29.7.13

Q&A with Daniel Boey

Style and Creativity are definitely two terms that are associated with Daniel Boey. Avante-Garde and imaginative ideas are just a few things that emanate from his creative mind. With a notable reputation as Singapore's "godfather of fashion" and one of Asia's most-sought after fashion producers and creative directors, it's no wonder how he gained this title. Daniel has worked all over the world in cities like New York and Shanghai, and has an impressive portfolio working with high-end brands (think: Louis Vuitton, Vera Wang, and Jean-Paul Gaultier).  I have a lot of respect for what Daniel has contributed to the Singapore fashion industry into what has become one of the biggest fashion cities in Asia. Through this interview, Daniel discusses the evolution of Singaporean fashion through to his experience as a judge on Asia's Next Top Model.

1. Do you think Singapore fashion has evolved significantly in the last 10 years?
Most definitely, although parts of it have moved in the wrong direction. It's gone from the glory days of Thomas Wee, David Wang and Esther tay, when Singapore designers had fabulous boutiques, massive local support and cult followings, to a time when many Singapore designers are labelled as "cheap street wear", an often-unfair tag. I do see many talented Singapore fashion designers struggling, not for want of talent but for want of support. The ironic thing is, the same designers are fast gathering a following abroad. So I'm grateful to the likes of Robinson's and Parco, who are firm supporters of Singapore designers and give a platform for them to retail. 

2. Has there been an increasing trend of home-grown designers gaining recognition on the international scene?
Yes, thanks to the advent of the Internet social media. Designers also have to realise that whilst it's easy to get noticed, it's also very easy, with one bad collection, to fall spectacularly. the home-grown designers who have gained international recognition have a distinct signature and strong sense of style.

3. Was it always your dream to be involved in the fashion industry?
Actually, no, although, looking back, the signs were all there. I started out with a love of theatre, and realised later on that i loved to create beautiful images and tell stories on stage - and it segued from that to fashion, where the clothes become my script, and the runway or the printed page became my medium for telling those stories.

(above are some of fashion editorials that Daniel Boey has worked on, you can find more here)
4. What do you love about your job?
i love being surrounded by beautiful images, and i am inspired constantly by the designers and creative entities i work with.
being around them, and having creative brainstorms with them give me an amazing high.
plus, being able to shop backstage and having first-hand access to the collections doesn't hurt. 
and the travel is always a perk.

5. You have experienced so many amazing fashion shows and met so many noted fashion icons like Suzy Menkes. What has the overall experience been like?
It's always a surreal experience meeting someone that you've been a fan of, whose work you've always admired from afar, and whose musings and insights about fashion and the industry have shaped your own perception of the industry. Sometimes, the meetings turn out to be better-than-pleasant, and you walk away having gained a stronger insight and a deeper respect for that person - grace coddington, derek blasberg, tim blanks, suzy menkes - i will remain fans of theirs till the day i die !!!!!
sometimes, the bubble is burst and you leave, having had the romanticised vision of the person shattered. But the industry is made up of many different people, and thats what makes it so unpredictable and exciting.

posing with the other judges of Asia's Next Top Model
6. How was your overall experience being a judge on Asia's Next Top Model?
the girls were the sole reason i signed on for the show. to be able to groom and shape them and then see their careers soar as models is reward enough for me. I also realised that there's more bitchiness and backstabbing on a tv show about fashion than there is in the real fashion industry itself !!!! Unfortunately, like fashion, you also get production houses who run away without paying their talent and crew !!!!! However, I've made some great friends along the way - some of the production crew are now working with me on my new show. 

7. You have been referred to as the "Godfather of Singapore fashion"--how do you feel about that?
hahahaha ..... extremely surprised and very flattered. I do my best to help the industry that has embraced me and given me so many opportunities and wonderful memories. 
i find great joy in nuturing young talent and watching them grow into successful businesses,  and become, themselves, mentors to the new generation. 

8. What would you like to see in terms of development/maturity in the Singapore fashion scene?
I would like to see a much greater support for our talent. I wish people would make that choice to buy something because they like it, not because of the designers' nationality or race. Likewise with models - you hire them because they look good in your clothes and help you tell the story, not because of their race or nationality.

9. Finally, what advice would you give to anyone who wants to make it into the fashion industry?
Its a tough industry so once you've made that choice, be prepared for a rough and bumpy ride.
creativity alone does not make a successful label - it's a business so learn to run it like such.
and be prepared to work very very very hard - there are no days off in fashion.
but it's a fab industry, I've had the time of my life, it's given me lots of good ( and occasionally nasty ) moments,  and i wouldn't trade it in for anything else.

Thank-you Daniel for taking the time to answer this interview!
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9 comments

  1. This was such an interesting interview to read

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  2. What a great interview, your blog has really good content !!

    Thanks for your comment, I'm following you back :-) x

    http://colorfullightning.blogspot.com

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  3. i love this kind of interview! very inspiring <3

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  4. Lovely post Nicole! I loved getting a deeper insight into Daniel's
    experience in the fashion industry and his thoughts on it.
    A truly great interview.

    Thank you for the sweet comment on my blog!
    x Mariana | www.goingteen.blogspot.com

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  5. So amazing that you got to interview such a talented and upcoming figure! He sounds very humble, sometimes a rarity in the fashion industry ;)

    Mili from call me, Maeby

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  6. Hello! I'm hell a happy to visit your blog now. It's amazing, you did a great job! Would you like to follow each other on GFC, bloglovin? It would be very great and we could keep in touch though. just let me know!

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  7. Wow! He's so stylish. Great Q&A
    Would love you to check out my latest outfit post :)
    Have a fab weekend Hun xoxo
    http://www.intotheblonde.com/

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  8. I will always remember him as the judge on Asia Next Top Model! And it's so nice to read through the interview. I enjoyed reading it!

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