#B_Original: Velda Tan and Bella Koh on the power of individuality, with IWC watches

Special feature

Two different Singaporean women — one a fashion designer; the other a food stylist and slow life advocate — bond over a shared appreciation for originality

With the continued proliferation of digital communication, it is authenticity that separates the trendsetters from the followers. In this second of two videos created in collaboration with IWC Schaffhausen, to underscore the importance of originality and effective time management for success, we compare and contrast the lifestyles of two different Singaporean women marching to the beat of their own drum.

Velda Tan, founder of Collate The Label, is a Singapore designer delivering chic and elegant womenswear pieces for our hot and humid clime; a busy digital entrepreneur navigating the fast-paced, and increasingly globalised, world of fashion. In contrast, as an advocate for the slow life and slow food movement, food stylist Bella Koh adopts a different pace; taking time out of her day to appreciate the simple and everyday things. However, although working in different industries, both ladies share a mutual appreciation for staying true to themselves — a bold individuality as exemplified in the new Pilot's Watch Automatic 36.

Click on the video above for an inspiring look into the divergent lives of these two women.

VELDA TAN | Founder of Collate The Label

Velda Tan, founder of Collate the Label

Collate The Label has just celebrated it's first year anniversary. How different is the brand now to when it first started?
After being around for a year now and pushing out three collections, we're able to gather feedback and understand better what our customers like and need. Collate is working on catering to those needs, but also pushing our boundaries in terms of design. We are a young brand that's still learning and evolving and we're very excited for another year of opportunities. We just dropped pre-fall 2016 and we're looking forward to showing our Holiday collection next!

Fashion and trends are constantly changing. How do you keep your brand relevant in such a fast-paced industry?
Collate is an independent label that focuses on pushing out trans-seasonal yet contemporary designs. We try to interpret trends and translate them into our clothing in a way that is current but also classic. For example, we may apply the pleat element, that's the trend right now, into a classic silhouette. We want people to be able to wear our pieces even if it was from three seasons ago —  and I think that's the challenge for us at Collate.

What does originality mean to you; both in terms of your brand and your style?
To me, originality is being true to myself, especially when it comes to style. It's not about hiding my flaws but playing up my assets. In that sense, it's very individualistic. And I think these values also translates into my designs for Collate. We want to help women play up their assets — to help them bring out their best.

When it comes to timepieces, do you see it as a fashion accessory or as an investment?
The beautiful thing about timepieces is that it serves two purposes. It's a great fashion accessory for me, and it also tells the time. I alternate between a couple of timepieces and I choose them according to how they'll match my outfits.

What is the vision for Collate The Label? Where would you like to see it in five years?
Looking to the future I hope that Collate will a reach wider audience, hopefully internationally. We want to establish ourselves as an contemporary womenswear label that makes it easy for women to look confident and effortlessly polished. A brand that is contemporary but also classic at the same time. As long as we stay focused on these values, I'm certain we'll be able to reach our goals.

What does the concept of 'time' mean to you?
Time to me is about prioritising. We all have 24 hours in a day, so it's all about how we maximise that time. 

BELLA KOH | Food stylist and founder of Flea & Trees

Bella Koh

Tell us about being a 'slow life' and 'slow food advocate'. How does time play a part in this lifestyle?
For me, it's really about taking charge of my life. Every thing of value takes time. Be it preparing a slow-roasted vegetable dinner for your family, or making time on a weeknight for the people I love, time plays a very important role — what I choose to sacrifice time for reflects my values and the things that I hold dear. 

Do you think that living the 'slow life' is at odds with social media, which is inherently fast-paced and constantly evolving?

I do think that living the slow life is at odds with the fast-paced nature of social media. That's why it's my personal motivation to share my philosophy to live a healthy and well-paced life. You have to find a balance. Life isn't a race.

Has the concept of 'time' changed for you as you've grown older?
The concept of time was surreal to me back when I was a teenager. It seemed infinite. However, life changes, priorities shift and today my concept of time is one of a balancing act. Keeping my soul happy and intact — all together in one day — that takes work. 
But truly, I feel so fulfilled with my life as a new mum that time almost becomes secondary. Joy takes over everything else.

You have just given birth to a baby girl. What life lessons do you want to impart to her? Do you think it's important to teach her about being original?
Without being cliché, I want her to always hold true to her roots, and to never betray herself in the face of social pressures and peer expectations. To know how to go back to what she loves when things get tough. That's crucial. Originality can only blossom when one is infinitely comfortable with him or herself; even when they don't fit in with the status quo.

What are your top three tips for food styling?
Always keep these three things in mind: light, colors, composition. 

Where do you get your inspiration from? Who are some of your role models?
Instagram for visual inspiration; Japan for tactile inspiration; cats for everyday inspiration. I used to have nine cats! My role models have changed throughout my life, but currently, I would say my working mothers like Tjin Lee, founder of Singapore Fashion Week; Charmaine Seah-Ong, founder of branding agency Elementary & Co; and Sharon Wong, founder of online store Motherswork. I find that I'm drawn to people that display longevity and an enduring pursuit; which is sometimes mislabelled as stubbornness.

Related story:
#B_Original: Teo Jia En and Aiwei Foo on the power of individuality, with IWC watches

IWC Schaffhausen
 boutiques are located in Ion Orchard and The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.

Directed by: Norman Tan & Vanessa Caitlin
Production by: MLC Productions

Director of Photography: Alvin Choon

Production Coordinator: Marianne Koh 
Makeup Artist for Velda Tan: Rick Yang / FAC3INC
Hair Stylist for Velda Tan: Sean Ang / FAC3INC
Hair & Makeup artist for Bella Koh: Hongling Lim / FAC3INC


Text: Norman Tan

Photo: Vanessa Caitlin

  • Video:
    Alvin Choon | MLC Productions
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