Naiise invites Skii and Joyce from the incredibly dynamic and witty Popspoken team to hang out with us and talk some design. Drawing from the inspiration of living, breathing lifestyle and fashion daily, the lovely duo also curates their own top gift picks for this Christmas. Check out our interviews with Skii and Chung, and their curated collections here: Gifts for Hipsters by Skii, and Gifts for Stylish Season by Joyce.
Skii Chung, Executive Editor
1. Who is in the Popspoken team and how did Popspoken come about?
Our management team comprises of 6 editors who manage different beats, such as Fashion, Arts and Lifestyle. That aside, we have a team of about 20 contributing curators which comprise of fun individuals from all walks of life. Popspoken began when I met Shah, my business partner, at Men's Fashion Week 2011. Since the inception of Popspoken, there have been many structural changes, but our passion for writing remains. Together, we restructured the curatorial team and rebranded the site in 2011. Popspoken was formally re-established in 2012 and the core editorial team was formed shortly after.
2. What do you focus on, and what is your signature style - be it in writing, content, design?
As the Executive Editor, my role is more of a manager or overseer and hence, there is no specific beat I focus on. In terms of writing style and content, my rule of thumb is to produce insightful pieces which informs people of things they don't already know. As for design, less is more. Simplicity always wins me over.
3. Thank you for curating our Christmas Gift Guides for Hipsters. Who do you think are today's Hipsters, and how have they evolved in recent years?
Today, hipsters are classified by their alternative appearance (think horn-rimmed glasses and Jimmy Damoordy haircuts) and their love for the counter-culture. Don't we all love Macklemore? Hipsters of the past, also fondly termed "Hippies" were largely identified by their alternative, off-beat attitudes towards social norms and politics.
4. How does this collection reflect your personal style as well, and what are your top picks from it?
I love all things minimalistic. The items from the Pantone Universe collection really strike a chord with me, as the design is sleek, simple and effective. I also really dig the Wooden Lamp, Cardboard Radio and Wooden Pallet Coasters from Curathing as it is testament that good design and eco-friendliness can go hand in hand.
5. How is design important to you?
Design is everywhere and it affects my everyday living. From the way my shelf is structured to the ergonomic quality of my chair. Indeed, good design is crucial.
6. What can we expect from Popspoken in the near future?
We have curators based as far as New York and hope to expand our reach to other parts of the world, so our readers can definitely expect more international coverage. Special mentnion goes out to Joyce, our fashion editor, who has done a brilliant job covering New Zealand Fashion Week this year. Thus far, we have also covered many South East Asian festivals, such as the MTV Worldstage and Carlsberg "Where's the Party", to name a few. Exciting times lie ahead! 3 of our team members will be covering the largest dance party in Indonesia, the Djakarta Warehouse Project held on 13 December 2013, so stay tuned for that.
7. Any tips for naiise living in the year ahead?
Always choose to be kind. It goes a long way.
Joyce Quah, Fashion Editor
1. What do you focus on, and what is your signature style - be it in writing, content, design?
As the fashion editor, I focus on managing the fashion column - people, PR, events, editing etc. We try to keep a witty and irreverent tone on Popspoken, we aim to bring a different perspective and put out fresh and insightful pieces everytime. Personally, I like keeping a conversational tone when I write. Contrast in texture and tone is what really attracts me design-wise, I also like knowing about the story and inspiration behind it.
2. Thank you for curating our Christmas Gift Guides for a Stylish Season. What do you think makes a person stylish?
For me it is someone who doesn't just put on what he sees on a mannequin or a runway, he infuses some of his character and makes it his own. Gianni Versace once said, 'Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live.', I feel that is through style - having your own personal brand.
3. How does this collection reflect your personal style as well, and what are your top picks from it?
I'm pretty minimalist and I appreciate simple silhouettes, but I also like adding a little 'je ne sais quoi' to elevate a simple aesthetic - color, texture, cut, accessories. This collection features that aspect of my style signature, pieces that can add another dimension to a simple outfit or your home. Top picks are definitely the pieces that highlight Singapore's colloquialisms like the 'Aiyo Ring' by Chainless Brain, 'Eh Sia La T-Shirt' by Statement and the 'Kueh Lapis Sagu Tote Bag' by wheniwasfour. I have a great respect for brands and people that speak for our unique culture and these are things that us Singaporean kids grew up with that form a part of our identity so it holds a special place in my heart.
4. How is design important to you?
Design is what makes life beautiful. Great design has the ability to reach out and touch people.
5. Has living in NZ influenced you in any way on your perspectives on lifestyle, fashion and good design?
I'm definitely less 'kanchiong spider' now, haha. My perspective on life has changed a little as well from meeting and interacting with people from so many different walks of life. I notice a lot of Kiwi people dress for function more than fashion here, I've always thought that it's because of the erratic weather although I may be wrong. On that note, I've always been a little perplexed as to why some of my Kiwi friends walk around barefoot even in the dead of winter - I think it's just one of those quirks that every country has. New Zealand fashion week opened my eyes to the Southern hemisphere's fashion scene, there was a lot of use of black (although they tastefully overlayed and underlayed pieces with swatches of color and print) and there was a lot of concept and thought that went into the collections, the pieces that stood out were understated but edgy. There are so many layers (figuratively and literally) to New Zealand fashion that's worth our attention. My taste in fashion has also taken on some of New Zealand's more muted and laidback qualities. I think good design is something that takes your breath away and stays on your mind; I like collecting pictures of architectural designs that speak to me, like Cheshire Architect's phenomenal work on Milse, a Dessert restaurant in Auckland. They fashioned the place out of bespoke and delicately carved wood moucharaby panels. The effect wasn't mausoleum, it was beautiful and stunning.
6. What can we expect from you and Popspoken in the near future?
We have writers covering more events in Singapore and overseas than before and there are many exciting things happening for Pop that we would love to share with our readers in time, so stay tuned!
7. Any tips for naiise living in the year ahead?
Follow your heart, but take your brain with you. Travel and cultural exposure are two things more important than work and money.