Singapore label Stolen launches e-commerce site, offers exclusive discount to Buro readers

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Text: Jolene Khor

On the day the local fashion brand launches its e-commerce site, we sit down with its founder Elyn Wong to chat the Stolen name, its relation to the Brutalist movement, and the SS17 pieces you need to get your hands on. Oh there's a discount code somewhere in there too.

The name Stolen is very unique. What's the story behind it?
I was never from the world of fashion. To be honest, as much as I love it, I came from the camp where I thought fashion could be rather shallow at times. So when I came across Ghandi's quote, "Those who keep more than what they need are thieves", it immediately struck me that fashion is all about wants, never about needs. With this irony in mind, I named my label Stolen to secretly remind myself constantly about this colourful tempting world of wants. Within that minimalistic attitude, my design style was also born. It comes from the same intent, to strip away the unnecessary. Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Tell me about your journey into fashion.
I was previously working as a Creative Group Head in advertising for 16 years. I got hungrier creatively and decided that I needed to run my own ship. And I was looking for a change. I was convinced that creativity should not be limited to a single art form. So I decided to venture into one of the most challenging and edgy frontier of creativity — fashion. And Stolen was born.

Elyn Wong, founder and designer of Stolen

Your e-commerce site launches the year Stolen turns ten. Why now?
We wanted to perfect everything! That was also the other problem with the delay of our proper official web store. Stolen is a brand with obsessive-compulsive disorder. [Laughs] But I guess with the online movement and customer e-commerce behaviour, nothing ever stays the same for too long. Things evolve and simplify and gets cleverer and more intuitive by the day. So I have also learnt that there's need no perfection for the online store. We will just need to evolve and be better as we move along. It's constantly changing.

How has your experience at Ogilvy & Mather come in handy in building your own brand?
Massive help. Having the experience in building huge international brands, I know how important branding is and how and what methods to understand consumer behaviour. And how to address to a more targeted audience that will eventually fully understand and appreciate you as a brand. It's not just about selling yet another dress.

What is the Brutalism movement and how are you inspired by it?
Brutalist architecture is a movement from the '50s to the '70s, birthed from the modernist architecture movement. I'm pretty obsessed by the rawness, the simplicity, the strength of Brutalism. In fact, the term comes from the French word "raw". It typically uses material in its most raw form and looks almost unfinished aesthetically. They are bold and structurally unapologetic and to me that feel very authentic and sexy; I find them much sexier than curves.

How is does that translate into a collection?
With my passion for Brutalism beauty, my designs for Stolen also carry the same essence and attitude in terms of the minimalism, the strength and the authenticity. My designs tend to be clean. Nothing frivolous, only what is necessary; nothing gratuitous, and nothing wasted. Instead of the curvy sexiness that you find in many women's brands, Stolen designs tend to look more structural with strong lines. Combined with a very feminine backless feature, it creates a very new form of allure. I call this "alternate sexiness".

Your latest campaign, with its emphasis on the nude palette, celebrates the female form. What's the idea here?
The Stolen woman is the ultimate paradigm of coexisting contrasts, at once vulnerable and strong, turbulent and calm. The spring/summer 2017 collection — I named it Concur — explores this duality of conflict and coexistence using interplay of textures and materials that both complement and contrast. Heavy fabrics adjoin soft cloth. Smooth surfaces clash with texture. As for the colour palette, it speaks to the complex nature of simplicity. Dominant nude shades are declared the new neutrals, accompanied by stark classics of grey and white, altogether punctuated with the purposeful use of translucent fabrics.

What are your five favourites from the Concur collection?
In terms of dresses, I love Dion, Aigner and Ann. For tops, Naomi and Lea.

And the three things every woman should have in her closet?
Invest in a beautiful pair of black stilettos you can actually walk in, a sexy yet comfortable cocktail dress — you'll be surprised how uncomfortable most of them are — and a flattering jumpsuit. 

Stolen is available online. Use promo code STOLENXBURO247SG for 15% off your first purchases. From now until 2 December 2017.


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