Now in his 6th year of business, Sean Suen is no longer excused with the graces one would reserve for an emerging brand. This particular point of time in a designer’s business is critical to determine whether they will break through the barrier or drop off the radar. In Sean Suen's case, it has to be said, he is a fighter.
The designer aptly named this SS ’19 collection "Escape, Hide, Fight." Shown in the gardens of a Saint Germain school, Suen showed us what he was really made of. "The inspiration is literally taken from the human needs and actions represented in the title "Escape, Hide, Fight," explains Suen. "This is shown in the collection through the ease and flexibility of some garments, as well as the idea of the clothing providing a shield for the body against the elements," he says.
“I tried to choose subtle tones that tie in with the theme and when combined, create bold contrast”
The runway started with an oversized wrap in army beige, followed by striped shorts suit and what can only be described as a boy scout's uniform made fashionable with a waxed checked top and beige shorts to the knee. If you have not guessed it already, utilitarian was a key theme, but it went deeper than that. Suen has mastered the ability to apply modernity to outerwear with his use of futuristic materials.
Part of the nouveau utilitarian effect can be put down to the fabric technologies that Suen has developed: stiff plaid nylons, patent cottons and paper textured linen. "Fabrics are chosen by hand and I start always from the feel," says Suen. "In this collection, I tried to choose subtle tones that tie in with the theme and when combined, create bold contrast without the need to be loud." Included in this reel were dropped shoulder jackets, tailored slouchy shorts and long sleeve robes which will no doubt be a sell out at retail level, thanks in part to their wearability.
The collection as a whole was the perfect colour melange. Starting the story with army beige, caramels, baby blues, olive greens, checked reds and blacks were mixed in. Suen also styled the collection himself with notable accessories: explorers hats, leather joggers, side-saddle bags and scarfs that tie at the neck.
The designer also managed to throw in a modern version of an army belt. Is Suen a fighter? That is up to the industry to decide.