pairam A/W 2013.

Embroidery was all done by Jenny King and her team, her studio is a five minute walk from my studio and she has a huge portfolio of spectacular embroidered pieces. My shoes were manufactured by Thomas Murphy, who is an incredible designer and has a small workshop in London. The textiles come from various factories, unfortunately they are mainly in Yorkshire so a bit too far for me to bribe them with cup-cakes. Printing is done through the Silk Bureau.
Ong-Oaj Pairam A/W 2013
Ong-Oaj Pairam A/W 2013.

How has your Thai heritage affected your approach to design? 
My Thai background has mainly affected my approach to business and my work ethic. My parents grew a successful (food) industry from nothing and inspired me to work very hard and achieve my dreams. Always start with the end in mind and keep focussed. They are also good at making sure I keep my business head on.

Categories ,A/W 2013, ,Brighton University, ,Drew Barrymore, ,ET, ,Fashion Scout, ,Freemasons’ Hall, ,Gaarte, ,Gabriel Ayala, ,Gertie, ,interview, ,Jenny King, ,lfw, ,London Fashion Week, ,Ong-Oaj Pairam, ,Pop PR, ,preview, ,Proenza Schouler, ,Roland Mouret, ,Rose Crees, ,S/S 2014, ,Silk Bureau, ,Thai, ,Thomas Murphy, ,Zoe Gotts

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