You run a company that’s focused on responsible and ethical fashion—tell us what sparked the interest initially?
It was sparked through an accumulation of experiences—in a nutshell, I’d become a bit tired of the industry even though I still loved the essence of my job and the creativity that came with it. Things were starting to feel repetitive, and I felt that the narrative behind many mainstream brands lacked substance.
I’ve always been a supporter of local brands and Asian designers, many of which were doing things ‘sustainably’ before the term became popularised. I was also fascinated by how beautiful, creative, and well-made their products were and how connected they were to their supply chain. That cycle of connection—from brand to production to consumer—I found extremely interesting and enriching, which was why I started ZERRIN, my own fashion website.
Fast fashion tends to be the cheaper option for many of us—how do you think everyday folks can practice shopping more responsibly, even if they’re on a budget?
First off: do not buy anything if you don’t need or truly love it. Fast fashion preys off of us not being in tune with our personal style. Finding ways to identify what you really feel good in is key to ultimately knowing what to buy less of, and therefore buy better.
Other cost effective ways are clothes swapping or thrifting. You can still get the thrill of a deal and satisfy that sense of ‘newness’, but through a second-hand channel. It’s how I’ve found some of my favourite pieces.
‘Sustainable fashion’ can look like many things to many people—and that’s okay! I realised I started spending less money when I quit fast fashion and began to choose quality items. Ultimately, sustainability is a mindset shift and lifestyle change.
Share with us a little more about your favourite corner in the house.
I love sitting in this corner with the natural light streaming in during the mornings and reading a book with a cup of green tea. That’s my ‘ideal’ way of starting the day, rather than heading straight to my laptop at 7AM and getting lost in work, which is what I probably do 75% of the time.
What’s one life lesson you learnt during your years of marriage?
My husband and I were together for seven years before getting married. We have things we have in common—our values and the way we see the world—but also things that make us very different. I think any compatible relationship, marriage or otherwise, is about compromise and learning how to honour and celebrate those differences.
If you had to choose three songs to form the soundtrack of your life, what would they be?
Choosing individual songs would be really tough! I don’t think I could name individual songs but I would say artists that did form the soundtrack to my life are Alicia Keys, Brandy, and Pharrell Williams. I’m definitely a ’90’s child!
How did working from home change your personal perception of fashion?
It solidified how significant fashion can be in our everyday lives. Whether you’re ‘into’ fashion or not, clothes are one of the key ways that we express ourselves. On a simple level, still making the effort to get dressed and ready for work was one way of giving my day structure on the days I work from home. I always perform better on days where I get dressed and feel put together.
Looking at the bigger picture, fashion is inextricably tied to identity and so it makes it a powerful springboard to discuss other larger issues like social equality and the environment.
Who would you say has been the biggest source of inspiration to you throughout your life?
Most of the time I draw inspiration from things rather than people, so I wouldn’t say it’s a who. The textures of an interior, jogging in nature, a conversation, a chapter in a book. I’m also self-competitive by nature, so I’m always ‘inspired’ to better myself in whatever way I can.