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Singapore's fashion insider spills the beans

We caught up with Daniel Boey, known by some as the “Godfather of Singapore fashion”, and talked about his new memoir, The Book of Daniel: Adventures of A Fashion Insider.

 

By Eimear Elkington | Oct 31, 2014

  • Singapore's fashion insider spills the beans
    Daniel Boey
  • Singapore's fashion insider spills the beans
    The Book of Daniel: Adventures of A Fashion Insider

Singaporean fashionisto Daniel Boey launched his memoir The Book of Daniel: Adventures of A Fashion Insider, on Nov 8 as part of the Singapore Writers Festival. We caught up with him to discuss the highs and lows of his career, his new book and Singapore's memorable fashion past. 

Tell us a bit about your new book?
The book chronicles the journey of a style-deficient Singaporean youth who fell into the business when he started hanging with folks from the chic side of the tracks, and how he morphed into a fashion heavyweight responsible for some of the most groundbreaking fashion events of the late nineties through the early noughties. It's a fashion adventure that spills the beans on the good, the bad and the bitchy side of a glamorously unpredictable industry.

What makes the book special?
The book also serves as a documentation of some of our fashion founding fathers, our early shops and the early scene, as seen and experienced through my eyes. It reminisces about long-forgotten fashion events that deserve a place in the fashion archives of our nation. The book comes on the cusp of my 50th year, as I celebrate my golden jubilee in tandem with the nation's. 2015 also marks my 25th year in fashion.

What have been the highs of your career?
There have been many highs—from helping to develop the concept for the inaugural Singapore Fashion Festival to helming Singapore Fashion Week; directing the Edinburgh Fashion Festival and working internationally on various Fashion Weeks. However, I am most proud of the part I've played in the nurturing of some of Singapore's most exciting fashion labels, as well as some of our most successful fashion faces. 

And the lows?
There have also been many lows, both in the fashion as well as the entertainment arena—unscrupulous clients, backstabbing b******, insecure creatives and diva designers; egos to content with (mine included), folks who disappear with unpaid bills and industry in-fighting, all of which I've discussed in the book.

What are your thoughts on Singaporean fashion and style?
The Singaporean aesthetic is constantly evolving, many people seem to be leaving their typical Singaporean “uniform” of shorts and flip-flops behind and embracing fashion more. Most have mastered the art of beating the heat while staying stylish. However, the down side is that the majority of locals here seem to purchase from big high street labels and copying the looks they see online or in magazines.

What do you think is next for the Singapore fashion scene?
I have extremely high hopes for our fashion scene. Locals seem to be more receptive towards our fashion designers and a key factor is that the Singaporean brands are starting to target the younger customers who are creative, free-spirited and want to stand out from the crowd. Street wear is definitely starting to pick up here among the local brands and the youths love it! (e.g Mash-Up, YESAH, Reckless Ericka and Revasseur). The price points are reasonable, and the designs are trendy yet completely different from what you would find in international mass-market stores. 

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