Through the years, we’ve met with people from all walks of lives who’ve shared with us a small part oft heir lives and little factoids or nifty tricks that we’ve incorporated into our own knowledge bank. Ernie is one such person—we met first in 2012, while he was still a full-time clothesmith and had the chance to see style from a fresh perspective. Over the years, we saw him tackle various challenges and interesting career changes. Today, we take the time to see how he’s progressed since our first meeting, and where he hopes the road ahead takes him.
As part of the feature, we revisited some of the questions we had previously asked Ernie in our past interviews, to see what has changed since then..
What do you personally look for when you accessorise an outfit?
If we’re talking about shoes, my answer will always be the same: shape and form. As for accessorising an outfit, I look for textures and proportions. I like it when there’s contrast in an outfit—refined versus casual, smooth versus rough, loose versus fitted.
What are some of the items in your wardrobe or on your dresser that you can’t live without?
My current job requires me to run around and be more active, so I have swapped some used-to-be staples for new options. Nowadays, my dresser is filled with plain navy blue or black cotton tees, my ever comfy Nike Flyknits and a slightly risqué Jasmin et Cigarette perfume by Etat Libre D’orange.
Do you believe in routine or spontaneity, both at work and off-work?
I do believe in routines, but I never liked the idea of aimlessly going through the motions of things. We like routines because it makes us comfortable and empowered, thinking that we are in control of our lives. I love writing a to-do list every morning. It keeps me guided and productive throughout the day since you can get distracted easily.
What’s the one thing you think you wish you had more time to do?
Travelling and just spending time with myself. I know it’s hard to do it now and we’re all itching to hop onto a plane and just scoot somewhere, anywhere! I went to Bali last Chinese New year before Covid-19 shook the world. It was my first time in Bali (yes, I’m that late to the game!), and I spent most of the time alone for five days.
I just want to be alone in a place full of people that I don’t know. As much of a social creature that I am, I like spending time with myself and getting to know who I truly am without anyone else. Since I’m going to be stuck with myself for a long time, I better make sure he’s interesting.
Who is your all-time favourite musician or band?
I still listen to Little Dragon from time to time, their Ritual Union album would always be an all-time favourite. Currently, I’m listening to a wide range of artists. I find the underground or Indie music scene is far more inspiring than mainstream music. With the proliferation of music streaming applications like Spotify, Soundcloud, and Apple Music, discovering new musical style and flavours are easily accessible and digestible for people.
I like listening to more modern artists (SG Lewis, Drama, Alina Baraz, Emotional Oranges, Shallou, Satin Jackets) mixed with my old school ones (Prince, Roisin Murphy, Telepopmusik, Goldfrapp, Massive Attack, Daft Punk, Fat Boy Slim, TLC).
After going through some familiar throwbacks from the past, we also asked Ernie some questions about his future plans, and chatted about how the Circuit Breaker has brought some changes into his life.
Last time we spoke, you were part of a bespoke tailoring store and was contributing to a couple of style blogs as well. Fast forward 5 years later: share with us more about how your career has changed?
Together with two other partners, we founded Pulse Patisserie in 2015, a contemporary pastry shop that focuses on modern flavour pairings and techniques. We use cakes & pastries to connect with people through each cake’s stories and design. The brand is female-forward, celebrating the complicated yet beautiful nature of women. We want to break through the prejudice that beautiful cakes usually have lacklustre flavours, to explore the different facets of sweetness. It’s one of the most rewarding and yet challenging jobs I have ever had. It made me grow exponentially, not just as a business owner but also as a human being.
What would you say is the most fulfilling part of your job? Tell us more about it!
Design and food are love made visible. When we get to create anything—from a product to an ad campaign down to designing a sticker—it excites me to see how people would engage and respond to it. We’re giving a nugget of our minds and manifesting that to a tangible form. Understanding how people would interact with that thought gives me profound pleasure and fulfilment.
How has your personal style changed over the years?
After starting Pulse Patisserie back in 2015, my dressing changed drastically, but my style never changed. It’s just adapting to what my day requires from me. On my off days, I dress up a bit more. I guess even when I’m eighty years old in my wheelchair, I’d still like to wear seersucker trousers and polo tees in my retirement home; still preppy chic with a hint of flamboyance. I want to make sure Ralph Lauren would be proud.
A style faux pas that you feel is being committed far too often:
Singlet and slippers—unless you’re going to the beach, pool party or just a quick run at the hawker nearby, you shouldn’t be seen in such attire.
If you could bring a fashion trend back from any era, what would it be and why?
The rebellious part of the 50’s era. Think James Dean in a coiffed up hair, leather or varsity jacket and white t-shirt.
Recommend us a book that’s left a particularly deep impact on you over the past year:
I was reading Oprah’s Super Soul Sundays when I was in Bali, and I loved how it read so effortlessly. The book tackles life-long learnings and spirituality of remarkable people that she interviewed throughout the years.
Most people confuse spirituality with religion or faith. I think you can be religious but not spiritual and vice versa. Spirituality is about the relationship you have with your inner soul. It’s an introspective journey towards realising your fullest potential, to seek the truest and most genuine expression of who you are and becoming it.
We know how much you love your jazz music: if you had to choose three tracks to create a playlist to let people know you more, what would be the tracks included inside?
- My Baby Just Cares for Me by Jeff Goldblum & The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra
- Manhattan by Blossom Dearie
- Berimbau by Sergio Mendez & Brasil ’66
It’s been a hectic time for all of us—what are some self-care practices you’ve incorporated into your routine these days?
I hated running, and anything cardio related but I started running a lot during the CB period. The lockdown pushed me to give it a shot, and now I can’t stop! It helps me focus and reflect on the things I need to do and what else I can do. We’re so fortunate to live in such a beautiful country where there are scenic running trails around the city. It’s these little luxuries that make me grateful to be here right now.
Laughing is a natural remedy. So I do watch a lot of stand up comedy specials on Youtube. The quick-witted Joan Rivers, may her soul rest in peace, is one of my all-time favourites. I think humour is such a good gauge when you’re getting to know someone. It’s a litmus test for any relationship.
Revisiting your first feature in 2012, what would you tell/advise your past self?
I’d tell my younger self to be less judgemental of people. Don’t let your emotions get in the way of the bigger picture. You’re just a part of the puzzle and an instrument to serve a higher purpose, so don’t be selfish. Life is not like Burger King, you can’t always have it your way! Everything will start falling into place, and things will start making sense the moment you realise that.