Singapore Stories 2023 Gala "Kebaya Re-imagined"
As the Creative Director for my independent label, I was thrilled to receive an invitation earlier in June while I was enjoying a summer break in Madrid. The invitation was no ordinary one—it was a coveted opportunity to participate in the inaugural Singapore Stories Gala 2023, with the intriguing theme of "Kebaya Re-imagined."
What sets this year's gala apart from previous editions is its refreshing non-competition format. The event promised a curated showcase featuring 31 selected designers, a departure from the usual competitive atmosphere.
After approximately four months of dedicated work, last night's Singapore Fashion Council Singapore Stories 2023 Gala was nothing short of spectacular. It brought together a vibrant and beautiful gathering of attendees, designers, and models, all adorned in various interpretations of the iconic kebaya, both on and off the runway.
For me, the experience was a blend of deep satisfaction and nostalgia. The journey leading up to this event had been a whirlwind of exploration and growth as a designer. I ventured into uncharted territories and embraced several "firsts" throughout this creative odyssey.
Firstly, I had the privilege of using custom printed knit fabric, with the added thrill of designing the print myself, featuring premium licensed watercolor paintings. This allowed me to infuse a unique artistic touch into my creation.
Next, I set out to discover a new production studio in an unfamiliar city, meticulously researching and selecting the perfect partners for textile fabrication. This venture was an important step in bringing my vision to life.
Creating the accessories for this ensemble was another exciting first for me. I meticulously designed and handcrafted each piece, leaving no room for compromise on quality and elegance. The intricate handweaving of the shawl and bracelet cuffs was a labor of love, consuming over 44 hours and featuring 1800+ freshwater pearls.
Additionally, I embarked on a journey to source gemstones and jewelry from new suppliers and studios. The result of this endeavor was the exquisite Lotus Earrings, which will be a part of our upcoming collection in 2024. I couldn't have been more thrilled to present them alongside the entire look and receive such heartwarming reviews.
But my commitment goes beyond just showcasing a final look at a fashion event. I am passionate about sharing my creative process, which I believe is an integral part of the design journey. My presentation began as a mere entry and evolved significantly as I delved deeper into my creative process. There's nothing more gratifying for me than the simultaneous process of research and drawing inspiration for my creative endeavors.
I take great pride in being a mentor and sharing my knowledge with aspiring designers. Since 2019, I've had the privilege of guiding and inspiring multiple batches of student designers at Raffles Institution's fashion design club, Raffles Runway. It has been a rewarding experience to help nurture and encourage the next generation of fashion visionaries.
If you're curious to explore the inner workings of my designer's mind, I invite you to click here. My hope is that by sharing my journey, I can inspire others to pursue their passions and continue creating art.
With love and gratitude,