This week, for our Humans of Brighton feature, we met up for a chat with Brighton-based couture fashion designer Ong Oaj Pairam.
Hi Ong! Can you tell us about how you got into the fashion industry?
Hello! I studied Fashion Design with Business Studies at The University of Brighton. Then I got a job at Proenza Schouler in New York during my placement year…I say ‘job’, it was actually an internship, but I got promoted while I was there. They liked me so I got an assistant’s job instead of being a normal intern. I was really lucky because it meant I got to see the whole process from designing, getting things made, fitting, going to shows – that made me really fall in love with it.
Who’s the most famous person that has worn your clothes?
Oh you want me to drop names? Maisie Williams, Eleanor Tomlinson, Cheryl, Elizabeth Hurley.
View this post on Instagram
Ong-Oaj Pairam Wardrobe No. 2. Natalie jumpsuit, fuchsia double crepe de chine featuring a lipstick tulle basket-weave detail cape. Photographer @planetdeacon Creative direction and styling @the_natbrewster Casting by @leilahartley Model @fannityfair @imgmodels Make-up by @emmawilliamsmakeup Hair by @mtjp333 Fashion assistant @styledbyfreya #ongtourage
Who would be your dream person to dress and why?
I think its in two different categories: actresses and singers. So, actresses, my dream dream dream dream actress to dress would be Cate Blanchett. I think she’d look great in my style of clothes, I love her in movies. She’s very versatile! My clothes are quite classic and grown up and I think she represents that. All her roles are quite classy – she’s beautiful, graceful, and seems really likeable as well. Like when you see her on the red carpet in interviews she seems really nice.
And singers…I’ve got two. I actually want Celine Dion and Taylor Swift! I grew up listening to Celine Dion and I love her, and Taylor Swift is just who I love listening to at the moment! Celine is my dream though….my heart would go on and on!
What inspired your latest collection?
All the women that are important in my life. I was thinking a lot about motherly love and how to express my love for these women. So it’s quite a personal collection. For example, one of the dresses is an interpretation of a pink carnation, which symbolises motherly love, into a gown.
The starting point, this will sound really strange, but it was actually the film ‘Dumbo’! The more I looked at the film, I realised it has a lot to do with love and friendship, love between a mother and child. That was the spark, then I started looking into the circus more and more. I started to think about the way in which the circus community is a kind of family. One of the dresses is named ‘Souris’ after the little mouse from the film, because he was the only one who believed in Dumbo at the start.
View this post on Instagram
Ong-Oaj Pairam Wardrobe No. 2. Boudicca gown, black silk crepe back satin quilted to create harlequin pattern, featuring draped off-white silk crepe back satin bows and sashes on shoulders. Photographer @planetdeacon Creative direction and styling @the_natbrewster Casting by @leilahartley Model @fannityfair @imgmodels Make-up by @emmawilliamsmakeup Hair by @mtjp333 Fashion assistant @styledbyfreya #ongtourage
Thanks for talking to us Ong! You can check out all the designs from his latest collection on his Instagram page – @ongoajpairamofficial