A working mum whose work is closely linked to her personal life, Danelle Woo creates with the busy career woman in mind. Designing under her label Aijek, Wu draws on her globe-trotting experience to address the needs of her varied clientele.
Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore: How jarring was the shift from PR to design? What was the hardest thing to adapt to?
Danelle Woo: Starting fresh became a part of my life at every city I moved to. Somehow it felt natural to progress from PR to become an inexperienced designer and business owner. In fact, it was quite refreshing! I remember falling asleep on my work desk frequently in Shanghai while being awoken by cries of my baby son was who a year old then. Being a domesticated mum with no help while starting a business I had no idea of was a real test for me.
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HBS: How do you think your brand stands out from other local brands?
DW: Aijek’s has always been about dressing the everyday woman. She’s not a size zero. She is a working mum, a wife, a boss, a friend, a superhero. We want to give her a no-fail dress that is sharp, feminine and works for her body.
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HBS: What are the pros and cons of being a self-taught designer?
DW: I come from an everyday woman viewpoint and think about what I want to wear season after season, juggling the life and family I have. It was a tough road learning from making mistakes because I had to be self-reliant in all aspects. On hindsight, my lack of professional training forced me to learn from the ground up and I am somehow very grateful for it!
HBS: Do you have a favourite piece from your entire collection?
DW: My absolute favorite is the Gelsey Sweetheart Maxi Dress. I love the mix of feminine sweetheart neckline with its masculine structure. It’s a classic that I know I will keep in my wardrobe for years to come!
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HBS: Has being an eco-friendly brand ever hindered you from your creative process?
DW: We always opt for sustainable fabrics over synthetic fabrics given a choice. We prefer using silks, viscose, rayon, tencel and wool which are breathable and feel good in the hand. However, there are limitations when the garment requires a different drape and structure that calls for a synthetic fabric.
By Ryan Sng