In a recording studio at Universal Music Singapore, clad in the finest pieces from the Coach Pre-fall 2021 collection, Yung Raja looked like a bona fide style star.
From his ever-evolving style to creative and musical pursuits that push the boundaries, Yung Raja’s success story is one of reinvention—much like the Coach Pre-Fall 2021 collection he wore, which is all about reimagining the in-between and exploring new possibilities.
In an exclusive interview with BAZAAR, Yung Raja gets candid about what confidence means to him, his fashion philosophy and more.
ON BEING MOTIVATED
“Sometimes I don’t want to get out of bed. But then I take out my journal, and start listing down the thing that I’m grateful for—the things that would make my life miserable if they were taken from me—and I immediately feel motivated to get up and do what I need to. It just brings me back, regardless of whether I’m having a bad day, woke up on the wrong side of the bed or had not had my morning coffee. None of that matters.”
ON HIS STYLE EVOLUTION
“To me, style means identity. It showcases your individuality, and that’s very important. As an artiste, your style allows you to stand out and be recognised—it speaks more than words. And with careful curation of one’s style, I feel like we can really elevate our image, and choose how best to portray ourselves to the world. I feel that style is as important as the art—in fact, it intertwines with the craft.
In my teenage years, I used to wear a lot of chino pants and fitted short-sleeved button-down shirts with boots and a lot of accessories. I used to be very preppy, and paid a lot of attention to details—socks, glasses and other accessories. From there, I experimented with Japanese-inspired clothes from Chota House Collective, a brand by one of my friends, and that became my go-to style for a while.
And the moment I became Yung Raja, a mainstream artist, I started mixing-and-matching high fashion items with fast fashion buys. I’m grateful for my job which allows me to go on different shoots, try on different brands and see what that feels like. So in the last couple of years, I’ve had great fun just playing dress up—even now wearing this, it’s fun.”
ON HIS STYLE ICONS
“My style is very much a fun and unapologetic expression of myself. In fact, my mother used to tell me a Tamil proverb: ஆள் பாதி, ஆடை பாதி (aal pathi, aadai pathi), which basically means that half of who you are is what you wear. Hearing that from a young age made me a confident, albeit a slightly thick-skinned kid who never shied away from experimental styles. And one of my biggest inspirations is former American professional basketball player Dennis Rodman, who also had an unapologetic attitude towards fashion and used it as a form of self-expression.
I also love Will Smith in the ’90s, during the The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air era. In an interview with MTV, I remember him saying that he loves jackets. So across all six seasons, we see him styled up in jackets. Which has now become a style that people associate him with. And then there’s Steve Jobs; you immediately think of wearing that turtleneck, denim jeans and glasses. That’s branding right there. As an artist, I’m always thinking of how to elevate my brand and how to make make it better. Seeing folks like that set a mark for themselves and said: ‘Okay, this is me. This is this is my image. And this is how I choose to portray myself to the world’ really inspires me.”
ON HIS FAVOURITE FASHION ERA
“With the bell bottom pants, tight shirts, belt and boots with high heels, I would have to say the ’70s. I’ve been pictures of my dad from the ’70s and I think it’s so stylish. When I say bell bottom pants, you immediately think of that period, so it really symbolises an entire era. I also feel that the playing field was levelled up because everyone was basically wearing the same thing, but your taste in the kind of bell bottom pants you wore, and how you styled them would make you stand out. I think that’s really cool.”
MORE ON THE COACH PRE-FALL 2021 COLLECTION
For the Coach Pre-Fall 2021 collection, creative director Stuart Vevers revisits the theory of the in-between—a space where he believes inspiration begins, somewhere between nature and the city. Inspired by the idea of a road trip between a far away place in nature and home, the series evokes a sense of wanderlust—think: utilitarian jackets, short shorts, t-shirts, bags and shoes. It’s almost like a preppy bohemian uniform.
Highlights from the collection for men include the League Bags, which features a sportier and more contemporary silhouettes crafted from soft, refined calf leather bearing Coach’s iconic Jacquard signature. There’s also the Flight Bag, which combines style with functionality in a size large enough to fit all of your essentials. The oversized brass hardware and the new Coach sporty patch add a nice touch to the carryall. If you like something that’s multi-purpose and perfect for a short getaway, then the Duffle Bag — made from the house’s emblematic glove-tanned leather, sporting contrast canvas straps — is perfect for you.
As for women, there’s a fine selection of soft denim dresses, cropped leather jackets, T-shirts and mini-dresses. Accessories reign supreme in this series with standout pieces like the Quiltie—a Coach Original which got a soft and puffy update. The Dinky, Swinger, Willis and newly-launched Lunchbox Top Handle bags are also must-haves this season. Handcrafted by expert artisans with luxe quilted leather, the bags are sophisticated yet versatile, making it perfect for everyday use.
Along with the Pre-Fall collection, Coach is also introducing a capsule collection with athleisure as its leitmotif. Here, Vever focuses on craftsmanship for the brand’s inaugural athleisure capsule. It combines Spring staples such as sporty, athletic wear with contemporary accents.
Click through the gallery below for the full collection.
Coach x Def Jam SEA Virtual Concert Experience
In the spirit of community, freedom and nostalgia, Coach will be presenting its inaugural Virtual Concert Experience in collaboration with Def Jam SEA on Thursday, 24 June 2021 at 9pm.
The 1980s-inspired production will feature 13 artists from across Southeast Asia, with Yung Raja, Joe Flizzow, DABOYWAY and Rayi Putra headlining the show—all dressed in the Pre-Fall 2021 collection.
From now till 17 June 2021, customers will receive a link and password to the Coach x Def Jam SEA Virtual Concert Experience with any purchase. Bonus? You can shop from the comfort of your home with the label’s “Coach on Delivery” service by contacting any of its Store Associates here.
For more information about the virtual concert, go here.