What’s something that has changed since the last time we met you?
I started making my own clothes! Recently, I started to ask myself a lot of questions about fast fashion and consumerism in general. I actually set a $500 budget for myself just to spend on clothes for the entire year of 2021. Other than that, I also explored making my own clothes and it was quite a nice journey. I’ve always been into sewing, but making clothes was pretty different since it is a very public showcase of what your personal style is, and I guess it allowed me to explore a lot more of my own interests and try to make clothes that I want to see on the streets but don’t see.
How would you describe your personal style now?
I’m trying to find an eclectic mix between prints and classic silhouettes. I actually made these overalls from a funky print I found from this really cute mom-and-pop textile shop in Chinatown called Lee Ann Textiles. The cool thing about making your own clothes is that once you know how a certain silhouette fits you, it’s easy to just switch out the material/pattern, i.e. denim or corduroy, while keeping the same shape and form. In that sense, I think this is more sustainable for me.
What’s something that you’ve learnt through making your own clothes?
I’ve learnt a lot about the chain of production. There’re many things I can’t make, like shoes, because material-wise, that’s more inaccessible. I also learnt a lot on overcoming my own inertia and taking that leap to make my own clothes. I think what really pushed me to dive into this was when I was scrolling through TikTok and saw these massive fast fashion haul videos that people were creating. When you’re younger, you don’t really notice these things much, but I think now, you feel that responsibility to do something. And sometimes, it’s difficult to bring out your Tupperware all the time, so I guess I’m doing my part in my own way (laughs).
Personally, something you’re working on being better at is:
I’m working on being better at managing my time! I have so much going on all the time—with work, family and friends, my hobbies, and ongoing projects like We Told You Sew which organises workshops, takes on commissions and so on—so sometimes it’s difficult to find time to just sit down and spend alone time, even reading a book! I upped my reading goal to 25 books in 2021, and I’m about two books behind schedule now so I definitely need to catch up!
What’s a book that you’d recommend?
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet—I picked this up with zero expectations and finished it in two days. I love books on race, identity, and belonging, and this book covered all three, while balancing these nuanced topics with ease. It’s completely absorbing, and the characters and issues tackled truly show the progress of American race relations over the last generation.