PRISCILLA Tsu-Jyen Shunmugam is a KL-lite born and bred here in Malaysia before going off to Singapore to start fashion label Ong Shunmugam. And you guessed it, her mouthful of a name points towards her Chinese and Indian descent!
Named after her parents, Priscilla’s label isn’t like most others. It’s more of a one-of-a-kind lifelong art project which breathes new life to Asian traditional womenswear, best known for some stunning Cheongsams.
Ong Shunmugam incorporates a myriad of identities — not just Chinese — to piece together looks intertwining motifs from batik with Asian silhouettes like the kimono and the saree. Within Priscilla’s vision, these cultural garments are re-interpreted for the modern woman’s wardrobe.
Don’t be mistaken, this isn’t an East-meets-West line. Ong Shunmugam firmly works with the Asian identity in its designs. From textile choices to the tiniest of embellishments, the label is devoted to sourcing its ingredients from this region.
Take for instance that Priscilla buys her mandarin buttons from a shop here that has been struggling to survive for 50 years. In an interview with Poskod.SG, she confesses to deriving pleasure from finding and cleaning dust off vintage haberdashery upon encountering them at smaller, more established stores.
But now comes the part we blow you away with her achievements: did you know that she’s made it all the way to Spring/Summer Paris Fashion Week, Coterie Trade Show and Audi Fashion Festival? Ong Shunmugam was also the youngest Singaporean homegrown label at Coterie and Audi’s events.
The label was also featured at the National Museum of Singapore‘s In the Mood for Cheongsam exhibition, under the patronage of the Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong himself.
Priscilla also won the Design For Asia Award 2013, Her World Young Woman Achiever 2015 and Life Inspired Tastemaker Award for her work with Ong Shunmugam. This on top of the fact that the law-graduate-turned-fashion-designer also received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from the National University of Singapore‘s, becoming the first person from the fashion industry to do so!
Get excited, ladies. We hear she has plans to enter the Malaysian market very soon. From here on out, her designs will do the rest of the talking.