Archive for the ‘Interview’ Category

Interview with Singapore fashion designer Teo Ying Hui (Demisemiquaver)

March 4th, 2011 Comments off









With five collections under her label “Demisemiquaver” since spring/summer 2007, Teo Ying Hui continues to leave local fashion enthusiasts intrigued with the transcendental yet conceptual design inspirations from her latest “Black Hole” collection. Find out how the label was formulated, the process behind the development of each collection, and let yourself fall into the “Black Hole” in our exclusive interview with the designer herself. By Luth Seah Zhiqiang




TSG: How would you describe your style to someone who doesn’t know your work?

There is always a tone of subtlety and quietness in all my works. The style is feminine and under-stated, with a dash of playfulness.

TSG: What is the philosophy behind the “Black Hole” collection?


A black hole is an entity in space which allows nothing to escape beyond its surface. Thus this collection is not about seeking the new; it is about discarding what we can see on the surface and peeling away the layers. I want to express a sense of thoughtfulness through this collection. The shapes and silhouettes are understated, but they are accompanied by little details and layers that will be discovered when you wear the garments. I would imagine it is like a small conversation between the designer and the wearer.

TSG: From stripes for your initial collection, to plaid fabrics, and now dots in this collection, why did you choose to use them and how did you find them?


Material sourcing for me is always an on-going process. I’ll buy fabrics as and when they catch my eye. Therefore a lot of times, these fabrics become a point of reference for me when I start on a new collection. In all of my works so far, the fabrics were bought before I conceptualize each collection. As the collection develops, I introduce and add on more fabrics to complement the existing ones, so as to complete the story.

TSG: What do you most like about the age we live in?


That we have such easy access to the rest of the world.

TSG: Are you influenced or inspired by any other photographers or artists?


Recently I have been interested in Chinese propaganda posters of the Cultural Revolution found in the 1960s and 1970s. They are always accompanied by political slogans which reflect the political doctrines of that period. I am particularly drawn to the rich colours and the style of illustration in those posters. It is extremely ironic to see artwork depicting so much positivity and hope during a period when millions of people were suffering under the communist ruling.

TSG: Who do you have in mind when designing your clothes? Is there a specific girl or archetype you keep in mind?


She is someone who has her own definitive style. A free-spirited individual who is unwilling to settle for trends, and always on the search for a new alternative.

TSG: What are the difficulties faced by a designer today?


For me, the biggest challenge is trying to keep production costs down and prices reasonable for my customers.

TSG: What do you think of fashion designers collaborating with and having their work mass-produced for stores like H&M? Do you think that in the long run, it will affect the artistic integrity of the fashion industry as a whole?


I feel it is like making art affordable to the masses. And being affordable does not necessarily equate to a compromise in value or integrity. I see it as a win-win situation for both consumers and designers.

TSG: What is the precondition for the Singapore fashion design scene to grow?


More national pride and genuine interest in our local brands.

TSG: Besides platforms like Singapore Fashion Festival to create awareness, what kind of support do you feel home grown labels need?


I think we need a lot more direct funding for us to develop and market our labels. Unlike the local art groups, which have partnerships programmes, scholarships & yearly awards put in place by the National
Arts Council, the fashion design industry seems to be lacking in this aspect. For independent and young fashion designers who are starting out on their own, it would be great if the government could extend help by offering defunct buildings as work spaces at affordable rates. These spaces could also function as show and exhibition venues on a long term basis, or even encompass a retail section for designers to peddle their creations.

TSG: What’s next on your agenda?


A good holiday.


Front Row – Raffles Hotel Arcade, #02-09 Tel: +65 6221 5501


Interview with Singapore veteran fashion designer Frederick Lee

January 30th, 2011 Comments off




The Team


Photography / Soon Tong
Fashion Direction / Ashburn Eng
Make-up / Mav Chang
Hair /  Annie Tay
Model / Nastya Kolganova & Vilma P (Upfront Models
Text / Luth Seah Zhiqiang
Milliner / Frederick Lee

Local veteran couturier Frederick Lee established himself as a household name by creating costume pieces for countless of notable local events; from the National Day Parade to the recent Youth Olympics Games. In addition being an extraordinary bridal and evening gown designer, not many know that he is an outstanding milliner as well! Test Shoot Gallery is honoured to present a series of one-of-a-kind millinery works that Frederick Lee produced specially for our shoot! Along with this amazing opportunity to admire Frederick’s work, we bring you an exclusive interview with the man as well. By Luth Seah Zhiqiang 





TSG: Give us a glimpse into your background and how did you get your start in the industry? Have you always been interested in it since childhood?

I believe that fashion design flows in my blood. As a kid, I made paper clothing for my paper dolls while my peers were playing outdoors. That also fed my love for fantasy and weaving stories with elements plucked from legends, myths and magic. But I truly began my design career in my early 20s as a self taught designer by creating and making garments for friends.  From then on, my confidence in designing grew along with my flair for the unusual. I also enjoy and am intrigued by the elegance which inspired me to look for perfection and glamour in old-hollywood. Think Dietrich and Crawford in Balenciaga, Schiaparelli to Garbo and Davis in Vionnet or Dior, their positivity exuberant art-decor flamboyance.

Personally, I find it beautiful when mundane materials maneuvered with the proficient and perfect skills of haute couture to become unequivocally beautiful garments. Even from a young age, I knew I wanted to be a couturier. 



TSG: How would you describe your design aesthetic?

Rather than to worry about finding the next best-selling commercial designs, I prefer to create clothes that reflect different moments or dreams. I believe in individuality and diversity. I create and ignore the conventional, avoiding the rituals of seasonal demands. Wearing a Frederick Lee’s couture piece will bring together extravagance, glamour, wit and originality. I make clothes for the feminine, confident, and seductive woman who is enchanted by bold new ideas; A women who never has a dull moment in her life.




TSG: What, or who inspires you and influences your work the most? (e.g, the revolutionary cuts that highlights the femininity of the body in your work?)

There are many great fashion designers that have inspired and influenced my work. Top of my list is Spanish-born french couture designer, the late Cristobal Balenciaga, who was credited as the one who changed the silhouette of womenswear. Balenciaga was revered as a couturier of couturier who created astonishment with his collections and the mastery of his cuts. I respect that kind of integrity and his creative ideals.




TSG: What do you like most about the age we live in?

In the age we are living now, everything is possible. We’re constantly exposed to stories about people who become stars over night. So there’s a high possibility that everyone will be famous at least for 15 minutes in your lifetime.  However, because of that, many people lost their sense of reality. They lack personality and imagination in living their lives.




TSG:  What is the quality that makes your hats come to life?

The traditional characteristics of a good hat are wit and style. They are hard to achieve as wit can easily be reduced to vulgarity and attempts at style frequently result in meaningless extravagance. I realise that only by breaking the rules can highly imaginative, stylish hats be created. What gives my hats indefinable but immediately recognized spirit is “control”. 

No element is allow to overrun the others in the overall design. Shapes, trim, and lines are all given equal consideration in order to produce millinery that is deceptively unique and memorable.




TSG: Would you identify yourself as a conceptual or romantic designer?

The definition of conceptual design is subjective. I believe that conceptual designing comprises the creation of an idea, the exploration of the intentions of that idea, and the representation of it. Thus, I guess I’m a conceptual designer!




TSG: Besides designing for your own evening wear and bridal lines, you work as the director of costumier for large-scale events such as the Singapore National Day, Youth Olympic Games & many other theatre productions as well. How do you manage your working process to fit the time-line? Would you consider yourself as a workaholic?

We have all experienced that appalling sense of having far too much work to do but too little time to do it in.  We can choose to ignore this, and continue to work unreasonably long hours to stay on top of our workload. The alternative is to work more intelligently by focusing on the things that are more important. While this may seem obvious, in the hurly-burly of a new, fast-moving, high-pressure role, there’s often times where something can be overlooked easily. 

Prioritizing helps me to get the greatest return from the work I do, and keep my workload under control. Although the term “workaholic” usually has a negative connotation, it is sometimes used by people who wish to express their devotion to one’s career in positive terms an I’m one of them.




TSG: What are the difficulties faced being a designer today?

To become a fashion designer one must be willing to work hard and handle rejection. Rejections are unavoidable in this industry; it’s perseverance despite the rejection that is more crucial.Though the fashion industry can be exciting and alluring to some, it might be a different story behind the scenes. I like how TV shows like Project Runway gives a realistic depiction of the type of criticism you can expect. The main problems most designers have are  missing connection to their potential customer base ; missing exposure and a downward spiral of low volumes. If you don’t have enough customers, you won’t be able to sell and
produce enough pieces. Industry manufacturers will then be less interested in working with you and you might end up working with far more expensive tailorshops. High production costs lead to horrible selling prices and low customer conversion. As a result you receive more rejections from boutiques to stock your products.




TSG: What does the term beauty mean to you?

Beauty to me is feeling good about yourself, as well as enjoying the pleasure and joy that life gives you; A smile, a nice twinkle of ones eyes, a fragrant body, a nice clean outfit. Beauty is when you know you can go anywhere in life having the right clothes, or even the wrong clothes worn in the right way.




TSG: How important is it for a celebrity to wear one of your dresses, from a business point of view?

Although fashion designers can achieve celebrity status on their own, the designers often seek assistance from celebrities in other industries to help launch their labels.

As a fashion designer, the goal is to have the celebrity wear your pieces when they are captured on film and on the red carpet. Keep in mind that the images taken will often end up in a magazine, newspaper, or on television. Either way, this will help publicize the designers brand. In addition to having movie stars and pro athletes wear designer fashion on a daily basis, it is equally or more important to have glamorous celebrities appear in your designs at fashion week events. To be a successful designer, you can not simply put on a fabulous cat walk display of beautiful models and stylish accessories. It is very important to have the room full of photographers, fashion editors and celebrities.




TSG: What has been your best career or fashion moment so far?

One of my fashion moments will have to be able to create the costumes for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games Singapore 2010. I was challenged and inspired to create new costumes for the international event that inspires global unity and national pride; an event that celebrates youth in sports, as well as marking a new chapter in Olympic sporting history.

I’m still waiting for that fashion moment because everyday is still a learning experience. In fact, I believe my best work will be when im 60!




TSG: Do you think haute couture will keep on existing in future?

Today, the haute couture is neither haughty nor supernatuated, it is an aesthetic essay in which cherished and extraordinary skills are practiced. It remains a discipline of ultimate imagination, unaccountable to cost, with the paradox of being the fashion most cognizant of its ideal clients. It is a dream for quality in an era of industry and its succession.

I still strongly feels that Couture persists in providing us with a paragon of the most beautiful clothing that can be envisioned and made in any time.




TSG: What is your idea of elegance in a woman? 

A seductive, confident, glamourous and feminine women. Fashionable, yet not trendy. She understands what kinds of clothes suits her body.



TSG: Besides platforms like Singapore Fashion Festival to create awareness, what kind of support do you feel home grown labels need?

In the words of Vivienne Westwood, “Fashion is very important, It is life-enhancing and, like everything that gives pleasure, it is worth doing well”.

Indeed, the undercurrents of Westwood’s  philosophy holds true for Singapore as well. The Singapore Fashion Scene has not just arrived ; it has arrived unbelievably well in the past few  years. The Singapore Fashion Week (SFW) and Singapore Fashion Festival (SFF) not only have launched many young and budding designers, they are also the most supportive and friendly platform that enable designers to have complete exposure to the media, domestic and international buyers.

Both SFW and SFF – with active  participation from fashion designers, fashion houses, jeweler, models and sponsors – have generated a lot of interest and optimism in the local fashion industry. With the platform getting bigger and better, no one’s complaining.



Frederick Lee  is located at No.2 Jalan Klapa, Singapore 193314 Tel: +65 6323 4372

Interview with Singapore fashion designer Jr Chan (Cloak&Dagger)

December 18th, 2010 Comments off





A stroll down the streets of Singapore, what change you notice besides the renewing skyline? Evidently obvious is how much more adventurous the fashion enthusiasts are in their style choices. Layering are embraced and silhouettes are experimented. From the sleek to the draped, from the minimalist to the flamboyant, a whole week with these stylish strangers is anything but boring! Label Cloak & Dagger caters to the stylish gentlemen of our city. Read more on how designer JR Chan illustrates her idea of “collapse of stereotypes”, her design aesthetics, and all things you need to know for the debut collection of Cloak & Dagger in our exclusive interview! By Luth Seah Zhiqiang

TSG:  Where does the label’s name come from?
Cloak&Dagger takes the image off its sister label, Hide&Seek.



TSG: Cloak&Dagger hints at mystery or espionage, while Hide&Seek suggest good things well-hidden and tucked away in places that are really difficult to find.

A play on the words of the co-relation of the sister labels.



TSG:  Can you tell us your starting point and inspirations for your debut collection?

My debut collection pays homage to traditional men’s wear. It is a collection that questions fixed notions of masculinity, giving rise to the idea of a “slip” that adds new possibilities to clothing for men, and provides an alternative line for women. I played with silhouettes that can be worn multiple ways, making it more experimental for women as well.


TSG:  Cloak&Dagger’s unchanging theme is the “collapse of stereotypes.” We want to offer something different, something that incoporates Asian designs. Who are you making fashion for?

 For the cosmopolitan career woman who wears both international and local designers when they travel.



TSG:  How would you describe your style to someone who doesn’t know your work?

I like structured and smart tailoring embodied with unconventional and unexpected details.
The label is also known for its Asian cut for men.



TSG:  How would you describe your design aesthetic?

I place priority on the balance of body proportions and the color scheme.. I simplify as much as possible, and explore the different placements of the details. I aim for a playful yet balanced aesthetic.



TSG:  Let us talk about silhouettes. You work with a lot of non-Western styles, like voluminous silhouette, cowl-neck shirts and harem pants, which are notoriously difficult to get men into. What’s the thinking behind that?

I am inspired by the streets of Daikanyama in Japan where people put in effort in what they wear and are all distinctively different from one another in their dressing style. I also love the way people dress in Berlin! They don’t overdress but manage to look very smart and chic. The collection’s silhouettes is a fusion of the east and the west. I want to take daily items from a men’s wardrobe and break down their traditional look, meanwhile making sure that they can still be put together in a different way. It is about providing an alternative to individual style.


TSG: What inspires you and influences your work?

People. Someone once said that “Fashion is all about lifestyle”. I feel that it is true. The weather, technology, lust, moods, the way we spend time and what the world is dressing for.



TSG:  What do you most like and dislike about the age we live in?

I like the fact that we are more experimental with fashion, but I have issues with global warming since the weather has gone mad.



TSG: Your designs won you a sort of local celebrity fanbase that includes Andi Chen Bang Jun, Christopher Lee, Dawn Yeoh, Jun, Jeanette Aw, Joi Chua, JJ Lin Jun Jie, Lawrence Wong, and Nat Ho, how do you feel about it?

I am thankful for their support. They are amazingly nice and humble people. It motivates me to work harder when a celebrity choses to wear a local label over  an international label for events.



TSG: Besides platforms like Singapore Fashion Festival to create awareness,what kind of support do you feel home grown labels need?

Support from a good mentor who is a veteran in this industry. We need to be humble all the time and learn, not only from our seniors but also from our juniors. When we stop listening, we stop growing.



TSG: What are your coming plans for Cloak&Dagger?

Cloak&Dagger is ready to expand. We intend to bring the label to more conceptual and retail spaces.
I want to establish the business in Singapore in the coming year before moving overseas.






Blackmarket  19 Jalan Pisang, Singapore 199084 Tel:  +65 6296 8512
Hide&Seek       176 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068264 Tel: +65 6222 2825

Interview with Singapore accessories designer Aaron Kao & ViVi Lim (Vice & Vanity)

December 2nd, 2010 Comments off



Debuting in 2006, Singaporean accessories label Vice & Vanity constantly brings you quirky and whimsical pieces using an eclectic mix of textures, materials and colours that have captured the hearts of women. Aaron Kao & Vivi Lim, founders and designers of the label are two of the most recognisable names in local fashion scene. Here at TSG we find out about the self taught and almost accidental design duo behind this ever-growing brand. Over the years, they have collaborated with fashion labels that include Alldressedup, Baylene and Nicholas. Read and enjoy as the Duo share how they discovered their interest in accessories design, and all things that is VV in our exclusive interview! By Luth Seah Zhiqiang


TSG: Share with us the chemistry of working as a duo, and what are your roles behind the teamwork?

We have the advantage of excellent chemistry between us and our ideas compliment each other. We don’t appoint fixed roles as we are both very involved every step of the way, and with this synergy we also keep a look out for each other in the work process.

TSG: How did you two met each other, and share with us how was the formation of Vice & Vanity initiated?

We met through a common friend and became a couple before the label was created. We had our day jobs then and were making accessories for creativity expression and friends. Soon a friend who opened a boutique invited us to design a small collection for sale. It did well and it great from there.

TSG: What do you most like about the age we live in?


TSG: Could you describe how were the accessories made? What is your production process like?

We started with the colours exploration, followed by a period of sketching and prototype making. Currently we are on the most part self sufficient and the designs are hand made with a certain degree of machined assistance. We like to keep it part artisanal and part guerrilla industrialization.

TSG: The materials and form applied to your accessories seems to be unconventional, are there any ideology behind them? How did you source them out?

Frankly I would say we do not possess conventional skills. We do not start with any idealogy. It generally all came together with exploration of designs.

TSG: Aaron- You were from a fine arts background, what made you switch to accessories design, and why?

I have never switched. It is another medium that I found interesting and accessible to connect with a wider audience. Much more than I can with a painting. On the surface it seems like I have abandoned my roots but I disagree. It is still the same creative expression, and of course I would definitely paint again if I had the time and space!

TSG: What made you both decide to get into fashion? Have you always been interested in it?

Like we mentioned it was all by chances.
We have a love-hate relationship with fashion.
We would like to see our work in the broader sense of design eventually, rather than just being a fashion label. Most importantly we want to maintain the fun element while designing.

TSG: Where does the label’s name come from?

It came from a song and was recommanded by a friend. We thought it was appropriate.

TSG: Besides platforms like Singapore Fashion Festival to create awareness, what kind of support do you feel home grown labels need?

Everyone will have differing opinions on what that support should be. We feel it is most important to have a good product. A good product will generate awareness by itself. Home grown labels have to carve out their own groove to be as self sufficient as they can before expecting any support. Or it will be frustrating when that support fails to deliver any result.

TSG: What is your biggest vice?

We all have our dark secrets……don’t we? Sshhhhhh…


Vice & Vanity Studio 4B Smith Street Singapore 059818 (by appointment only)
Inhabit @ Mandarin Gallery, #02-16, 33A ORCHARD ROAD, Singapore 23897
Nicholas @ Marina Square, #02-323, 6 Boulevard, Singapore 039594
Hide & Seek @ 176 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068624


Interview with Singapore veteran fashion designer Jo Soh (Hansel)

September 17th, 2010 Comments off





Hansel, a local label that constantly produces sweet and whimsical designs capturing hearts of many Singaporean women of all ages truly made Jo Soh, founder and designer of the label, one of the most recognisable names in local fashion scene. That is why we here at TSG wanted to know more about the innovative mind that is behind the signature geeky spectacle frame and quirky bowl-cut bob hairstyle. Read and enjoy as Joh shared how she got interested with fashion all thanks to her fashionable mother, the latest store interior installations which never failed to capture her customers’ attention, and all things that is Jo So in our exclusive interview! By Luth Seah Zhiqiang




TSG: From pop out cardboard furniture to doodling a house for your paper dolly collection, what is your starting point for such interior face-lift each season? Will there be another surprise for this upcoming “Lily the lady” collection?

The starting point comes from the theme of each collection – a two dimensional home for a paper doll, or, in the case of the temporary pop-up shop, a pop-up book inspired cardboard interior. The desire to have the environment suit the different themes stems from a love of theme parks since childhood. Each time you step into a different part in a theme park, your mind is transported to an entirely different world. Your senses are heightened and you get excited and curious about EVERYTHING inside that world. When I pass through the gift shop at the end of that experience, I always wanted to buy a little souvenir to remind me of my experience. As such, I believe that apparel retail is not just about the apparel – it’s the whole experience as well.

In keeping with the ladylike theme of “Lily the Lady”, I have created an oversized white pearl necklace and oversized paper dollies for the front window display. On the walls are words and phrases associated with acting and dressing like a lady, such as “POISE”, “MANNERS”, “LACE”, “PEARLS” and just in case our hansel shoppers should wonder what to do: “WHEN IN DOUBT, DRESS UP”. All these have been “cross-stitched” onto traditional bunting strung on the shop walls. I have also arranged the display tables with chairs and glassware as if there is a genteel tea party happening in the shop!



TSG: What made you decide to get into fashion? Have you always been interested in it?

My mother was a very fashionable woman who picked up on new trends with ease and confidence. She had a few different wigs, she would perm her hair at home (often times I was the guinea pig for her new home-perming kits!). She had false eye lashes, lots of shoes and accessories. In fact, her wardrobe was so large that her clothes overflowed from her cupboard into my brother’s and mine! At that time, my brother must have been about 8 years old, and his reaction to her storing her clothes in his cupboard was to charge her rent of 50 cents per month! (Today he is working as an auditor in a bank.)

I must have been just 6 years old then. My reaction was the more typical for a little girl – I tried on her clothes in the mirror and would sometimes sit inside the cupboard, in sheer joy just to be surrounded by all the clothes! So it was my mother who showed me the joy and complexities of clothes and appearance, and I decided at age 12 to pursue fashion design.



TSG: What was the idea using Singapore Art Museum as a backdrop and how did it relate to the themes and inspirations behind the collection itself?

“Lily the Lady” is about an imaginary aristocratic, cultured young urban girl doing “cultured” things like visiting museums, having tea, cycling on a old fashioned bicycle and other such ladylike activities. The Singapore Art Museum was a natural choice with its elegant colonial architecture. I love old-fashioned, elegant and ladylike dress styles with their womanly silhouettes because I feel they do really bring out the WOW factor of the curvy feminine body. I love the playful tease that comes through with the idea of up-keeping modesty and class by wearing demure twin sets and strings of pearls, although the VERY feminine silhouettes suggest other ideas.



TSG: You’ve collaborated with so many different and fascinating individuals. Could you tell us a little about some of those relationships and how they came about?

Luis Cantillo is a Colombian multimedia artist currently living in Beijing. When he was living and working in New York, he created the animation video for Captain Cheese.


Luis and I got to know each other when we were both studying in London. He is one of the few people who instantly “get” my ideas and work! The video he did required NO guidance from me at all, apart from my Captain Cheese drawing that I sent to him. I absolutely LOVED what he did! Luis also photographed my collection when I graduated from Central St Martins in 1999.

Adrian Wee (also known as DJ – he runs the Poptart nites at Butter Factory, where he works as their marketing manager) and I have known each other since year 2000 when I worked as a waitress in the now defunct Insomnia Cafe (NO, not the one at CHIJMES). It was a very “underground” bar/club in Bugis Village). He created the tracks for all my fashion shows starting with my 2003 debut show in Australia. He also created the tracks to hansel’s animation videos, including Luis’ “Captain Cheese”! He is also someone who was able to grasp what I wanted without much complex explanation.

Zi Xi (otherwise known as Messy MsXi) was my student when I taught part-time at Temasek Polytechnic years ago. She was a great student with buckets of talent. She has since graduated from Central St Martins and is working as an artist/illustrator. She has also created an animation video for hansel – it was for the “Robot Girl” collection.






TSG: If you could create your own retreat what would it be like?

A luxurious tree house on the edge of a lush green forest, right by a private stretch of white sandy beach. Mmm…



TSG: If you could use three words to describe the Hansel label, what would they be?

Quirky, fun, wearable.



TSG: What are you working on at the moment and what future projects do you have on your agenda?

After 7 years of practice, I have experimented with various ways to create the concept for a collection and now have my own process of what works well for me. I have learnt to recognize when an idea is good to turn  into whole collection and when it would not. I am more confident in my designs now, and have found the right balance between expressing my own ideas and producing wearable clothes that my fans would want to buy and wear. At the moment, I am working on AW2011, for release in shops in Aug 2011. We are also wrapping up on our uniform design projects for DBS Bank and POSB Bank.



TSG: Your designs won you a sort of celebrity fanbase that includes Katy Perry, Denise Keller, and Chiaki Kuriyama, how do you feel about it?

These ladies are beautiful, successful and influential! It is such a big compliment and an honor that they have worn hansel. This is especially the case for Katy Perry, where she had picked to wear that hansel Sequin Bustier Dress herself!



TSG: Besides platforms like Singapore Fashion Festival to create awareness, what kind of support do you feel home grown labels need?

The most important support that Singaporean fashion labels could get is the support of Singaporeans, ie, Singaporeans to buy Singaporean. Australian pride for their own Australian fashion labels is strong and I would like Singaporean pride for their own labels too. Currently, the local market is still largely divided between those who shop for cheap mass fashion labels because of the low price points, and those who shop at famous international brands because of the status associated by wearing them.  There is a growing group of Singaporeans who think otherwise and this is the group that I hope will continue to grow!



TSG: Do you have any tips and suggestions for young people who would like to start a designing career, and participate in collaborations with different companies one day?

Collaboration is easy and will come naturally, when you connect with fellow like-minded companies that have styles that complement yours but doesn’t compete with you for the same market. In terms of setting up their own businesses, I think that’s the tougher part because not all people are suitable for owning and running their own businesses. It is a completely different thing from being a designer!



TSG: What are the difficulties faced being a designer today?

In terms of a self-owned fashion label like hansel, we don’t have the budgets of larger companies so sometimes we are unable to afford that market outreach that larger labels have, for example, opening up several retail outlets at one go, or have sales/PR agents in a few countries at one time. We also don’t have the economies of scale compared to mass labels nor the fame of international brands. So we compete more on design value and
also, if you compare us with the mass brands and the international brands, our products are actually extremely good value-for-money!



TSG: Who are your favourite designers and why?

I really love IKEA for the way they democratize good furniture design!



TSG: What was your favourite outfit from the 80s?

I remembered that I had a happy yellow dress with a Peter Pan collar and a sash that I tied in the back with a bow that I loved for many years.

Campaign Photo Credits:

Location: Singapore Art Museum
Photographer: Ming
Hair and Make-up: Kenneth Lee
Bicycle from

Vanguard Designs



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