Alverina Wijaya, Chainless Brain

Fuelled by a headstrong and rebellious spirit, CHAINLESS BRAIN, aims to epitomise the boldness and independence of the contemporary woman with its fine crafted jewellery. Meet ALVERINA WIJAYA, the designer behind this Singapore-based jewellery brand.

Alverina Wijaya, Chainless Brain | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

Jewellery making is no easy task for Alverina Wijaya – her first professional jewellery-making memory involves piercing a finger – but the tedious process comes with great rewards; happy customers and the satisfaction of creating her own designs.

Inspired by the liberating experience of creation, the Singaporean designer found her passion after studying Jewellery Design at Raffles Design Institute in Singapore and graduating in Fashion Marketing and Management from ISEM in Paris.

She set out to create simple DIY designs with Chainless Brain in 2006. Today, the jewellery brand has emerged as one of the finest jewellery brands in Singapore, carrying fine jewellery designs to quirky pieces expertly crafted from precious metals like 18K Gold and 925 Silver. 

That’s not all. Alverina also collaborates with local designers and initiatives like Textile and Fashion Federation Singapore and keeps more than 17k followers on Chainless Brain’s Instagram updated with her jewellery-making process and current projects. Read on to know how Alverina does it all.

How did you start out? What was your light bulb moment?

It started out purely as a hobby where we needed a name to represent ourselves back in 2006. And we did not expect that the brand would grow so much over the years and expand into the international market. It does take a lot of passion to come this far.

What’s your first jewellery memory?

If you mean professional jewellery crafting, I would say I remember cutting my finger from piercing a piece of silver sheet. Jewellery making is a tedious process, but looking how customers are satisfied with our work, it is all worth it.

Could you please describe your design process?

We usually take about 3-6 months to design and decide the new designs for the next collection. It really depends on our customers’ reviews base on the previous collection which explains why we take 6 months long to decide on the new designs. Our inspiration mainly comes from facets where we handmade our accessories for our Accessories line. We use these characteristics to put into our Jewellery line. In summary, we develop the designs from our previous collection.

Alverina Wijaya, Chainless Brain | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

What’s the biggest challenge with being a creative in business?

Being asked to produce more than we are able to is the biggest challenge when the workload is already overwhelming and we need to push further to meet our deadlines.

You have an impressive social following. Could you give us 3 tips on how to increase social media presence?

We started to engage with influencers when Instagram just started out. It has grown over the years and we are glad that some followers have been really loyal to us since the beginning. Since Instagram’s system has changed, the game of engaging influencers is not as effective as in the past. We usually tell our customers to check out our Instagram during events, it does help a bit on that. Of course, posting good and relevant pictures helps to increase social media presence too.

You have collaborated with a few brands, and most recently FUZE, how do you choose projects/collaborations?

It is very important that both parties come together with the same vision, goals and objectives. Many a time, our collaborations did not work out because the splitting of the cost was not even. It is very important to understand the budget that we set aside for the collection and the goals to achieve by the end of the project. If the brand vision of our collaborators is aligned with us, we are more than welcome to work with them, even if it takes a few years to fulfil or complete the project.

"Jewellery making is a tedious process, but looking how customers are satisfied with our work, it is all worth it."

 

Alverina Wijaya, Chainless Brain | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

Founder, Alverina Wijaya

Who would your dream collaboration be with?

I hope to collaborate with H&M or Topshop one day! Topshop in London is very supportive of their local designers. We need to make this happen in Singapore too!

What’s your top business advice to aspiring jewellery designers?

Don’t think too much, just follow your heart and do it.

In your opinion, what’s the current state of the local fashion industry in Singapore?

I love to see how the locals are supporting local designers these days. They are more knowledgeable about fashion through social media. It is very encouraging to see that many young designers are creating their own labels in their own unique ways. I would say the local fashion industry has been evolving, to a better and stronger one.

“It is very important that both parties come together with the same vision, goals and objectives. If the brand vision of our collaborators is aligned with us, we are more than welcome to work with them, even if it takes a few years to fulfil or complete the project.”

 

Alverina Wijaya, Chainless Brain | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

What are some current jewellery trends that have piqued your interest?

The choker! They are back in trend. We try not to follow the trend too much as we want to create something that is long-lasting so customers would wear them again for the next few years.

What is your most cherished piece of jewellery?

Every piece! They are like my babies. I feel the need to cherish every piece of them since I have put in a lot of time and effort before presenting them to the public. It really upsets me every time our stockists return us damaged goods when the jewellery has not been well taken care of.

Shop The Collection

Alverina Wijaya, Chainless Brain | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

Chainless Brain

X Bar Cuff

Alverina Wijaya, Chainless Brain | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

Chainless Brain

Colour Block Facets Ring

Alverina Wijaya, Chainless Brain | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

Chainless Brain

Pearls Bar Ring

Alverina Wijaya, Chainless Brain | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

Chainless Brain

Facets Bangle

Chainless Brain is available at various stockists across Singapore, Taiwan and U.S.A.

All images courtesy of Alverina Wijaya.

Ingeborg van der Hoek, Elements Concept

Meet the Indonesian furniture brand that is quickly making a mark in Singapore due to its affordable elegant tropical-style pieces. We chat with co-owner of ELEMENTS CONCEPT, Ingeborg Van Der Hoek, about what inspired the team to launch in Singapore, a new collection, and the exciting times that lie ahead for this sustainable brand.

Ingeborg van der Hoek | Elements Concept | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

When Ingeborg van der Hoek walked into one of Elements Concept’s Jakarta stores in June 2016, she immediately fell in love with the brand. Who can resist a standout collection of hand-woven homewares and furniture made with natural materials by talented craftsmen and women?

Elements Concept was founded in 2015 by Dutch designer Bastiaan Spil. The designer – who grew up in Indonesia – is no novice, coming from a family who has been making furniture and home accessories for many popular stores for over 30 years. Bastiaan, together with his team, is heavily involved in the design process and manages everything from sourcing raw materials to producing the pieces in his factories and workshops.

Today, Elements Concept has two stores in Indonesia, outfits cafes, restaurants, hotels and beach clubs all over Indonesia and exports products and franchises its concept to Europe, the US, Japan and Australia.

The team felt that Singapore could use a high quality, natural furniture brand that ties in with its yearlong tropical vibes. It didn’t take long before Ingeborg – who currently resides in Singapore – became the co-owner of Elements Concept.

Ingeborg tells us all about the positive reception the brand has received as she runs the Singapore branch and shares her all-time favourite pieces as well as new additions to look out for from the latest collection.

How did the Elements Concept come about?

The brand was founded in 2015 by Bastiaan Spil. Bastiaan is a Dutch designer who grew up in Indonesia. His parents moved there 30 years ago to start a furniture workshop with local craftsmen. Since then, they have been making furniture and home accessories for stores all over the world, including two of the most popular furniture and home decor stores in The Netherlands. In 2015, Bastiaan started his own brand under the name Elements Concept from this workshop, creating his own designs.

Who is behind Elements Concept and what roles do they play?

First of all, our talented craftsmen and -women of course! They are the ones making the fabulous pieces, all by hand. Then there is Bastiaan Spil. Bastiaan studied at the Art Academy and Economics & Law in The Netherlands before returning to Indonesia to use what he had learned to set up Elements Concept. Bastiaan designs the furniture and home accessories, runs the business (including two stores) in Indonesia, manages commercial projects (like hotels & restaurants) and exports to countries all over the world.

I am co-owner of the brand in Singapore. I run the Singapore branch, manage all sales & marketing, operations and projects. Before collaborating with Bastiaan I ran a tiny furniture business in Singapore, doing mainly custom made items on a very small scale.

How did you decide to be a part of Elements Concept?

In June 2016, after a tip from a friend in Singapore, I walked into one of the Elements Concept stores in Jakarta and immediately fell in love with the brand. I loved the natural feel of it, the tropical touch and just really gorgeous designs. Bastiaan and I met up for a coffee and decided there and then to work together.

Ingeborg van der Hoek, Elements Concept | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

Founder, Bastiaan Spil

"I walked into one of the Elements Concept stores in Jakarta and immediately fell in love with the brand. I loved the natural feel of it, the tropical touch and just really gorgeous designs. Bastiaan (the founder of Elements Concept) and I met up for a coffee and decided there and then to work together."

Ingeborg van der Hoek, Elements Concept | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

Elements Concept’s Jakarta store

What inspired the team to launch in Singapore?

We really felt that Singapore could use a high quality, natural furniture brand with a tropical vibe that is quite easy on the wallet.

Have you faced any challenges while launching the business in Singapore?

Up until now, it’s going quite smooth actually…

All items are made by craftsmen in your factories and workshops. How does this play a part in your design philosophy?

Yes, all items are handmade in our own workshop, which gives every single piece its own character. Though, a lot of the smaller rattan pieces are braided by craftsmen and –women at their homes and are collected once a week. This way they can stay with their families and earn a living at the same time.

The team is heavily involved in the design process. Tell us more about it from concept to finished product.

We keep our designs as close to nature as possible, using natural materials we source ourselves – like sustainable teak, rattan, bamboo, marble and brass – and authentic techniques. Good craftsmanship and only the best materials form the base for all our designs. We aim to finish a collection every three months, that’s the time it takes to create a new collection.

Elements Concept also furnishes many cafes, restaurants, hotels and beach clubs in Indonesia. How do you choose these projects/collaborations?

Correct, we are really proud of the projects we have done in Indonesia and actually we are also working on a few in Singapore as well. In these projects, we work together with interior designers who bring in a lot of creative ideas.

Ingeborg van der Hoek | Elements Concept | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa
Ingeborg van der Hoek | Elements Concept | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

"My old time favourite is the Paul Arm Chair, which was originally designed as part of our project for the Katamama Hotel (Potato Head Group) in Seminyak, Bali. Or is it the Straw Parasol…? Or the Palm Lantern…? Or the huge rattan pendant lamps…? So hard to choose!"

What are some highlights the brand has seen recently?

The launch in Singapore and the way the brand is welcomed here is a huge highlight. Also the collaboration within The Attaby Collective is something we’re really excited about.

Tell us about the collection. Do you have a favourite piece? Any exciting pieces/collections coming down the pipeline?

After a very successful launch of Elements Concept in Singapore in February of this year, it’s time to introduce the second collection to our enthusiastic customers in the little Red Dot in June. With this second collection, we continue to build on Elements Concepts principles of high-quality, beautifully handcrafted furniture and home decor made of the best materials in up-to-date designs for a price that doesn’t hurt your wallet too much.

New in this collection is the addition of a butler trolley, a perfect eye catcher in your interior. And big trendy plant pots to bring the green jungle in your house. Furthermore, Elements Concept added a wider variety of cabinets, dining tables, lounge chairs, sofas and accessories.

But my old time favourite is the Paul Arm Chair, which was originally designed as part of our project for the Katamama Hotel (Potato Head Group) in Seminyak, Bali. Or is it the Straw Parasol…? Or the Palm Lantern…? Or the huge rattan pendant lamps…? So hard to choose ; )

There are also some things we make just because we think it is cool. Like our unique Volkswagen van from the sixties completely covered in rattan. We are now working on a boat and in the process of building an Elements Villa in Lombok, which will function as a small retreat to relax and inspire.

Elements Concept is now available at TheAC (The Attaby Collective). How did this collaboration come to be?

I met the founder of TheAC, Claire Chahil (also the founder of the fashion brand Attaby), through a friend. Claire told me about her plans to collaborate with different independent brands to open a boutique department store where customers can discover a wide range of products from different brands. That sounded like a marvellous plan.

What can visitors expect to see in the store?

A thoughtfully curated selection of independent brands offering unique designs from women’s, men’s and kids’ fashion, active wear and jewellery to furniture and home accessories.

You can read more about TheAC here.

Shop The Collection

Coffee Chair in Black | Ingeborg van der Hoek, Elements Concept | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

Elements Concept

Coffee Chair in Black

Butler Trolley | Ingeborg van der Hoek, Elements Concept | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

Elements Concept

Butler Trolley

Summer Baskets | Ingeborg van der Hoek, Elements Concept | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

Elements Concept

Summer Baskets

Moambique Pot TerraII | Ingeborg van der Hoek, Elements Concept | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

Elements Concept

Moambique Pot TerraII

Elements Concept is available at TheAC | 420 Joo Chiat Road Singapore 427641 and at these locations in Jakarta.

All images courtesy of Ingeborg Van Der Hoek.

Wai Wai, Wai Yang

Wai Wai, Wai Yang | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

Myanmar-born fashion designer WAI WAI may be making a statement with her signature prints, but her focus and self-confidence are what really stand out. She shares her views about the Singapore fashion industry and an insight into the design process for her androgynous label, WAI YANG.

An eagerness to share her ideas to the industry was ultimately the driving force behind the career of Myanmar-born fashion designer Wai Wai. This ultimately led to the conception of Wai Yang, an androgynous label for women who love to push the boundaries of fashion.

Her specialisation in print – on top of Fashion Design and Textile degrees from Raffles Design Institute and London College of Fashion – is probably the reason why her signature prints are so highly sought after.

Wai Wai blends various techniques like digital, traditional and screen printing against unconventional materials like scraps, cargo boxes and bubble wraps. The result is a collection of clean and minimal silhouettes with intriguing prints, textures and details. She has also collaborated with Textile & Fashion Federation Singapore (TaFf) and took part in FashionisTech 2017, an initiative that encourages the integration of fashion and technology.

We get inside Wai Wai’s creative mind as she chats with us about her design process and her take on the fashion industry.

How did you decide to become a fashion designer?

I have a great interest in art and crafting since I was very young, and to be a fashion designer has always been my ambition. I am always motivated and dedicated to what I love to do and believe in, so I followed my instinct and pursued my dream.

Could you please describe your design process?

First, I start out with the material finding process, come out with a concept and move on to the textiles design process such as mark making, drawing, painting, print placement and experimentation process. From then imagine the silhouettes and do sketches and technical drawings, and then finally moving on to the toiling and sampling process.

What’s the biggest challenge with being a creative in business?

The biggest challenge is to strike a balance between making highly creative or innovative designs and making wearable commercial garments that are easily marketable.

I am always motivated and dedicated to what I love to do and believe in, so I followed my instinct and pursued my dream.

 

Wai Wai, Wai Yang | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

Image: Founder, Wai Wai

What’s your top business advice?

Before knowing the market or competitors, it’s crucial to know who you are and where you stand, with a very clear direction sense.

What are some current fashion trends?

Utilitarianism, bold stripes and checks pattern

In your opinion, what’s the future of the local fashion industry in Singapore?

In the future, the local fashion industry will become better and more international, as the government becomes more supportive of the talents by providing funds. Singaporeans are gradually becoming more open minded and supportive of the local talent and creations now compared to the past. Therefore, there are many opportunities and rooms for developing and improving for the emerging talents which will also improve the local fashion industry slowly.

Before knowing the market or competitors, it’s crucial to know who you are and where you stand, with a very clear direction sense.

 

Wai Wai, Wai Yang | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa
Wai Wai, Wai Yang | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

Pre-order Wai Yang’s latest collection online

All images courtesy of Wai Wai.

Li Ying, Ying the Label

The creative behind this Singapore-based fashion label talks her passion for painting, her interest in introducing new technologies to her design process and the current state of the fashion scene in the city.


 

Yi Ling, Ying the Label | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

Instinctive, attentively minimalistic but far from the ordinary, Li Ying uses fabrics as her canvas and she takes wearable art to greater heights through her chic hand-painted prints.

After studying for four years in Melbourne, Li Ying noticed a lack of vibrancy in fashion on her return to Singapore. She soon filled the gap by translating her passion for painting into fashion and hence, created Ying the Label.

Enthused by the simple things in life, her designs are created using abstract brush strokes dipped in whimsical colour palettes. The result? Unique and poetic prints that transcend seasons and inspire you to had a splash of colour to your wardrobe.

Li Ying shares how digital printing has affected her design process, how her personal style translates to her designs as well as her approach to business and some useful tips for emerging designers in this engaging interview.

It’s all about being yourself. You need to feel the passion for inspiring people with what you do. Let your designs reflect who you are. Be truly passionate – you will realise this is what keeps you up all night, and it will be all worth it.

 

Li Ying, Ying the Label | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

Image: Founder, Li Ying

Tell us about yourself as a designer. How did you decide to become a designer/founder of your own label?

I studied in Melbourne for 4 years, and the fashion there was always vibrant and colourful. People were dressed in prints! When I came back to Singapore, I realised I could not find anything like what I found in Australia, and I thought I needed to make Singapore fashion a tad bit more colourful.

How did the idea for Ying the Label transpire?

I always had a passion for painting. Therefore, I decided that I wanted to use my passion, and hopefully talent and translate them into wearable art. That was how Ying started.

Who is behind the brand and what roles do they play?

I am the person in charge of designs and conceptualising. I do have a great family who supports me, and 2 staff who helps me with marketing and sales, as well as operations.

Li Ying, Ying the Label | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

Tell us about your design process.

I get inspired by my everyday, and usually by emotions. Colour palettes are highly dependent on my thoughts and emotions. I love painting abstract flowers and nature. Hence, I draw my inspirations from landscapes and nature, but I paint them as my own interpretation. 

Every art piece has a story behind it. Once I am done painting, I then discuss with my team on how this can be translated onto fabrics and made into clothes. Hence, my silhouettes are not usually complicated, but very easy to wear, as I like the art to take the spotlight.

How was this process affected when introducing digital printing? Was there a difference in method/quality since you’ve used digital printing methods in previous collections?

Digital print, especially the technology that Epson provides, allow me to firstly replicate my art pieces almost exactly onto fabrics. Also, it gives me the flexibility of printing lesser minimum order quantities (MOQ), and I am able to make my art pieces more exclusive. The turn around time is fast, and it really makes the whole process more efficient.

Tell us more about your collection, The Moment.

The moment was inspired by my exact thoughts of the moment. I was going through a time where I felt that I needed to take the time to enjoy the moments I was in – be it the happiness and contentment I ought to have from my achievements to the times where I struggled but found a silver lining. These are emotions we all go through, and I used abstract brush strokes to tell these stories.

What is your take on integrating fashion with technology?

I am a big supporter. I believe as traditional as fashion can get, it is important that we consider using technology to improve our processes and make our products more reliable.

It takes the right people and the right opportunity before we can take things to the next level. We are really lucky that right now, we are seeing lots of support from TaFf, as well as giants like Epson.

 

Li Ying, Ying the Label | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

Image: Ying the Label at FUZE FashionIsTech 2017

What are your top tips for emerging designers?

I would say I am still an emerging designer, but to me – it’s all about being yourself. You need to feel the passion for inspiring people with what you do. Let your designs reflect who you are. Be truly passionate – you will realise this is what keeps you up all night, and it will be all worth it.

I think everyone will need some help at some point in time, and thus, I truly am thankful for TAFF’s help so far. They have opened up new doors and channels and this is something to consider when you are starting out.

How would you describe your personal style? Does it translate to your designs?

Yeah, I mean there are days I dress in solids, but even so, I love clashing the colours. I enjoy dressing vibrantly. I embrace prints a lot!

How would you describe the style/vibe of your city?

Singapore is an interesting place. We are a very vibrant city, because of our diversification. I think I can someday paint something that reflects Singapore as a nation.

In your opinion, what’s the current state of the fashion industry in Singapore?

I think we are in a good position, as we have always been a star in Asia. However, the creative industry will take some time to really gain exposure. We have talents, I believe, but it is not easy to get our voices heard because we are still a small nation and creative expression is not as simple as it looks.

It takes the right people and the right opportunity before we can take things to the next level. We are really lucky that right now, we are seeing lots of support from Taff, as well as giants like Epson. For instance, the recent collaboration with Taff and Epson at FashionTech has opened up doors for me in terms of manufacturing choices, as well as new connections.

What’s your approach to business?

Make mistakes along the way, but never make it twice. Be out there, and be humble. Only then, you get into the right conversations, and you make real friends who will be there to grow with you.

What do you do in your downtime?

Paint? Other than that, whenever I feel stressed, I go for a run. It gives me time to think.

Shop the Story

All images courtesy of Ying the Label, Li Ying and TaFf.

Ying the Label is available online and at these stockists.

Chiang Xiaojun, Pleatation

Chiang Xiaojun, the founder of Singapore-based boutique, PLEATATION, reveals how she fused fashion with technology in her latest Resort 1718 collection.


 

Chiang Xiaojun, Pleatation | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa
Chiang Xiaojun, Pleatation | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

From doodling dresses during her pre-teen days to attaining a degree in Fashion Design, Xiaojun’s path to pursuing her dream may have been clear-cut but the process was far from glamorous. Nonetheless, the countless hours behind the sewing machine paid off as Xiaojun is now the founder and designer of Singapore’s first pleat-focus concept label, Pleatation.

Launched in 2012, the women’s fashion label carries a multitude of designs and styles with various patterns and choices of pleats. One of the things we love about Xiaojun is that she is always evolving. 

She recently collaborated with Textile & Fashion Federation Singapore (TaFf) and took part in FashionisTech 2017, an initiative that encourages the integration of fashion and technology. In her latest Resort 1718 collection, Xiaojun adopts new digital printing techniques using innovative dye sublimation and direct-to-garment printing technologies from printing company Epson Singapore. Xiaojun tells more.

I think it is really important to move with the times. I believe that it would be a perfect blend to be able to balance a digitalised brand that still has a human aesthetic.

 

Chiang Xiaojun, Pleatation | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

Image: Founder, Chiang Xiaojun

Pleatation is a pleat-focused concept store. How did the idea of using pleats as a foundation of your designs come to be?

Ever since I graduated from fashion school, an opportunity came by for me to run a pleating production company. Since then, we have been doing all kinds of pleating production for designers and manufacturers.

I realised that this pleating technique was really an art (a dying art in fact!) and it held so many possibilities in creation. So I started doodling again, and that’s how Pleatation started! We became a brand that focuses in all sorts of pleated products, not just in fashion, but also in stationery, home and lifestyle.

How did your collaboration with FashionisTech 2017/TaFf happen?

So middle of last year, TaFf approached me on this interesting project, where they wanted to fuse technology with fashion. The partner they had in mind for me was Epson, a company that specialises in digital printing. I thought it was a good mix of brands, as my design sense is also strong in colour and prints – so it was good to be able to see how we could work together in bringing out the kind of vibrancy I wanted in my designs through digital printing.

You’ve collaborated with Epson to use digital printing in your latest Resort 1718 collection, Le Enchant. Tell us more about the design process. 

For the Resort 1718 collection, the inspiration really came about mostly from wanting to challenge the vibrancy of colours Epson printers could achieve. I wanted to find out if they could really print a colour that was vibrant, and not stray from my original artwork. I came about a beautiful image of an enchanted forest and started researching more about different forests in the world and how they look during different seasons and weathers.

I got inspired by the colour palette and decided to adapt and translate it into this collection. At the start, I was pretty concerned that the colours of the print might appear too dull, and may not represent my brand very well. So I also prepared different versions of the original artwork in different vibrancy and saturation levels just to ensure I could reprint in time if the colour didn’t come out as anticipated.

Surprisingly, the result was better than I expected. The colours were very vibrant – in fact, even more, saturated than I expected it to be! Through this collection, I realised that this was also a great way to create a stronger branding for Pleatation, by subtly having the brand name printed onto the fabrics without being too loud or too showy.

What is your take on integrating fashion with technology?

I think it is really important to move with the times. Technology is so updated now, we even have ‘sewbots‘ that can do the sewing for you. It feels like one day we wouldn’t even need a human production team anymore. Having said that, we definitely still need the human touch. I believe that it would be a perfect blend to be able to balance a digitalised brand that still has a human aesthetic.

Do you have any advice for emerging designers/new store owners?

It’s important to know what’s trending and improving around you. With the advancement of technology, it would be beneficial to learn more about it and see how it can be advantageous in growing your brand.

In your opinion, what is the current and future state of the fashion industry in Singapore?

I feel that Singaporeans have taken a step up compared to 5 years ago. Consumers are daring to dress, and they are more fashion conscious, constantly keeping tabs on the trends around the world. I think that’s great, but I feel that our culture is still not open enough in setting trends in Singapore (accepted trends, that is!). We tend to follow trends based on European styles and what is popular at the moment.

What is your wardrobe philosophy?

Colours! I think what you wear speaks a lot about yourself.

How would you describe your personal style? Does it translate to your designs?

I love colours! I do have my occasional days of all-black wear, those are probably my lazy days when I just don’t feel like dressing up. But on usual days, I love prints and happy colours. It really brightens up your day and styling up with accessories is always fun!

Yes, it definitely translates to my designs – I have always been with colours even when I was younger, I love to mix and match colours and prints. You can totally see them in all the colours and prints available in our store.

Shop the Story

All images courtesy of Pleatation and Chiang Xiaojun.

Shop online and at various stockists in Asia.

THE COMPLEAT STORE
#03-33 Raffles City
252 North Bridge Road
Singapore 179103

Ung Yiu Lin, ShoesShoesShoes & KLutched

Meet Ung Yiu Lin, founder and designer of ShoesShoesShoes and KLutched as she chats about the evolution of these KL-based brands, the importance of good value and how she juggles work and life while staying sassy and chic.


 

ShoesShoesShoes | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

When people say dreams do come true, that’s exactly what happened to Ung Yiu Lin, founder and designer of ShoesShoesShoes and KLutched. “10 years ago, it started with a dream of wanting all Malaysian ladies to be able to afford walking out of a store with 3 fabulous well-made shoes and without feeling guilty”, says Yiu Lin. That’s how the moniker, ShoesShoesShoes came about.

A brand that offers the latest trends in footwear and accessories, made of quality materials, at a great price was Yiu Lin’s ultimate goal. ShoesShoesShoes naturally evolved from shoes and clutches to clothes. “We have expanded our shoe line to bridal and kids shoes too, head to toe solutions from sunglasses to bags and clothing”, added Yiu Lin.

ShoesShoesShoes | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa
ShoesShoesShoes | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

KLutched came about, as Yiu Lin wanted a business model as opposed to the one she had for ShoesShoesShoes. The latter was more focused on actual physical retail expansion and besides being capital intensive, it was also very tiring and she was bogged down with HR related issues. Therefore, KLutched took on a distributorship model. “We sold to stockists on a wholesale basis, through trade shows such as Tranoi in Paris. This gave me a good balance between managing ShoesShoesShoes and my new label, KLutched,” said Yiu Lin.

A mother of two beautiful daughters, Yiu Lin definitely lives up to her motto of “living life to the fullest.” One can see how passionate she is about what she does, multitasking between motherhood and work, still making time for her friends, family and husband, while travelling for work and leisure. What’s more, she does this with absolute ease, looking sassy and chic.

Her fashion style resembles a chameleon. She could go from corporate-chic for business meetings, to edgy-fun for a fashion event. To her, fashion is fun, experimenting with different looks by pushing the envelope when it comes to style but also to remain comfortable and confident. “Yes, I always wear my own brand or brands that we sell in the stores. I have always been an avid supporter of local and regional talents’.

ShoesShoesShoes | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa
ShoesShoesShoes | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

“The most important criteria when doing a collaboration is to make sure that both parties would achieve a win-win outcome. It can’t be one-sided.”


 

Yiu Lin’s academic background in Accounting and Finance and Applied Finance helped frame her way of thinking. “It gave me a sharp analytical thought process, which is a strong fundamental in building the blocks of any business,” she said.

When you walk into any four of ShoesShoesShoes outlets, you can also see many other local brands such as Ezurin Laboratories, Thavia, Alia Bastamam, Ezzati Amira and more. Yiu Lin believes that she is her own customer; therefore she only chooses brands and collections that she feels strongly about and that she would buy and wear. “I always like to apply the concept of “good value” to all the items that we sell in the stores, that a customer walks away knowing that they got a good buy, and it’s something unique or different as to what’s out there in the market.”

In the near future, Yiu Lin will be creating a ShoesShoesShoes capsule clothing collection for Raya 2017. “Since my business was funded by my own capital, I never had much (or any) of an Advertising and Promotion budget. Our Facebook and Instagram pages really allowed us to show our unique identity and products to an audience that stretches beyond the areas where our stores are located and even to an international audience.”

Shop the Collection

ShoesShoesShoes | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

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Fern Maburu long sleeve shirt

ShoesShoesShoes | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

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Lolita Classic Pumps

ShoesShoesShoes | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

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Fern Kosetsu pants

ShoesShoesShoes | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

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Tassled Pointy Flats

Visit ShoesShoesShoes at one of these outlets or shop online.

All images courtesy of ShoesShoesShoes.

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