What motivates you when designing clothes for women?
I have thought up a virtual woman whom I call the “stellar” woman. She is an idol who represents my target market of modern, active, and smart working women who dress up in style. I am motivated to design for these types of women.
How do you want women to feel when wearing your clothes?
I want them to feel confident and happy. My clothes do not hide the beauty of a woman. It’s about enhancing a woman’s beauty. I don’t want to overpower the beauty that a woman already has.
Can you elaborate more on the practicality of your designs?
I design my clothes to be practical because they fit into every occasion. They are the kind of pieces where you can just switch the bottom part to turn the rest into an evening outfit instantly.
What kind of mistakes have you made?
A lot of mistakes like financial reports, price calculations, marketing, and I often seek design inspirations from senior designers because I am afraid that not everyone will accept the designs that I make. But, actually, that is not true because by doing that, it will make you the same as everyone else. I realise that instead of following the trends too much, you should just be true to yourself.
I don’t have any fear because I have nothing to lose. That was also my mistake because I should have prepared better before starting my own line, but it’s kind of a chicken or egg situation. If I took too much time preparing, I wouldn’t be here now. In the end, I am grateful for my journey.
What factors contribute to your success?
Hard work is the most important factor. You can come from the best background or education, but if you don’t work hard, you will find it difficult to succeed. Competition in the fashion industry is tough because a lot of people want to be a fashion designer. However, most don’t realise that behind the glamour, there are plenty of unglamorous things to manage.
Yes. People often don’t see the unglamorous side.
Administration, human resources, and even financing are all unglamorous aspects that people don’t see. Behind the scenes, you have to work hard, be disciplined, and be able to manage your company well. You can’t just focus on being a good designer—you have to be a good leader as well.
What role do you think social media plays in fashion industry?
I miss the days when everything was still in print because I love to touch what I read. Nowadays, everything is about speed and people don’t really read anymore. They prefer to look at pictures and a lot of the information that we see on the Internet is not valid. I just hope that digital technology can really help us as a brand and act as a better curator of information, too. I am excited about the digital era but am also a quite worried because of the nature of digital news. Inaccurate news can ruin the industry.
What is your favourite aspect about being a designer?
I get to make my own clothes! Everything I wear, I designed it myself. I used to design my own bags and shoes but now I leave the designs to my assistant. I want to leave it to the expert. I don’t want to cross into another project only to end up producing something that is not of good quality. I used to make jewellery, but I stopped because I was not that passionate about it. Ultimately, passion is what drives you.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career, what would it be?
I would have told myself to work for someone else first. I made a lot of mistakes at the start, which could have been avoided had I learned from a senior. From a business perspective, I made countless mistakes because as a fashion graduate, I did not have much business knowledge. But now, after 10 years as a fashion designer, I have thankfully figured out good management.
What are some tips you would like to share to aspiring fashion designers?
Be true to yourself. Every designer has his or her own style, so try not to copy others too much. As an artist, we tend to find inspirations from our seniors. But sometimes, we are too inspired to the point that our designs look like others’.
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