Local singer Ming Bridges follows her heart into sustainable fashion
Ming Bridges shares how her fashion rental service opened her eyes to insecurities women have
Local singer-songwriter Ming Bridges has dreamt of owning a sustainable clothing company since she was a little girl.
And now, the 26-year-old Mandopop musician is celebrating the first anniversary of Rentadella, her inclusive fashion-sharing rental service platform for women of all shapes and sizes.
The website is also Bridges' way of promoting sustainable fashion. She told The New Paper: "When I was younger, I was obsessed with flea markets and selling old clothes and buying new ones this way. I loved the idea of swopping and sharing and having your own stall.
"It was only recently when I saw so many rental sites popping up across the globe that I started to get jealous. So I went with my gut and just started Rentadella.
"I've been in the entertainment industry since the age of 13 so the fact that I now have my own business is surreal to me."
Bridges frequently models Rentadella pieces on her Instagram account, which has about 110,000 followers.
She says the fashion industry is a major polluter and "we can slow this down by powering the sharing economy and saying no to fast fashion".
She added: "I can't see a better reason to rent quality clothes, from the best brands, get the perfect fit, for less money and also save the world."
Launched in November last year, Rentadella now boasts a curated collection of more than 1,200 pieces in different styles, cuts and colours.
The sizes range from British size four to 20, and tailoring services are available. It costs $49 to $299 for high-end designer brands like Louis Vuitton and Herve Leger to cult labels like Self-Portrait, Alice McCall and Zimmermann.
According to Bridges, the most in-demand pieces include the Wilshire dress by Acler ("a wedding guest favourite"), anything by Rebecca Vallance and Misha Collection, and the Gracie gown by Nadine Merabi "is getting booked up like crazy for the upcoming festive season".
Apart from clothes, Rentadella carries accessories and bags.
Being in the fashion industry has opened the eyes of Bridges - who battled anorexia years ago - to the body image insecurities that Singapore women have.
Never buy something that doesn't look as good as what you were previously wearing. You want to always be getting something better.Singer-songwriter Ming Bridges
She said: "A lot of them come in (to our showroom) and pick a size smaller than what they are and tell me they are on a crash diet and will be able to fit in it, or they stand in the mirror and just insult themselves and how they look. It really breaks my heart because they are gorgeous."
Bridges can certainly relate to how her clients feel. In 2014, she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and tipped the scales at 80kg.
She said: "When I had my eating disorder, I was always hiding. (And) at my heaviest, I never showed my arms and after a while I realised nothing happened and no one treated me any different.
"Now, I love to surprise people when they point out a flaw and I tell them I am okay with it or even more, that I love it. What has changed is my confidence and not caring what others think."
Bridges describes her own personal style as "comfortable and convenient" for day-to-day, with "unique and girly" minidresses for events.
The fashionista's style mantra? Everything looks better in heels.
And her No. 1 shopping tip?
"Never buy something that doesn't look as good as what you were previously wearing. You want to always be getting something better," she said.
For the Crazy Rich Asians red carpet premiere here in August, Bridges dressed to the nines in a slinky plunging halter gown from a US-based Lovers + Friends. The electric blue Chanel clutch was her attempt at "experimenting with something bold", and a dainty necklace from Larry Jewelry provided the finishing touch. She said: "My dress colour was a nude-dusty pink so I decided to pair it with accessories that stun. It pays off to try out something different."
Two-piece outfits are all the rage now, and Bridges paired her red and white striped version (from US-based Lurelly) with a vintage denim jacket that belonged to her mum for a more "street edge" look and a black Chanel shoulder bag at the Chanel Coco Game Centre event.
She said: "I have been eyeing this for a long time and looking for an excuse to wear it. I (wanted) something sophisticated and a little OTT (over-the-top). The theme was 'fun', which is why I could get away with this."
For a weekend getaway to Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire, England, Bridges chose a casual off-shoulder black and white checked summer dress from Australian brand Fame & Partners that made her feel like she was "going out for an Italian pasta and wine date night".
She said: "This photo was taken pre-bike ride to dinner. I was looking for something that would be suitable for night-time festivities but also a bit more playful as we were in the countryside."
NIGHT OUT MING
At Singapore Women's Weekly's Great Women Of Our Time Awards, she opted for a marigold yellow cold-shoulder ruffled minidress from Australian brand Acler to represent the qualities of an empowered woman in the fashion industry - bold, unique and confident - and she believes that it embodies just that.
The black clutch is Chanel and the nude peep-toe platforms are by Stuart Weitzman.
She said: "When I arrived, I was surprised to find most people wearing black, so I definitely stood out."