By  Clarence Aw

Heartland Lover; Remix 2.0

Heartland Lover; Remix 2.0

Story – Tackling Tacky

Fashion is a strange thing – in the name of fashion, a 6’2 angmoh model can sashay through the heart of Tiong Bahru dressed in a Hello Kitty tee and a pair of garishly tie-dyed boho pants; and of course she gets stares. Passersby are curious, confused, envious even – because she pulls it off so well. But slap “pasar malam” wear onto a middle-aged auntie, and no one would bat an eyelid. Is there something we’re missing here then? Is what’s “fashionable” determined by the clothing, or the wearer?

Countless blogs have documented “style steals” where everyday humans attempt to emulate a celebrity’s fashion choices for a week, before revealing, most commonly, that sometimes it takes more than just money and great clothes to look fashionable – most of the time it takes having a model’s physique and appearance, or a multi-million dollar name or branding (we’re looking at you Kim K.) For the most part, it’s a depressing realisation; but it also means a brighter future for fashion – specifically indie brands. If it is truly the wearer that maketh the look, then technically anything could pass for high fashion – so long as they’re worn by the right people. Right?

Enter local fashion – and our unexplained, natural resistance to it. Seems more than just a little prejudiced that the common response to receiving homegrown brands is to shy away from it; not to mention embarrassing. We’re telling the rest of the world, hey, we’re ashamed of ourselves and we’d rather consume your fast fashion mass industry, or fork out thousands for your bigger ticket European labels instead. Cool.

So here’s to going all the way to the other end of the spectrum – local fashion, in its most extreme, unappealing mass form possible. Since the clothes don’t matter so much as the model, surely tacky pasar malam clothing can be made trendy too. It’s bringing street style to street market style, and supporting local every step of the way; so no hate, people. And really; Jeremy Scott at Moschino may have made the Powerpuff Girls a luxury must-have with a $1000 price tag, but we clearly saw the PPG potential first.

Yang Ai Zhen, 49, did a double take when the 5’8 brunette clad in a pale blue teddy bear nightie and cheap plastic accessories showed up at her stall with a camera crew in tow – but easily giggled it off. The owner of a desserts stall at the Old Airport Road food centre has been selling ice kacang and the like since she first started helping her aunts at 18 years old; so she’s seen her fair share of weirdness.

Particularly because her stall has been painstakingly decked out with an impressive collection of Hello Kitty merchandise – which definitely attracts all kinds of attention. A fellow hawker calls out “Wah, 出名了!” to which she grins cheekily. Her bestsellers are bobochacha and tausuan, but strangely enough she doesn’t actually like desserts herself. “But I really like what I do,” she shrugs, “I’ll keep at it till I’m old.”

Model: Alexandra Hansen

Makeup & Hair: Marie Genevieve Jessie Soh

Story: Amanda Chai

Location: Dakota Crescent

Video: Jayden Tan

Clothes (not for the faint hearted): Pink knit top with silver dagger by Shuiku Fashion / Aquarium wonderland pants by Goa / Tattoo top by Chritstian Audigier / Psychedelic floral print top by Venus / Printed baggy pants by Jinova / Bear printed gown by Wandy / Diamond top by High fashion by Viraporn / Accessories by Fiona Magic

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Categories: All, Fashion