Photo: Courtesy of GINLEE Studio

A pioneer in Singapore’s local fashion scene, GINLEE Studio has forged a trailblazing legacy of its own. For close to a decade, the Israel-established label has managed to excel in merging style influences emblematic of both cultures to create timeless and beautiful garments designed for “the everyday woman that walks among us.”

Here, we chat with founder and designer of the eponymous label, Gin Lee, who shares everything about the brand’s latest Spring/Summer 2020 collection, the idea behind its new ‘Order-On-Demand’ model and her vision of the slow fashion movement in Singapore.

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What has GINLEE Studio been all about?

GINLEE Studio takes immense pride in creating beautiful, thoughtfully-designed pieces that are mainstays in ones’ wardrobe. Our designs not only flatter the female form but make wearable pieces of art. We believe that good design is both aesthetically-pleasing and functional, and we strive to achieve the perfect marriage between both. It is crucial to us that we always pay homage to our roots and our homes in our designs.

GINLEE Studio’s ethos has always focused on ‘Making Fashion Matters’. How has GINLEE Studio been actively pursuing these efforts over the last nine years?

On one hand, our mission is to make fashion be seen as a discipline that matters and holds serious weight in the field of design. So often, fashion has been regarded as something frivolous, taken less seriously as compared to other disciplines but in truth, it involves similar processes such as empathising, defining, ideating, prototyping and conducting tests.

On the other hand, we want to drive the importance of actual design within the fashion industry. Nowadays, the idea and integrity of fashion design is constantly diluted with messages that take away the crux of what matters to us – creating meaningful designs that fulfil its purpose of being original, aesthetically-pleasing and functional. We don’t want to create mindless design after design and so, we feel a sense of responsibility to provide garments which make sense to the everyday woman while being mindful of the environment around us.

What was the concept for this year’s Spring/Summer collection?

Our latest Spring/Summer 2020 collection is called Take Root. As we delve deeper into our definition of ethnicity, we are taken back to our roots, picking apart wardrobe classics we’ve come to know. From manipulating fabrics to create pin-tucks mimicking ribbings on the waist, to paying homage to Israel’s national bird, the Hoopoe and by introducing embroidery back into our collection again. The classic Mandarin collar is given a new lease of life by exaggerating its texture with our signature pleats but still maintains a sense of regality. This collection is a celebration of our intertwined roots.

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GINLEE Studio Yuvi
Photo: Courtesy of GINLEE Studio

Understanding that sustainability has become top-of-mind at GINLEE Studio, why was it so important to incorporate this approach of ‘Order-On-Demand’ to your customers?

The Covid-19 pandemic has helped to accelerate our shift towards being more sustainable by tackling the issue with excess inventory. During this time, we’ve realised how crucial it is to minimise waste and save on our precious resources, especially since fashion’s had a bad reputation for overstocking and holding huge price reductions at the end of every season to clear stocks, which in turns promotes impulse buying. Our latest initiative Get-Order-On-Demand (GOOD) aims to take on this challenge, in hopes of reversing the speed in which fashion is currently moving at. With GOOD, it is a great foundation for us to work on innovating and coming up with better designs. We see that it is in alignment with our mission and what we set out to do with design, putting our focus on things that truly matter and spending less time and effort selling excess stock. On hindsight, launching the SS20 collection together with this initiative was a good move seeing the reception we have had so far.

How does the Get-Order-On-Demand system work?

If a customer decides to make a purchase from our current SS20 collection and selects the option to wait 3-5 weeks, they will be rewarded with a 15% discount. This will also be available in-stores once we reopen in phase 2.

What difference will a customer be making when they Order-On-Demand?

Besides enjoying a discount, customers also play a part in helping us to monitor and gauge demands that will help us in both our future production decisions and in reducing unnecessary waste. This is a good chance to shake the current model in which fast fashion brands operate on and it will go on to not only benefit us but also the environment.

As we’re continuing to see a conscious shift in the way fashion is being produced and consumed today, what do you hope to see in the future of slow fashion in Singapore?

We hope that slow fashion becomes the new norm with more people subscribing, so it is not just a passing wave. With regards to sustainable fabrics, we hope to see more innovation in this area and also, accessibility to such fabrics will help to bring awareness and buy-in to the movement. The mainstream introduction to sustainable fashion can also help pave the way towards a circular economy, one that we hope to achieve with our brand.

Shop Gin Lee’s Favourite Picks From GINLEE Studio’s SS20 Collection:

All photos courtesy of GINLEE Studio.

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