Photograph by Mao Sovanchandy 

I was invited by Fashion And Market, a multimedia platform that presents specialist content on Southeast Asian fashion, to write a short essay about LINEAL and its third issue.

Somewhere in Central Europe, it is 5:30 p.m. In New York, it is 11:30 a.m. It is 12:30 a.m. where I live. I am sitting in the same spot where I started LINEAL, a digital publication I founded in December 2020, where the theme of BORDERLESS for its third issue was born.

LINEAL is a passion project with the vision to underline creativity from the region of Southeast Asia. It is a product of collaborations. I spearhead and do most of the tasks, from conceptualising the theme, discovering inspiring talents and faces to tapping writers and managing the website. Together with two guest editors, I finalise the articles.

For the past ten years, I have lived on three different continents as a fashion photographer. I produced shoots for magazines such as Esquire Singapore and Vogue Taiwan, for the time that I was in New York and London. Other days, it was the opposite; I organised shoots in Cambodia for Vogue Portugal and Esquire Spain. But since last year when the pandemic started, I haven’t been able to travel. The pause allowed me to reflect. It dawned on me profoundly — creativity knows no boundary. I am somewhere in the province of the Philippines where very few (or perhaps none) are aware and interested in the news that Daniel Lee left Bottega Veneta, or that Vogue global editions have been undergoing consolidations. Yet, the digital world offered me an alternative way of producing stories with fellow creatives, beyond geographical borders. 

In Indonesia, Abdul Razzak Jauhar creates a photo story that emphasises the relationship between life and death, while in Cambodia, the tension between architectural heritage and modernity is the subject of Mao Sovanchandy’s picture series. In Paris, Rukpong Raimaturapong pays homage to his Thai roots for his latest fashion collection, while in New York, Charlene Almarves contemplates her decade-long journey as a model hailing from the Philippines. Those stories are proof that we are all interconnected, despite different existence or perspectives. They define the meaning of BORDERLESS.

Southeast Asian talents are remarkable. LINEAL’s hope is to champion them. Since its maiden issue, the magazine has featured at least thirty artists. Each of them creates outstanding works. Each work has an inspiring narrative —- where I, and perhaps you, and everyone can associate with. Take for instance a documentary tackling how the pandemic affected trans women in Indonesia by photographer Poppy Pieter, or an exclusive conversation with Jasmine Tuan, a fashionista and shopaholic from Singapore who became a zero-waste advocate. LINEAL amplifies voices on matters that are relevant to our society.

At this time when we are reminded that our world is small, it is an apt and kind act to celebrate the creativity of the people in our home.