In recent years, the South East Asian community has garnered much attention for its diverse talents. More spotlight has been placed on local arts, such as fashion, music, and entertainment. One of the countries that has been headlining and representing Asia is Singapore. It’s one of the smallest, yet one of the richest and most successful countries in the region. Most recently, the country made headlines after its hawker stalls were awarded Michelin Stars. With intense focus on education and an insane drive to develop the country even further, it was only about time that Singapore became the subject of world discussion.
The Indonesian archipelago is a short flight away from Singapore. We’ve enjoyed numerous trades across various industries and enjoyed positive diplomatic ties for the longest time. The country’s local fashion brands have been actively infiltrating the Indonesian market to introduce edgy, streetwear with a dash of high-fashion. This December, LOVEANDFLAIR welcomed its first foreign brand and we couldn’t be more honoured to have brought in a Singaporean brand. We brought in a rising local brand that has been making rounds within the fashion community. Introducing Eight Slate, the up-and-coming brand born in 2014 that focuses on contemporary modern aesthetics. We spoke to the brand’s creative director, Savina Chai, to find out more about the brand and her struggles to reach where she is today.
Savina’s odyssey into the fashion industry started like any regular girl, as an Instagrammer turned blogger. From then on, she freelanced as a stylist, fashion intern, photographer, before becoming creative director of Eight Slate, whose name derives from her favourite number and metamorphic rocks and minerals that are rawest in form and always changing, a representation of her youth.
“I believe that learning different jobs along the way is the best kind of education you can give to yourself. You pick up different lessons and skills from each industry and job scope that will make your skills and your offerings, a well rounded one.”
Contrary to Indonesia’s blogosphere, Singapore differs in various ways, namely in the bloggers themselves. While it’s common for Indonesian bloggers to be Instagram famous, bloggers in Singapore are usually tied to the entertainment industry and are aspiring public figures, whether they’re actors, singers, or models. To a certain extent, there’s sort of a kind of qualification before you can become a top blogger in the country. With more spotlight on Singapore’s local talents, there’s more fresh bloods in the pool competing for fame.
“Having your own authentic style and there’s no such thing as competition.There will always be r and younger people that aspires to do what you do, the best thing you can do to give back is to support and focus on working on growing yourself. In that way, you will never lose out.”
She tries to constantly experiment with photo editing colours and angles on top of trying on different styles to keep things fresh.
Just two years after Eight Slate launched, the brand received its first round of investment. Aspiring entrepreneurs out there should note that an investment is not what all businesses need and want. There are a lot of factors that needs to be considered before accepting funding from foreign parties. Her advise is to always, “Know your worth and know when to say no. Believe in not just yourself but in your business and potential achievements. Have a clear focus and direction of where you will take your business to in the next 5 years with the investment”.
Things start becoming more complicated and difficult when your business starts affecting your personal life. From breakups to sleepless nights, sometimes you become lost and wonder why you even started. “It really toughened me up and gave me a perspective to business, family, and relationships. I’ve never seen life any more clear than I do now”.
The best advise that somebody’s ever given to her?
“Dreams don’t work just because you dream, but because of hard work.”
She goes on to say that we have the same 24 hours as Jack Ma of Alibaba. To hold everything together takes lots of patience and determination and requires discipline, hard work, and drive.
In the end, Savina reminds entrepreneurs out there to use milestones as an encouragement to be the best version of yourselves. Always remember how far you’ve come, not just how far you need to go. In 5 years, she hopes to be engaged and running a successful business. With the current trajectory of Eight Slate’s success and Savina’s flourishing career, we’re sure she’ll accomplish her dreams just fine.