Global fashion label Justin Cassin, has launched into the Australian market and grabbed the attention of movers and shakers everywhere. Currently stocked in China, Taiwan, France and the Neverlands, their recent showcase at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Sydney saw an attendance of 520 fashion lovers with 90 celebrity guests (the largest show during 2019 MBFWA). We caught up with the designer to discuss his most memorable moment and what's next for the label.
Congratulations on launching into the Australian market and having such a successful runway event at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia. What has encouraged you to expand your current market and reach a new demographic?
JC: There are not a lot of menswear brands in Australia, you only need to look at the roster for each year’s fashion week to see this. In addition to giving the Australian market a new option, I also wanted to bring something new to the table for the Australian menswear industry. A lot of decisions I make are based on the fact that overtime, I feel the need to constantly challenge and push myself out of the comfort zone. You can never allow yourself to become too comfortable. Not to mention I always wanted to bring my label back home. Whilst I am based overseas and have not lived in Australia for more than a month for a long time, I still feel a sense of attachment to it.
How do you view the Australian fashion scene compared to the rest of the world? Australia’s fashion scene is very interesting. Similar to its demographic and culture, its fashion scene is also like a melting pot. Whenever I visit, I see influences from the United States down to South Korea. Another thing is that the Australian consumers are very smart – they are not brand conscious at all. It is all about whether they like the design, if it is good quality and reasonably priced.
How did your journey in fashion begin?
JC: My journey in fashion started when I was in college; I studied fashion in the United States and naturally I began working in various labels after graduation. I always knew I wanted my own label, but I am also a firm believer that it is crucial to learn as much as I can and gain as many experienced as I can before I challenge myself further by starting my own brand. What I learnt when I was working for other designers in the beginning of my career was that you want to be completely confident and ready when you officially branch out. You are putting your own name on the brand, so everything has to be right from the very beginning.
Who is the Justin Cassin man?
JC: The Justin Cassin man is someone who embodies relaxed and laid-back sophistication. Most importantly, it is someone who is up for the adventure, not afraid to enjoy life, lay back and have fun once in a while.
Can you tell me about your new collection that is set to launch in the coming weeks?
JC: I suppose a good way to put it is that each collection reflects my life and travels in the past six months to one year. I am primarily based in Los Angeles, New York and Hong Kong but in the past few months I had to travel extensively in Asia so the new upcoming collection will definitely reflect this. Without going into too many details, expect a lot of attitude, layers and different textures.
What has been the most memorable moment of your label’s journey so far?
JC: The best memorable moment would be our shows during Fashion Week. It takes a long time to finalise a collection – from the initial sketch to the last-minute changes right before the show. When everything finally all come together, and you see people in the audience nodding to an outfit and having fun, it is a real sense of accomplishment. Having said all that, I think the most memorable moment is yet to happen.
What is your secret to creating such a successful fashion empire?
JC: I believe the secret is to be accessible but retain a degree of innovation. When people wear my designs, I want them to feel comfortable in their own skin yet confident. It is not my intention to become a fashion designer exclusively for a specific audience. Of course, I have my own signature style and the brand will also reflect this but I want people to eventually be able to immediately identify Justin Cassin as a certain image and way of life but never strictly just that one particular style or garment.
Also, I think it is important to be open-minded when it comes to designing. I am not really interested in seeking inspiration solely from the fashion industry; I look to my travels, different cultures, music, technology and everything in-between around me for influences. The fashion industry has a lot more in common with other industries than a lot of us know about. For example, the fashion industry is very fast paced but so is the technological industry. As a result, when I think of fashion, I don’t think of just clothes and vice versa.
What’s next for you?
JC: In going forward, I will be focused on building the brand further by defining further what underpins the ‘Justin Cassin man’. In my mind, I have a specific vision for what the brand will ultimately become and stand for so I am taking it step by step. In the next twenty-four months we will be increasing our activities in Asia and various parts of Europe.
Our 2019 Resort collection and show attracted a lot of attention overseas so we are reviewing our options carefully because it is a very important time. We are already stocked overseas and the next step will be doing shows which I am very excited about. Each garment has a story but the story won’t tell itself if they are just inanimately sitting there on a shelf. I can’t wait to show everyone else the entire brand and what it stands for.