Fashion

Her World celebrates these inspiring young women in fashion, beauty

Her World celebrates 3 inspiring young women in fashion & beauty

For decades, Her World has been a champion for women - in mind, body and action.

To celebrate its 60th anniversary this year, the local magazine is presenting #HerWorldHerStory, a collection of 60 real-life stories of inspiring women in print and on www.herworld.com from now till August.

Each profile shares their successes, challenges, passions and ambitions, in their own words. And together, they give a snapshot of what it is to be a woman in Singapore today.

ELISA LIM, 26

She designs clothes for those with disabilities so they can get dressed with ease

Fashion design has always been my passion, but when I pursued my fashion diploma at Lasalle College of the Arts, I realised luxury fashion didn't quite resonate with me. I began questioning my place in the fashion industry.

Then, a doctor I got to know asked me to design clothes for his bedridden patients, during the final year of my diploma in 2015.

I thought, "What a great opportunity to help those with disabilities with my skills". It gave me a renewed sense of purpose, and I began researching and working on the designs.

I graduated in 2017 with a degree in fashion design, and set up Will & Well, which was inspired by my final-year project that featured a clothing line for wheelchair users.

Business was challenging during the first two years due to the lack of awareness. I relocated my studio from my home to Alexandra Hospital last November.

Many of my pieces are one-off custom designs. For example, I redesigned and replaced sewn-on buttons with magnetic buttons on the school uniform of a six-year-old girl with one arm, so that she could change easily and quickly.

I also make ready-to-wear unisex pieces for my online shop, such as front slit drawstring pants with zip openings on both pant legs, originally designed for a post-hip surgery client.

I have introduced a new workshop, Sew Simple. I started this four-part clothes-making and alteration workshop to raise more awareness of the clothing challenges faced by disabled persons, offering caregivers solutions to re-style and re-design existing clothes to improve functionality.

At these 21/2-hour sessions, I teach basic sewing techniques as well as the creative process of including new designs, for people with different kinds of special needs.

My aim is to help disabled persons with better dressing processes, giving them a sense of ease, comfort, independence and dignity.

Currently, I'm running a social campaign, #BeTheDifference, where people can nominate those who need custom clothes but can't afford it. They would then be gifted with our clothes paid for by sponsors.

What's rewarding for me is when someone sees my creations and tells me, "This is what I've been looking for".

That's all I need to hear, and that's what takes me ahead.


HU RUIXIAN, 25

This dressmaker has made it her mission to get other young women to swap their T-shirts and jeans for customised cheongsams

I started my cheongsam business Studio HHFZ in 2018, four years after graduating from Temasek Polytechnic's Fashion Design course, as I felt that millennials had forgotten their roots. I wanted to celebrate the Chinese heritage, focusing on a custom dressmaking service.

I also want to encourage more people to don the cheongsam other than on special occasions such as weddings and Chinese New Year.

I'm a one-woman show at the studio because I want to be 100 per cent involved, walking my customers through the entire dressmaking process.

Many people have asked me, "Ruixian, why do you go through all these steps by yourself?"

Some of my industry peers think it's too troublesome. But to me, it's not about how many clients I have or how fast I get the work done.

My job is my life. Every night before I go to sleep, I think about the pieces I'll be making or working on the next day. It's really a labour of love, and each piece I make is unique to the wearer.

I meet my customers to understand what they're really looking for in a dress, and they can also choose the fabric at the studio.

Sometimes, Itake them to the fabric suppliers to find the most suitable piece. I then create a draft of the final product, before working on the cheongsam.

It takes me about three months to complete one.

I'm so happy when I see many of my young customers swap their T-shirts and jeans for my cheongsams.

When the girls look in the mirror and feel beautiful in the dresses I've made, I get a lot of satisfaction.

That feeling is invaluable - and makes my time worthwhile.


MARY VICTOR, 22

Growing up, she wanted to be someone else. But things are different now and she has started #thebodywithin movement on Instagram to advocate body positivity and self-care

I will never change anything about myself today, even if I'm being judged for the way I look. It took me a few years to accept who I was and gain the confidence, following years of bullying in secondary school - all because I'm a plus-sized girl.

Last September, I started the #thebodywithin movement on Instagram to advocate body positivity and self-care.

The movement encourages people struggling to feel good about themselves to share their stories and photos.

Along with the movement, I took the first step to share self-portraits and my story as a plus-sized woman.

I also started the movement because many young girls face the pressure to be socially acceptable in the way they look, often comparing themselves to others or trying to live up to certain expectations. I would know, because I have been there before.

Back then, I was called all kinds of hurtful names that made me very self-conscious in school. It stuck with me even after I graduated.

I wanted to be someone else, even trying whitening products and quick ways to slim down. I was unhappy and stressed out.

At 16, I started working, and later went to Cosmoprof Academy to hone my craft as a make-up artist. I grew my portfolio within three years and slowly regained my confidence. Every day, I tell myself that I can control my life.

Despite the fact that I eat healthy (I'm on my way to becoming a vegan), work out and do yoga, my size never changed one bit. In fact, I got curvier living a healthy lifestyle.

The message I'm sending across to women is: Understand that no matter how you look, you're beautiful in your own special way.

 

WELLNESS & BEAUTY