Fashion for Men: An Interview with Jasper Goh, Founder of The Authority
Jasper Goh looks spiffy yet effortlessly casual when we meet up with him. In a sense, it’s the perfect look that encapsulates the feel of local mens fashion label The Authority, which he founded back in 2015. Since then, the label has only gone on to become a mainstay of the local fashion scene, slowly gaining traction as they continue to put out new shoots, new clothes and feature new models. Possessing an air of cool confidence. we proceeded to interviewed him about his plans, life and the label.
While The Authority has now seen a certain degree of success, it hasn’t always been an easy journey, with a particularly bumpy ride at the very beginning. Says Jasper: “I’ve always been in fashion and was previously working in an e-commerce multi-label store. But I wanted to do something on my own. I thought, the womenswear market is already so overpopulated, and when I shop for my own clothes, I never look at local brands, only overseas ones. At the time, I thought there were no menswear brands for people who wanted something a little different, something that’s not Benjamin Barket, G2000 or Depression.
We needed a middle ground label that caters to people like me – graphic designers and young creatives to find somewhere to shop at home. I never imagined I’d last this long because of all the barriers and hurdles, and to think I wanted to open a shop when I lacked so much experience!”
He continues: “The Authority is all about being functional yet minimalist. The clothing I design is simple, yet noticeable. It’s not an eyesore but still sticks out in your memory. It’s honestly very difficult to have product differentiation these days, and you could probably find my clothes somewhere else. But then, that’s why we do brand differentiation, where we spend a lot of effort on the outlook of our brand, where something looks so nice and expensive, yet remains comfortably affordable.”
With regards to the label’s name, Jasper answers: “Local men all have something in common – the army. So that’s something I worked with, and that’s why our brand logo has an army green background. That’s a very ‘guy’ colour, and different from the typical grey or black. So we worked with the concept of command and being leaders in the industry without using those words, and thus, The Authority was born.”
With regards to brand differentiation, Jasper explains how the market has evolved, no longer simple a case of age segmentation but lifestyle segmentation. He elaborates: “When I was working in the store myself, I realised that our customers didn’t belong to the same age group. Nowadays, everyone is exposed to the same thing, and people mix with people of the same interests and lifestyles. We decided then to target people who ‘enjoy life’, not like YOLO, but people who appreciate life and understand it.”
On how they’ve survived this long as a brand, Jasper explains that the key is being relatable. “But in fashion, you’re supposed to create this fantasy, something a little special when they walk into a store,” he says. “The Authority brings that to the table, yet you still feel like yourself when you wear our clothes, like a better version of you. Our photoshoots for example, are quite realistic. It isn’t crazy makeup or high fashion poses, and we always tell models to be effortless and bring out their real characters and the best versions of themselves.”
Jasper is a hard worker, releasing photoshoots for the brand’s clothing just about every month, and recently even launching a short fashion film entitled Summerdaze, one we thoroughly enjoyed as a short film and also fitting in nicely with summer. Summerdaze has since gone viral and been well received by commentators on the Internet, praising its visuals and quality.
Says Jasper: “Summerdaze was a pet project I had, and like all that The Authority does, was for the people. When you watch it, we wanted it to make people feel very relaxed, even though there were so many emotions happening, and for people to really get into the moment without any narration. Martin (Hong) wanted people to interpret what they’re feeling instead of relying on an overall narrative, so that people could put themselves in these characters’ shoes and think about it. My director Martin asked if I had an upcoming collection we could base the film around. Since what we were promoting was something a little summery, we went with that mood, and it ended up looking very seamless.”
Scrolling down The Authority’s Instagram feed, the aesthetic the brand is going for is obvious, with plenty of soft, boy-next-door type models posing casually, exuding comfort and a myriad of emotions on their face. On how The Authority scouts for these models, Jasper explains: “Because I shoot a collection every month, I need a new model each month and I reuse them sometimes. I research Instagram, Tumblr and even the streets. Once, we were even at a chicken rice stall, and this boy who had just finished playing basketball walked in and my creative director and I went ‘woah’.” (Want to know which chicken rice stall? Get in touch with us!)
He continues: “I’m not sure why, but we’ve somehow created a vibe, and when models work with us, they don’t just stop after one shoot, but fall in love with the brand. They enjoy coming back for more shoots, and become almost like spokespeople for our brand. And not to brag or anything, but the people we discover often become quite famous in the process!”
It should be noted that Jasper puts so much hard work and passion into The Authority, where it is literally unheard of that a local label puts out a new photoshoot every month for their collections, with so much sweat and their own money that goes into making every shoot and experience smooth-sailing. These models come back and believe in the label for a reason – they’re treated with the respect they deserve, are paid decently and on time, and absolutely well taken care of.
For us, The Authority paints a believable fantasy of beautiful men decked out in casual yet respectable clothing, one that we can get behind and appreciate not just for the quality of clothing, but also the gorgeous aesthetic it sells as an entire lifestyle in and of itself. One hopes then, that for Jasper and his team, who have put so much care, love and passion put into this label, there’s only one direction for the brand to go – onwards and upwards.