A peek into the fashionable world of Arissa Cheo

Special feature

Text: Buro. Singapore

We find out just how indispensable the X-factor is when you're both a fashion and a beauty entrepreneur

Living your life in the public eye can't be an easy task. Every move you make is scrutinised, every thing you say is dissected, every garment you wear discussed and judged before it is copied by critics and fans alike. Nobody survives it unscathed. Few do it gracefully; even fewer successfully transform that publicity into a business.

Cue our fascination with Arissa Cheo. An entrepreneur with not one but two brands under her belt — clothing label ARISSA X which recently showed at Singapore Fashion Week, and a cosmetics line in the works — Arissa knows a thing or two about holding her own and looking mighty fine while she's at it. 

On that note, watch her navigate her life with style and substance at Scotts Square, above. Whether she's having a business lunch at Coffee Academics, refining her wardrobe at Closet and Pedder on Scotts or simply running an errand at Floral Obsession, you can trust that where Arissa Cheo goes, the X-factor follows.

Arissa Cheo, Scott's Square

What does 'je ne sais quoi' mean to you?
To me, it means a certain quality that you can't quite put your finger on, that draws people in to the person who possesses it.

Who do you think possesses the unexplainable X-factor? How are you inspired by them?
Growing up, the women in music and film that I've been influenced by share this quality, such as Namie Amuro, Aaliyah, Natalie Portman and Liv Tyler. They have all contributed to the way I dress, put myself together and present myself. When I was young and impressionable, I would study their movies and concerts all day long, hoping that some of their X-factor would rub off on me. But during the process, I realised that I had to look within myself to fully realize my own potential and abilities.

Do you think everyone carries it?
Everyone is unique, thus everyone has their own unique brand of X-factor. They just have to realise it and know how to maximise it.

You've certainly done that with Arissa X. How important a role does X-factor play in your designs?
It plays a very important role. If a certain piece or look doesn't appeal to me in a way that it looks different or edgy enough, I would axe it. My designs definitely have to have that certain "ARISSA X" element and a strong X-Factor before they make the cut. I pay extra attention to the little details such as the way a top falls to show off a little shoulder, or a slit up a skirt to show a slight hint of skin.

Arissa Cheo, Scott's Square

What retail experiences are you looking for when shopping?
Somewhere that is comfortable, accessible, and has all the brands and things that I am interested in, like Scott's Square.

Do you have a favourite store?
On Pedder! They have a variety of products to choose from — from chocolate, apparel, to accessories and lifestyle items like journals. Just the other day, I bought a ton of kids' shoes for my godchildren. I also go to Coffee Academics. I love the fish tacos so every time I have a craving for it, I will pop by to get my fix.

How do you like to refuel when you're tired?
I fly to a beach destination with clear waters and white sandy beaches. 

Produced by: Vanessa Caitlin
Creative Direction: Norman Tan
Director of Photography: Alvin Choon
Styling: Andrea Sim
Hair Stylist: Sam Chok / Passion
Production assistant: Wassily von Schlippe

Arissa is dressed in silk blouse by Equipment and jeans by Current/Elliott, available at CLOSET; leather boots by Alexander Wang, crossbody bag by Stella McCartney and sunglasses by Linda Farrow, available at Pedder on Scotts; and choker and bracelet by Hermès. 

Special thanks to The Coffee Academics, Pedder on Scotts, Hello Chocolate, CLOSET, Vivienne Westwood, Niessing, Lady M Confections and Floral Obesession* at Scotts Square (in order of appearance)

This video was created in collaboration with Scotts Square.