Thursday, May 15, 2014

[Faces] The Passionate Fashion Designer, Beatrice Looi

The bright sunny afternoon of some time in March at Publika welcomed us warmly, as if knowing something beautiful was about to come our way. Indeed it was as we approached our meeting destination called Elegantology, cosily tugged into a corner of this busy row of fine restaurants and hip eatery, filled with casual patrons during this lunch hour. As we stepped into this gallery and restaurant that was elegantly put together, we were swiftly greeted by the ever friendly Marketing Director, Andrew! It was not too long ago that we caught up for the Jason Zeck fashion show (here for more) prior. This time, we were there to meet and have a chat with the fashion designer whom most of us have come to know and love very much, the lovely Beatrice Looi.

Being served a cup of beautifully brewed hot coffee while  waiting for Beatrice to finish up her meeting was definitely heavenly. As Beatrice approached our table, she quickly greeted us and spoke confidently that she was actually finishing up a meeting with some clients and naturally put herself at eased at the table. She looked radiant with her cat-eyed look for the day, paired with her long silky smooth black hair, definitely chic in her own manner. Though we have not met her in person much before this, but by her diving into the conversation with breeze made it seem like we have been friends for the longest time. We chatted over coffee and here are some of what we delved into throughout this enchanted afternoon.

How has it been after your Fabulous 30 years of Fashion show recently?
As usual, still very busy. Actually, a lot of people never really realized that it has been that long! 30 years, they have asked me, are you sure? I said, of course, if you count the time I first picked up my pen to design clothes, that was how long it has been. Honestly, my time in fashion dated way back when I first picked up the needle and thread to sew, learning from my mother as she was also in the same business as I am today. Those were the days.

What was it like to be brought up in a family of fashion?
Well, I guess we had no choice back then. It was a family business, naturally, you were being pulled into it and helping out with your parents was a must back in those days. No two ways about it. If you ask me if I were to choose fashion (back then), I probably would not have because it is such a time consuming kind of work. In fact, I loved drawing and painting when I was young, not so much of sewing.

So, what is fashion to you then?
Fashion to me is to create something that people don't have and they want it. That is fashion. I believe in creating long lasting ever-green pieces that can stand the test of time. I really believe in that, but I also concur to the fact that CHANGE is FOREVER. As a fashion designer, one needs to be able to change and adapt. I  like to surprise my clients with out of the ordinary, it can be in details, can be in fabrics, and many others. I like the element of surprise! It is like why I love painting. It's like playing, so free to explore, like fashion, I love to experiment with new things, to keep evolving as a fashion designer.

Is that why you established Elegantology?
Elegantology was a result of discussion among friends and we wanted to bring something to the fashion and food industry, something refreshing and different. It is meant to be a platform and space for young and up-and-coming designers or artistes for that matter to showcase and promote their brands. We provide loans and facilitate all sorts of marketing activities to allow designers to flourish. Guess what? I am a true believer in "Never say no to opportunities". When you are young, one should just go all out and try to achieve one's dream, no matter how hard it may seem. We are here to support, that's all. I wish I had such support when I first started out in this business, but sadly, there was none. We worked our way up, slowly but surely.

How do you juggle such a busy life with your own label, now Elegantology?
Well, we are competing with time, always! But nothing is more important than family to me. My parents worked a lot when I was young, and not much time was spent with us, therefore, now, I try to spend as much time with my children. I value my time with them, tremendously. Many have asked me the same question you just did, will I ever bring Beatrice Looi the brand overseas. My answer will always be no. No plans for that, as I have always wanted to keep my brand local. It's just me.

Our chat went into other areas and we talked away, without realizing that time just passed us by. From our conversation, we could sense that Beatrice is definitely a woman of strength and has a great deal of respect and passion for her artistry in fashion. She is also a smart entrepreneur who knows how to go with the flow and stay up-to-date by keeping up with technology and social media to help promote her brand and business. (though she admitted quietly that she is a very private person) But ultimately, she is also a true artist deep down. How we know? This is what she ended our conversation with, the above words. Much for us to ponder over. If you love good food and fashion, you would want more of Elegantology here.

We hope you have enjoyed our FACES feature this round. Stay tuned for more soon. (Here if you are curious to find out who our previous FACES personalities were) Till then, I will leave you with how I ended my meeting with this lovely talent -  a wonderfully delightful dessert, courtesy of the nice people from Elengantology *_^

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Thanks so much for dropping by and say hi. Love to hear your thoughts and will read them all! See you again *_^

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