You’re half of the team behind Underground Market—tell us more about the process of creating this project!
When Pia, the co-founder of Underground Market (UM), and I were students, we used to have so much clothes in our wardrobes that have been worn only once or twice before donating, which we felt was quite a waste. At that point, we had a few friends who were fellow fashion bloggers, so we thought—why not bring everyone together for a flea market? That’s how UM started and it’s been going ever since.
Every round, we bring on board different people with varied fashion sense so that the collections are diverse. Over the years, we’ve also tried out different locations. It started quite small—we used to hold it at Pia’s place—and then we realised we could branch out into other locations because the event was getting bigger. For us, it’s about seeing where we can bring fashion.
You’re now into the 13th iteration of UM—what keeps you going year after year?
When we first started, it wasn’t a venture made for profit. Even now, we don’t earn much from it. What keeps us going is that firstly, we really want to clear our wardrobes (laughs). Ultimately, our audience appreciates fashion and branded goods.
The flea is more about re-homing quality goods and be advocates of the circular economy. It’s quite a niche flea and this has been our USP over the years to attract crowds year after year.
What’s an item you sold off for the largest discount?
I just sold off a Givenchy dress for $30 (laughs). I’ve also sold off Balenciaga shoes for around $100. It pains me every time I sell these items because I collected them over the years working in fashion.
Along with the flea, how has your own understanding and perception of fashion changed?
As we get older, we realise that it’s better to pass on these beautiful items to people who’ll really wear them so that they won’t go to waste. It goes back to the idea of a circular economy and reducing waste in fashion. We’re also careful not to impulse buy anymore but think long-term about each piece that we purchase, because we’ve started to think more about sustainability for future generations.
What’s a fact about yourself that most people might not know?
I love to read; I could just lay on my bed and spend the whole day reading but I don’t have the luxury to do that as much. Maybe I’ll set this as a goal I want to achieve this year: to read more.
Apart from running Underground Market and having a full-time job, we know you’re also a mother.
I have two children, aged two and six, and something I’m grateful for is that I had my children relatively early—now that I’m a little older, I’m really starting to feel how much energy you need to keep up with the younger kid (laughs). My youngest is a boy, and he has so much energy compared to my older one who’s a girl.
If you had to choose between being able to speak every human language in the world and being able to speak to all animals, which one would you choose and why?
I’d choose to be able to speak every human language in the world. I’ve always wanted to pick up more languages so this would be a dream.