Meet Alvi Chung
, the Sydney-based designer behind the innovative fashion label Speed
. One look at Alvi’s work and you see the years of curation and exploration that progressed the label forward to the meticulously crafted collection we see today. Alvi oozes individuality and is undoubtedly original in her personal style and creative expression. This is a testimony to the sophisticated breadth of influences she references in the creation of her work. We were thrilled to take a deeper dive into the mind of Alvi Chung and asked her about her start in the fashion industry, what she has learned along the way, and where she wants to take the label going forward. Alvi also filled us in on her favourite garments, the media she consumes, and her approach to personal style.
Tell us about your label Speed, what does it mean to you and what have you learnt since starting it?
It took me ten years to muster the courage to start my brand Speed. The beauty of my label was that it organically grew in popularity through word of mouth & local clients opposed to the instagram clout that many brands these days rely upon. In fashion school, we were taught a specific formula on how to start a brand, however I felt that the purpose of my brand was to release special items naturally, without the pressure of churning out a collection.
Since I have started my label I have learnt that you don't need to go by the book in order to achieve success. I don't even have a proper website at the moment, however through the mystery and vision displayed, business is constant & increasing.
How did you first get interested in fashion design, and how has it affected your relationship with your clothing? How has it changed your life?
Ever since I was a child, my sister and I would make paper dolls and hold our own runway shows. Clothing has always attracted us because it was the only way that we could express ourselves.
It was always about the satisfaction of a creation coming to life. To this very day, creating something beautiful and my vision of Speed is the only thing that truly gets me out of bed, apart from my other love – FOOD!!.
How have and do your personal values shaped your own work?
In every way possible. My vision is to empower whoever wears my garments. The garments have a rebellious and brutal nature, yet it is still clean cut so you can wear it to work or wear it to a rave.
I have always enjoyed Dystopian literature, Tarantino heroines and articles in concern for fast fashion. For this reason the motifs & silhouettes you see in my garments originate from these influences.
What are some visual references that influence both your work and style?
Brutalist architecture film photos and mood portraits by photographer Alien Wang.
If you could work collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
Electronic Music is a huge love of mine, so I would love to collaborate with more electronic producers. Techno and dub techno are just one of my favourite genres. It's a hard question, but if I had to choose one artist, it will be the French techno artist called Anetha. I love the energy she creates during her sets and you can see that she is truly passionate about music.
What do you think about the idea of “trends”? Do you pay attention to them or just dress in whichever way you feel?
Unfortunately in the current realm of fashion, the trickle down effect has been reduced drastically. There was a time when the runway used to influence the designs of the market, now I feel like consumers are in ultimate power.
Such as the whole streetwear trend that has saturated the fashion market. I never pay attention to the trends and will always aim to design and dress in something that will always be beautiful. I have pieces that I have worn for five years now and nothing has changed.
What excites you about fashion?
The unpredictable and volatile nature of what people gravitate towards.
What is the most coveted item in your wardrobe?
I have a vintage Yohji Yamamoto cape jacket that is impeccably tailored and was the inspiring piece that made me want to become a designer myself.
Where are your favourite places to shop and eat in Sydney?
To shop: Terminal Six, U-Turn
To eat: TOO MANY! But to name a few: Redfern Continental, La Coppola, BIANG BIANG, XI'AN, Chinese noodle house, Golden Lotus
How do you approach putting together your personal style and what are you into at this very moment?
It is mostly based on instinct for me. Whatever looks and feels right. At this moment I'm into pencil skirts with a side split, I feel this has character with subtle sexiness.
If you could choose any era to have lived through, which one would you choose?
I feel the current era is very important, as it's a pivotal era for the expansion of technology, feminism and environmental movements. Although in terms of fashion, it feels like the least influential as designs are the most commercially driven.
Can you share with us some of your favourite online and print publications to read?
The Guardian, Purple Magazine, Dazed Korea, Sukeban Mag, Museum Mag