“When I was younger, both of my grandfathers were in the textile and tailoring business. I lived with one of them at his shophouse on Purvis Street when I was about five. At the time, I didn’t really understand what he was doing when he tailored suits for men, but that was probably my first exposure to style.
I really got into style and fashion when I worked part-time at White Room over 10 years ago. It was one of the first few shops to open at Haji Lane before the whole street got hyped up. Subsequently, I helped manage a smart casual menswear brand at Orchard Cineleisure. I worked there for eight years!
I was involved in the entire business. I dealt with the finances, design, staffing, operations – everything basically. That’s why it wasn’t scary when I branched out on my own and launched my own streetwear brand. It’s called CHPLCO (Chapel Co). It has nothing to do with Christianity, but it does stand for unity.
A religion can bring people together regardless of their differences, so that’s the ideology behind the brand. I’m also working with another local brand called Weekend Warriors currently. Our collaboration line is called Few and Far Between because we sell vintage items that are scarce and rare.
Yeah; I do enjoy designing my own stuff. I used to be a graphic designer, and that job was a pain in the ass. Whatever you do belongs to the client, so nothing is really yours. With clothes, I can do what I want, and fans of my designs can follow my brand. I don’t have to follow what clients want anymore.
Go back to when you were 17. You were free from a lot of things, so you’re allowed to imagine and dream of what you really want. As you grow older, you’re steered towards a different direction because of societal and parental pressures. As designers, we go back to when we were young and create what we truly want – I mean, that’s why Disney is so successful.” – Zhong Ming, 30