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Fashion Asia's Most Stylish: 7 Trailblazers in Singapore's Fashion Scene

Asia's Most Stylish: 7 Trailblazers in Singapore's Fashion Scene

Jasmine Sokko
Jasmine Sokko wears a Versace jacket, Cartier rings, and her own mask
By Tatler Singapore
October 02, 2020
Their styles range from minimalist chic to rock 'n' roll with a little bit of glam. But one thing's for sure, these stylesetters from Singapore celebrate fashion freedom and are unafraid to make sartorially bold choices. Here, we ask them to share their biggest style influences, their current stay-home gear and more
Ben Kheng
Kheng wears a Fendi outfit, Hermès boots, and his own earrings

1/7 Benjamin Kheng

How would you describe your personal style?

Benjamin Kheng (BK) Childish adult-chic, grown-up-kid and FUNctional.

Was there a moment you remember of making your biggest fashion mistake/regret that you wish you could erase? 

BK The moment happens every other month. But I do have deep regret for the time I wore a wide brim hat over a hoodie with the cowl on. I’m so dumb.

Do you remember your first biggest splurge? What was it and why that item? 

BK Strangely I don’t splurge on singular items, but I might feel a little crazy one day and order a bunch of normcore items in the hundreds. I once bought $300 worth of Nicholas Cage-themed shirts, which really tells you about the human I am.

What has become your stay-at-home uniform during this crazy year? 

BK There was a week where I routinely wore a poncho-hoodie over my boxers just because I could.

What is something you own that no one would ever guess would belong to you? What is the story behind this item? 

BK I have about 5 steampunk goggles, because I am, as I've said, a grown-up kid. I used them for a couple of music videos, but I definitely used that as an excuse to buy them.

Who is your unlikely Style Hero and why? 

BK Cara Delevingne, who can really do no wrong. She’s quite a gender-boundary pusher in the fashion sense, and I really dig that.

(Related: Asia’s Most Stylish: Meet Yoyo Cao, the Social Media Superstar)

Dawn Koh
Koh wears a Fendi dress, top, and Cartier rings, bracelets

2/7 Dawn Koh

How would you describe your personal style?

Dawn Koh (DK) Timeless, clean and simple silhouettes. Nothing beats a good blazer, denim jeans and a crisp white shirt!

Was there a moment you remember of making your biggest fashion mistake/regret that you wish you could erase?

DK Right off the bat I would say harem pants. They did not do me any justice.

Do you remember your biggest splurge? What was it and why that item?

DK A fully studded leather trench by Burberry Prorsum. It is absolutely stunning and truly hard to forget as it weighs about 10kg!

(Related: Mother-Daughter Duo Ginny Ng And Dawn Koh Look To Prada For Effortless Style)

What has become your stay-at-home uniform during this crazy year?

DK Pyjamas and lots of shorts. I do miss dressing up though.

What is something you own that no one would ever guess would belong to you?

DK Patent leather thigh-high boots that I would possibly never wear again.

What is the story behind this item?

DK I bought it on a whim. It was a cold winter when I was a student in London and I thought they would keep me warm. Totally impractical!

Who is your unlikely Style Hero and why?

DK Most of my style icons are men, like David Bowie, Mick Jagger and James Dean. I absolutely adore their styles and I draw huge inspiration from them.

Karen Ong Tan
Ong-Tan wears a Fendi coat, belt, Hermès boots, Cartier rings

3/7 Karen Ong-Tan

How would you describe your personal style?

Karen Ong-Tan (KO) Deliberate, feminine and sharp. I recognise that it also continues to evolve as I continue to learn more about myself.

Was there a moment you remember of making your biggest fashion mistake/regret that you wish you could erase?

KO The short answer is no. Mistakes assume that there are absolute sacrosanct rules in fashion, and there shouldn’t be. Long answer is—still no. On a more serious note, I make a continuous and deliberate effort to not allow things around me to trigger or generate the emotion of regret. Until time travel (back into the past) can become a reality, any form of regret is a painful one-way downward spiral that I feel strongly should be avoided at all costs. When it comes to fashion, I thoroughly enjoy the process of styling my outfits but don’t take myself too seriously. I believe that the outfit is merely a momentary expression of how I feel that day, not a permanent reflection of who I am. 

What has become your stay-at-home uniform during this crazy year?

KO Ah, the crazyville of 2020... I’ve spent most of my time indoors, constantly rotating all day between the kitchen, [my husband] Sam’s study, [my daughter] Kara’s study and occasionally my pilates mat. On days that I stay in—my favourites are maxi dresses, and cotton and silk pieces from Loro Piana, Cult Gaia and Jacquemus. Almost all are sleeveless for practical (and fire safety!) reasons because I spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

We make it a point to spend afternoons at various parks on three to four weekdays every week as it is less crowded than on weekends. I have started to wear On Cloud sneakers religiously as my off-duty footwear ever since I broke my metatarsal during parkour last year. For sportswear, oldies but goodies, Adidas by Stella McCartney, and Lululemon!

(Related: Homeschooling In Singapore: Ex-Lawyer Karen Ong-Tan On How She Knew It Was The Right Choice)

Who is your unlikely Style Hero and why?

KO Freddie Mercury. I deeply admire his bravery in doing things in the style he believed best suited him, even if it was not always given the thumbs up by the public. I can’t say that I admire his fashion sense, but I certainly love his style!

4/7 Jasmine Sokko

How would you describe your personal style?

Jasmine Sokko (JS) Futurism in black essence.

Was there a moment you remember of making your biggest fashion mistake/regret that you wish you could erase?

JS Turning up in winter clothes in summer countries—I can't seem to learn from this mistake though...

Do you remember your first biggest splurge? What was it and why that item?

JS I choose not to remember. I usually justify big buys by assigning objects shelf lives then depreciate them along the years to dilute the impact of the upfront damage incurred.

What has become your stay-at-home uniform during this crazy year?

JS My pyjamas pants—the tops change regularly depending on the video calls.

(Related: Look Good While Staying Home In Singapore: The Cutest Loungewear Sets And Pyjamas)

What is something you own that no one would ever guess would belong to you? What is the story behind this item?

JS A pink shirt because my entire wardrobe's black. The story behind this item is utilitarian—it's an undercover outfit for me to sneak out of the backstage to join the audience in the crowd.

Who is your unlikely Style Hero and why? 

JS My dad who owns over 100 different plaid shirts from British India. There's something admirable about his consistency.

5/7 Ginette Chittick

Ginnette Chittick
Chittick wears a Stella McCartney dress, Roger Vivier shoes, Versace earrings

How would you describe your personal style?

Ginette Chittick (GC) My personal style is rock and roll-grunge meets frou-frou.

Was there a moment you remember of making your biggest fashion mistake/regret that you wish you could erase?

GC My biggest fashion mistake was definitely the baguette bag of the 90s. What was I thinking!

Do you remember your first biggest splurge? What was it and why that item?

GC My first biggest splurge was a second-hand car I bought in my 20s. Never owned another since! I needed it as I lived and worked in two opposite ends of Singapore and was completing my Master's degree full-time, working full-time and was also a resident DJ at the legendary Home Club. It was pretty intense.

What has become your stay-at-home uniform during this crazy year?

GC I live in my ratty rock tees and denim shorts.

What is something you own that no one would ever guess would belong to you? What is the story behind this item?

GC I don’t know why I bought it but I have a silver Chloé Paddington bag. I found it at a Zouk Flea and Easy flea market booth in the early 2000s. Wasn’t cheap and it’s totally inconvenient and heavy! I have barely used it. Does anyone want to buy it off me?

Who is your unlikely Style Hero and why?

GC My unlikely style hero is Glenn Close’s character in Fatal Attraction. I love what the stylist did with her look. Belts, shoulder pads and that colour palette! Sign me up for that look!

6/7 Yu Yah-Leng

Yah Leng Yu
Yu wears a Salvatore Ferragamo shirt, trousers. and her own socks, sneakers

How would you describe your personal style?

Yu Yah-Leng (YYL) I like comfort and simplicity with an interesting twist—whether it’s a clever cutting or an interesting detail. I love the utilitarian look inspired workwear and military wear. In fact, I do wear actual workwear paired with sneakers. Also, I am a Commes des Garcons fan girl so yes, low-crotch pants are my thing as well.

Was there a moment you remember of making your biggest fashion mistake/regret that you wish you could erase?

YYL I wore a long vintage tweed coat and vintage baseball T-shirt with a long-sleeved denim shirt under it and 501 Levi jeans with holes to a party where everyone was dressed in slick black tuxedos and formalwear. Definitely felt odd and out of place. I learnt to remember to read the dress code stated on invitations for future events; not to strictly follow it but to at least have an idea of the situation.

Do you remember your first biggest splurge? What was it and why that item?

YYL It was a Burberry peacoat I got half-priced at the outlet stores when I was living in the US. As you know, I love utilitarian and military-inspired style and a peacoat is a bit of a timeless piece that I felt was worthy to invest in. Plus, it was truly wicked cold in Boston when I was a student.

What has become your stay-at-home uniform during this crazy year?

YYL A T-shirt and super breathable Dry-Ex jogger pants by Uniqlo.

What is something you own that no one would ever guess would belong to you? What is the story behind this item?

YYL Maybe a pair of heels. I stopped wearing these shoes for more than 15 years ago—the last time I put them on was when my sister got married.

Who is your unlikely Style Hero and why?

YYL Jane Lane in Daria—she was just being herself without needing to follow the lead of others. I love that confidence and the defiance of the norm. Also at one point: Uma Thurman in the Kill Bill yellow suit and also the OG Bruce Lee where he donned the same sports suit. I love athletic wear. So simple and strong. 

7/7 Mae Tan

Tan wears an embellished wool sweater, nylon utility skirt, leather belt and woven fabric belt, all by Prada; Tatler Singapore file image
Tan wears an embellished wool sweater, nylon utility skirt, leather belt and woven fabric belt, all by Prada; Tatler Singapore file image

How would you describe your personal style?

Mae Tan (MT) My personal style is eclectic! I’m constantly playing around with modern twists with inspiration from the past!

Was there a moment you remember of making your biggest fashion mistake/regret that you wish you could erase?

MT My biggest mistake would have to be wearing red hot shorts and a green 'Mr Tickle' T-shirt paired with blue hair extensions. A nightmare!

Do you remember your first biggest splurge? What was it and why that item?

MT My first biggest splurge was a Proenza Schouler PS1.

What has become your stay-at-home uniform during this crazy year?

MT Pangia sweat sets!

What is something you own that no one would ever guess would belong to you and what's the story behind this item?

MT A DIY cropped tank top passed down from my mom. My mum was clearing her wardrobe many years ago and I saw a Mango tank top that she didn’t want anymore! So I took it and made it new by giving it a snip! 

Who is your unlikely Style Hero and why?

MT My unlikely style hero is Dennis Rodman. Disco-ready with a fluid style and grunge with a little glam!

(Related: Star Of Netflix's Singapore Social Mae Tan Reveals Behind-The-Scenes Details About The Show To Singapore Tatler)

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