From doodling fashion to owning jewellery label
Temasek Polytechnic's apparel design and merchandising course prompted Sihua Ariel Chen to start jewellery label
When she was younger, Ms Sihua Ariel Chen would doodle what she saw on TV.
It was often period costumes from the Qing dynasty or pieces from gongfu shows.
Ms Chen, 30, told The New Paper: "Sometimes, I would make up my own character with their own costume that would fit into the story."
She now has her own jewellery label, Ariel.C.
She started considering a job in the fashion industry when her sister suggested she apply for Temasek Polytechnic's (TP) apparel design and merchandising course.
It teaches students, among other things, fashion merchandising and the apparel manufacturing process, and graduates can expect to become fashion stylists,fashion show coordinators and so on.
Ms Chen recalled having to stay in school from sunrise to sunset to finish her course work, which included dressmaking.
"At one point, my friends and I tried to convince our director to let us stay overnight so we could finish our pieces by the submission date," she said.
Her time in TP cemented her decision to pursue fashion as a profession.
This was also partly due to her internship at local fashion label Fourskin, where Ms Chen was exposed to aspects of the industry she was unfamiliar with.
"I realised that there was more to the industry than just designing stuff.
"I was placed at the store front to learn about what products the customers liked and at the back end, I was asked to source for material to make a denim skirt," she said.
Ms Chen was also among 10 TP students who took part in the first Singapore Biennale in 2006.
Following the theme of Japanese artist and writer Yayoi Kusama's works, Ms Chen showcased her over-the-top designs, including an off-white structured dress with a hoodie and round balloon skirt.
She even received words of encouragement in a letter from Kusama after the event.
Ms Chen went on to get a degree in fashion jewellery at the London College of Fashion and founded her label.
The detailed and flamboyant jewellery in her label is made to be sustainable, and can be purchased from her online store at arielchen.com
Her creations have been showcased in the London and Paris fashion weeks, and in fashion magazines such as Vogue Accessory and HUF Magazine UK.
Ms Chen has no regrets about her time in TP, stating that it had prepared her for the working world.
She said: "I don't think I would be here if I did not go through that."