Photography elvIna farkas/anue management styling imran jalal hair & make up marie soh , using givenchy unless stated
Some might call them influencers ; we call them influential. Meet the F-Collective : Women who are making a difference in the local creative scene with their daring and vision, never mind the instagram count.
Hair Dennis Seah/Mosche Grand Hyatt
Her 32.5k followers might dig how her wardrobe flits from raving kawaii schoolgirl to post-apocalyptic shabby chic (to describe her anything-goes approach to dressing, she’s coined the hashtag #anyhaostyle). Or how she changes hair colour, well, #anyhao too. The most impressive thing gleaned from her instagram account @lindahaoliyuan, though, is how this 25-year-old is constantly involved in something creative.
As founder of three-year-old women’s wear label Yesah, she’s hands-on in every aspect of the brand, from design to art direction to being her own best model. At press time, she was planning a trip to Tibet to shoot a look book and mini film for her F/W ’15 collection (it features oversized unisex silhouettes that she hopes to style on the ethnic locals). At the same time, she was working on S/S ’16, which debuts next Digital Fashion Week (“Yesah’s frst solo show with 30 looks!”).
The ambition and can-do spirit have helped build a mini empire despite the brand’s fledgling age and size. Her multi-label stockists are some of the best insider haunts, including patricia field in new york, and abc (a big company) in hong kong.
When she’s not playing fashion boss, she’s a dj (no alias), lending her taste for infectious electro tunes to industry parties. “my cute chill playlist only gets me hired for fashion events, not clubs,” she says self-deprecatingly. The list of brands she’s worked with, including nike, topshop and chanel, beats any vip nightspot though.
Most know her for her style: elegant, effortless – and it’s gotten her into the pages of The Straits Times, society magazines and this publication multiple times. So here’s what else you should know about this 31-year-old: She’s a name to watch in the local creative scene not only for her out-of-the-box ideas (think quirky stop-motion videos to launch furniture start-up Cluster-Cluster), but also for trying to redefine the idea of a boutique agency.
Last year, she started branding and marketing consultancy elementary co with what’s pretty much her posse, including husband derek ong, brother russell seah and fellow f-collective member/bff aarika lee. The idea was to bring together like-minded folks with different expertise (she, for example, has a background in tv production, while lee has a flair for writing) to create an intimate one-stop shop.
“Our usp is being able to approach projects from a broad and varied set of perspectives and skill sets. Clients don’t have to go to two or three companies to get a job done, but still get the personal service that comes with a small independent agency,” she says.
But while everyone on board has their own speciality, there are no set roles; everyone’s expected to multitask. “it means that no one can say ‘i didn’t know that was part of my job’ and in the end, everyone grows. Our marketers, for example, have been brushing up on their design chops and can work on simple artwork,” she explains. “it also means complete synergy in the end result. Something from the creative team might look great, but still get tossed out if it doesn’t make sense.”