The colonial era of the 1930s in Singapore sets the backdrop for this year’s The 50 Cents Fest (五毛钱美食荟萃), in its third year running, on 28 and 29 ...On July 16, 2018 / By Nookmag
Mandarin series, Meteor Garden 2018 will premiere exclusively on Netflix globally excluding Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia. Scripted, directed and produced by multi-talented showrunner Angie Chai, who teams up with ...On July 16, 2018 / By Nookmag
As two brands with a longstanding influence on the streets, Converse x Kasina takes from the past to deliver a modern expression of both brands. Through the One ...On July 12, 2018 / By Nookmag
Ah Mah Homemade Cake is excited to announce the launch of its new banana chocolate flavour – Choco-Nana, available from now across all its outlets! The new flavour ...On July 9, 2018 / By Nookmag
Famed for its signature lava cookies and homemade artisanal ice cream with a quirky spin, Creamery Boutique Ice Creams Singapore celebrates the nation’s 53rd year of independence with ...On July 8, 2018 / By Nookmag
No stranger to incorporating fresh fruits to their range of premium tea, Teafolia continues to stay true to their flair with the development of 3 new refreshing drinks ...On July 7, 2018 / By Nookmag
Giving Week 2016 may be over, but the spirit and effort of “giving back” continue to live on with some companies, whose core values revolve around being kind,On December 20, 2016 / By Jamie Lee
Giving Week 2016 may be over, but the spirit and effort of “giving back” continue to live on with some companies, whose core values revolve around being kind, inclusive, and thoughtful. We speak to three companies that played their part in Giving Week — Flour Power, a bakery that employs people with special needs, Halal Food Hunt, an online guide for Muslims to find halal food, and [email protected], an inclusive children’s amusement centre — about what it means to give, and how they give every day.
Nookmag: Introduce yourself and why you decided to be a social enterprise.
Lena Ng, Flour Head at Flour Power: I was in corporate marketing for more than 12 years, and took a sabbatical in 2011 to stay in the villages in Cambodia and Thailand, where I volunteered to teach English. When I got back, I decided to help Singaporeans as well, so I spent two years looking for the gaps in the social fabric, and realised that kids with special needs didn’t have many options after they graduated.
You equip people with special needs with baking and customer service skills. What is the best, as well as most challenging, part about this?
The best part must be seeing our boys achieving small milestones. Everyone looks for big results and miss out the small things but we believe that the small victories should be celebrated! The most challenging thing must surely be balancing our social mission with running a business.
What does it mean to “give”?
I have been blessed with so much, that I can be a blessing to others. A lot of people, including myself, think you must be wealthy to be able to give. But I’ve come to the realisation that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone has much to give, be it time or money, and someone out there will be blessed by it.
Share with us one stereotype you’d like to break about social enterprises or people with special needs.
There is a perception that social enterprises have products that are inferior to commercial businesses. Actually, in so many ways we are comparable — if not better — than other businesses; because whilst we compete in the same spheres of business, we also achieve a social objective at the same time!
HALAL FOOD HUNT
Nookmag: Introduce yourself and why you decided to join Giving Week.
Nur Safiah Alias, Marketing & Communications Manager: ’Halal’ means ‘permissible’ in Arabic, and Halalfoodhunt.com is a portal which lists verified halal-certified and Muslim-owned F&B businesses. We thought Giving Week was a good opportunity to give back, and encourage our merchants that no business is too small to do their part. To incentivise our merchants to participate in Giving Week, we offered complimentary video and editorial coverage of their restaurant and Giving Dish. Here’s a list of Giving Dishes.
Why did you choose Project Goodwill Aid and Literacy Initiative for Equity to send your proceeds to?
These are young beneficiaries and causes; being a new company ourselves, we empathised because we know what it feels like to not have money or resources. Our merchants resonated with their cause too.
What is the connection between Islam and doing good deeds?
As Muslims, we do our best to follow the laws laid down by Allah and the practices by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Eating halal is one of them, and doing good to the community at large is another. In the Quran, there is this phrase:
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Charity is prescribed for each descendant of Adam every day the sun rises.” He was then asked: “From what do we give charity every day?” The Prophet answered: “The doors of goodness are many… enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf, leading the blind, guiding one to the object of his need, hurrying with the strength of one’s legs to one in sorrow who is asking for help, and supporting the feeble with the strength of one’s arms–all of these are charity prescribed for you.” He also said: “Your smile for your brother is charity.” Source: Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3, Number 98
Nookmag: What does it mean to “give”?
Giving is something simple and can be done at all levels of income, or any type of situations. To give is to be human, to make ourselves useful and valuable, and to be a part of the community that we are in. To give is to care for everyone around us.
Nookmag: Introduce yourself and why inclusiveness is important at [email protected]
Faith Chng, Founder of [email protected]: I had a vision to create a play environment where all children can come together, including those who are special needs, and providing an environment that can love and accept them for who they are. Every child is unique in their own ways, and we hope to build a fun and creative environment, and inspire parents to discover, guide and empower themselves and their children.
Nookmag: In dealing with kids with special needs, what would you say is the best as well as most challenging part?
The best part is the relationships formed between the special needs children and myself. Getting to know their family at a personal level allows me to learn about the uniqueness of each individual child, and how to communicate with them. The challenging part is to have patience and perseverance — to keep trying our best even when we do not see immediate results in the children.
Nookmag: What does it mean to “give”?
Personally, I believe in this quote: freely we have received, freely we give. The essence of giving is important, and it must come from the heart. Every charity project must have a purpose, and must be able to bring values that benefit both the donor as well as the recipient.
On Tuesday, 4 October, POP#02 presented the clash between tour bikes and foldies with a show-and-tell session between Cromoly Affairs and BrompingSG respectively. On this evening, AcitOn October 7, 2016 / By Renata
On this evening, Acit Salbini and Crew from Cromoly Affairs shared their experience from their recent bicycle tour from Manali to Leh, explaining their addiction to pushing themselves to their limits.
Highlights of the evening include their stories of insufficient oxygen, and having to travel without technology after the first 3 days into the trip. The team also shared the possibility of organising another such bike trip in the not too distant future, and welcomes all who are interested to check back on their Facebook page for more details.
In contrast, Ayamirza and Esa from BrompingSG shared how they packed their 16-inch-wheel Brompton bikes off for fun rides across cities such as Perth and Tokyo. After sharing with us that the experience between both cities were vastly different, both speakers encouraged the free-and-easy way of life, with the following food for though : “Life is too short to do something.” For more inspiring quotes from this crew, visit their Facebook Page!
For more images of POP#02, visit us on Facebook!
Likewise, keep yourself updated on our next installation of POP here : Nookmag
POP, which stands for People of Passion is an initiative by Nookmag.com where invite 2 Individuals or groups at the far end of the spectrum to share theirOn September 11, 2016 / By Renata
POP, which stands for People of Passion is an initiative by Nookmag.com where invite 2 Individuals or groups at the far end of the spectrum to share their story. They can be sharing the same passion but in completely different line of work or they can be in the same line of work but with totally different passion. By doing so, we hope to attract different audiences and with the clash of these audiences, new bonds are made.
In our first series of People of Passion (POP), two educators with very different passions were featured. While the first speaker, Linus, a science teacher with a passion for improving the lives of impoverished kids in Myanmar, Dexter on the other hand, was an English teacher with a passion for sneakers.
To recap, the event was held at Nook & Cranny Cafe, where Linus shared some images of his multiple trips to Myanmar, including those of people he had met on his trips as well as some breathtaking scenery from the country. He also shared his life’s dilemma of discovering what he was “put on Earth to accomplish”, and his final decision of creating a non-profit organisation titled Global Village for Hope.
As he told his story, a member from the audience asked how he managed to fund his project, to which he responded that he was thankful for friends who decided his task was a meaningful one. He then explained that he did not accept money for projects without first determining what the goals and costs were. For instance, before building a well for the villagers, he had to determine the costs of required building materials and manpower before proceeding to collect money for the project. As such, although it all began with Linus funding the projects himself, it has now grown to a stage where eager donors are brought together by his efforts to help the children and villagers of Myanmar.
As the session continued, Dexter shared his passions and views in creating one of the largest sneaker conventions in town : Sole Superior. Telling the story of how he first met his partner in this project, he mentioned that they were standing for hours in a line for a chance to each purchase their favoured pair of sneakers. In such cases, the usual practice was to ignore your neighbour in the queue as they may end up being your rival for the same pair of kicks. In this case however, a friendship blossomed when they complimented each other’s shoes, which kick-started the idea of creating something no one has done before in Singapore.
Upon deciding that sneakerheads such as themselves would love the idea of a sneaker convention with multiple brands involved, all in one place, this duo slogged at pitching their idea to various brands, only to be rejected at every turn. Nevertheless, they persevered, and are now hosts of the largest annual sneaker convention in Singapore.
As the evening drew to a close, both speakers were each presented with the latest pair of kicks sponsored by Converse Singapore.
Although the sharing session had ended, the after party had just begun! Look out for our next installment of POP, where two teams of cyclists will be featured to share their life’s mottos around their passions. While the two teams of speakers in the upcoming round are both cyclists, don’t let their passions fool you as they both have very different philosophies around the sport.
Catch them at the next POP happening on 4 October @ 7.30pm, at Nook & Cranny!
9 Sin Ming Road
#01-03 Thomson V One
Today, while deciding the first on our new list of quirky holidays, we came across “Cherish an Antique Day”. Between celebrating our heritage and reminiscing with paintings ofOn April 9, 2016 / By Audrey Chiang
Today, while deciding the first on our new list of quirky holidays, we came across “Cherish an Antique Day”. Between celebrating our heritage and reminiscing with paintings of old, we came to the only reasonable conclusion : what better way to celebrate than to take a look at memorable artifacts from the past? Thus, join us as we speak to the expert in antiques at The Heritage Shop on Jalan Sultan.
More often than not, people collect and keep things for different reasons. Whether it is for intellectual, aesthetic or emotional satisfaction, the art of collecting nearly always derives from passion. Be it collecting furniture, books or even simple everyday objects, these items become antique overtime. Akin to old books, antiques hold an unprecedented amount of knowledge waiting patiently to be discovered; like an exotic gem, it waits for its next owner as it passes through history from generation to generation.
Despite being such a small country, Singapore certainly has a rich history of antique items packed in nostalgic lanes on city streets. Forget museums and art galleries, the antique market in Singapore is just as significant for people in the pursuit of discovery. While the old bric-a-brac stores are scarce island wide, there are still several places one can discover to satisfy a desire for vintage, collectible merchandise.
Located along Jalan Sultan, The Heritage Shop is a prime example of a true collection of history and culture. As one takes the first step past the threshold, the place immediately evokes a sense of nostalgia with a vast display of collectible items of treasured finds. The shop owner, Mr Patrick Phua has been running the shop for 16 years. With his kindness and humility, he was more than willing to share about his own personal experience with regard to collecting antique items.
Definitely a passionate collector, Patrick is well aware of the lure of the hunt. What started out as an excessive amount of items bought on impulse gradually turns into a passion of collecting random objects close to his heart. He first started out on garage sales 25 years ago, hopping on the bandwagon seeking locals who have no qualms about buying second-hand goods. To his amazement, there were overwhelming positive responses from enthusiastic buyers on the quest for antiques. This gave him confidence to leverage on this opportunity and set up his own business in the antique market.
Yet, the most intriguing thing is that Patrick is able to incorporate his love of collecting into his job for passion, rather than a desire to make money.
“Without that passion, it is very hard to continue with this business. You have to love it to want to learn more about the different antique items”, says Patrick.
It is truly inspiring to learn about his strong love for antiques. Time on earth, is a valuable asset and it is something to be spent on wisely. Patrick chose to indulge his time in collecting and trading antique items, and that steered him right off onto a route that brings him happiness, purely by doing what he loves.
“It’s my hobby, it’s my indulgence”, he says.
A quick scan of the shop seemingly reveals an infinite amount of unique finds, with an assortment of old books, porcelain plates and artworks methodically arranged throughout the interior. With antique chairs, Chinese ornaments, old telephones and mini cassettes, the list is long indeed. Each item is unique in its aesthetic, brimming with nostalgia and memories.
Among the many items within the shop, one particularly intriguing piece is the old, vintage radio situated at the corner. It may seem that the golden age of radio may be gone, but antique radios like this one easily trigger memories of times gone by.
Similarly, photographs of our late prime minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, alongside other images that contain old memories of Singapore, linger on the sidewalk of the shop. Undeniably, simple pictures like these can easily be used to educate people of our past history, acknowledge our past political turmoil, and appreciate the good old days of rock ‘n’ roll in the 60s.
The aisles of shelves were also filled with irregularly stacked dishes and porcelain ware, reflecting memories of old Singapore, and allowing visitors to learn and reminisce the good, old times of the past.
While one may question the challenges of the prospects an antique business today holds due to the advent of digital platforms such as ebay, it is not surprising that many visitors are still drawn to the shop for vintage pieces. Indeed, Patrick’s customers are widely diverse, ranging from random passers-by and tourists, to regular customers. One possible reason could be the face-to-face interaction with the seller, especially when collectors like Patrick are not out to earn money.
When asked about the sustainability of his antique business, Patrick simply laughed and said that he is uncertain about the future; perhaps instead, this could be a lucrative market in Singapore for people to visit the relics of Singapore’s history.
With an array of technological devices often being reinvented, people nowadays tend to indulge in the need to have something ‘new’. Yet, old is gold. It’s through relics of the past that retains a story of rich history. Be it a collector who collects for passionate interests or a visitor who buys out of nostalgia, antiques are very much treasured finds that holds aesthetic or historical significance.
For Patrick, collecting old items has gradually translated into a passion, bringing him joy and developing a lifestyle allowing him to experience that joy everyday.
The Heritage Shop
93 Jalan Sultan
As this week draws to a close, stay tuned for yet another installment of a quirky holiday soon to come in next week’s issue of “Quirky Holidays”.
This early 2016, Indonesia based apparel company, Paradise Youth Club (PYC) has teamed up with Jungles, the Australian experimental wearable label to present a special collaboration. While PYCOn February 22, 2016 / By Nookmag
This early 2016, Indonesia based apparel company, Paradise Youth Club (PYC) has teamed up with Jungles, the Australian experimental wearable label to present a special collaboration. While PYC is inspired by various cultures including surf, skate, music, and social issues, Jungles is known for its experimental designs and visual experience.
Inspired by teenagers and college students that are becoming beatniks, sicknicks, and acid heads, both companies decided to play on themes inspired by their individual basic influences for this joint project. The results? A unique T-shirt that comes in black, designed with a hint of psychedelic typography with a Phosphorescence “Glow-in-the-dark” print finishing.
The collaboration is now available exclusively via Dover Street Market London, as well as at PYC stores in Jakarta, Bandung, Jogjakarta, Lampung, Brisbane Australia, and Singapore (available in March). Alternatively, you may also take a trip down paradiseyouthclub.com and junglesjungles.com to pick up a piece for yourself.
With two new stores being launched in the final quarter of the year, STARTHREESIXTY is concluding 2015 on a high note. This also sets a boisterous tone forOn October 26, 2015 / By Gracie
With two new stores being launched in the final quarter of the year, STARTHREESIXTY is concluding 2015 on a high note. This also sets a boisterous tone for year-end festivities as shoppers seek for exciting gift ideas – one thing that the one-stop purveyor of celebrated lifestyle and street labels is not short of.
Besides new openings, a fresh addition to the STARTHREESIXTY diverse amalgam of brands this month is the Polo Ralph Lauren men’s footwear. As featured on our selected personality this week, this season’s style is based on its heritage hallmarks and inspired by sophisticated detailing.
In the final edition of our STARTHREESIXTY series, we linked up with esteemed photographer Mellowedhigh (aka Anton) and invited him for a shopping experience at STARTHREESIXTY’s Wheelock Place store.
Anton donning the Polo Ralph Lauren Clarke NE in Newport Navy – SGD110
Sampling the Polo Ralph Lauren Clarke NE in Newport Navy, Anton showed us his favourite spots around town to explore and shoot. The baby-face photographer also spoke about his journey in his craft, developing his niche and his dress sense.
While he was able to win acclaim for his photography work and style in a short period of time, the Singapore born/San Francisco bred lensman remains critical of his work. A huge part of his journey lies in travelling and shooting in different environments.
Nookmag (N): Hey Anton! Tell us about your journey in photography – how you first picked up the camera and eventually arrived at where you are today.
Anton (A): I first picked up a camera – a Canon 450D – in January 2014. It wasn’t even mine – I borrowed it from a friend. At that time, I wanted to shoot my sneakers and stuff. I learned about photography on my own through YouTube videos and I bought a 600D a month after.
In June 2014, I got my first job. That’s when I realised that I could make money out of photography. I eventually got a 6D with the money I earned from that job.
When I first started photography in Singapore, I was very active on Instagram and social media. I had a sort of edge and a different perspective that the people here were not really used to. I was shooting a lot on rooftops – something that my friends from the US were doing. I looked up to them and developed my own niche from there. I was shooting all these ‘crazy’ photos and that was how I received a lot of attention at the start. As I go along, I focused on other types of photography as well.
June last year was also the time I got in contact with Hypebeast and I built upon the momentum that I had. Everything went up.
N: What are some highs and lows that you’ve been through?
A: As I was mentioning, everything was going up from June last year. I was getting jobs after jobs… To be honest, I don’t get paid a lot for the jobs that I do. In fact, the cooler the job is, the lesser I’m paid. A high would be when I was offered to work for Publish Brand in February this year in LA. Of course, working for Hypebeast was a big thing as well. I grew up being a fan of Hypebeast, following them on a daily basis.
A low point would be a major setback in February this year. I’ve just been distracted and not as focused as I used to be but I’m still trying to find my way. I made some bad decisions with my career and I lost a few jobs that I could’ve gotten.
N: How would you describe your style of photography?
A: Right now, it’s very raw and street. People think that I do a lot of cityscapes but I actually do more portraits. It’s just that I don’t post them up. I’m not happy with my style, personally. I really want to do more editorial, conceptual stuff – more than what I’m doing right now. I want to be more artsy, where I can showcase my ideas.
N: Let’s talk about style! Tell us more about your personal dress sense.
A: My usual every day wear would be a slightly baggy t-shirt, jogger pants and a pair of sneakers. It’s so hot in Singapore to even wear pants, especially when I’m out on a shoot. I don’t really like to wear shorts; I prefer wearing pants.
If I’m going out with friends, on a date or to events, I tend to have a long sleeve button-down over my tee, with sleeves rolled up. If I’m going to the movies or an air-conditioned environment, I’d try to put on a lightweight jacket and that’s the most I can go. Browsing through STARTHREESIXTY’s offerings, I can find many essentials for my daily wear.
If I’m overseas, it depends on the weather. I like it when it’s 10 to 20 degree Celsius where I can comfortably put on a jacket and look good. I like to layer my clothes. My favourites are jackets such as coast jackets, button-downs and hoodies. I prefer them to be a little bit baggy; I don’t like tight fitting clothes.
N: And what about those tattoos on your arm?
A: It’s mostly random to be honest. They are kind of cartoonish. They are like drawings, not your typical tattoos. My favourite piece is the tiger with a dagger at the spot (front of elbow) where people think it hurts the most. I want this painful area to look fierce. Another one is a fighter jet drawing that is inspired by one of my favourite movies – Pineapple Express.
N: What do you think of the range of products and brands at STARTHREESIXTY?
A: STARTHREESIXTY is not your typical every day store. It has a good selection of street and men’s style for guys in their 20s and 30s. Personally, there is a mix of brands that I can relate to. The younger guys would go for the street brands like Obey and Converse, and the mature ones would go for the ASICS Tiger. And it also has brands that you don’t see often like Patrick.
N: Which are your favourite three brands/products from the store? Why?
A: Definitely Obey, Converse and ASICS Tiger. Obey is a youth brand and it’s something that I would wear. I like Obey because it’s very street and artsy. They have very cool street art.
Converse is a staple. If you wear sneakers, you’d definitely wear Converse.
ASICS Tiger shoes are comfy and they have a certain refined look. The quality is always on point – they are always made of good materials.
N: How do you like the Polo Ralph Lauren shoes that you’ve tried?
A: It’s pretty cool. I’ve always liked Polo Ralph Lauren. It’s a very classy American brand. So far, the shoes have been very comfy and light. They don’t feel heavy for a high top. It’s pretty good. I definitely like the navy colour and the logo at the side.
N: Polo Ralph Lauren has carved out a lifestyle niche for its branding. How are you able to relate to this in terms of your photography style?
A: There are so many photographers. Why would someone hire you? I believe you got to have a certain edge and niche. To build a niche is to look at what is lacking at where you’re based and build upon that. The earlier part of my career was about finding my own style and being different in this environment. I started travelling as much as I could and finding different environments and people to shoot with – that was how I built my niche. I’d always look at what is happening at a certain country or community and ask myself, “What can I do next?” I’d look at a more mature art scene and build it upon a less mature one.
As mentioned in the beginning, I was inspired by what my friends were shooting in the US – a style that was lacking in Singapore. They were shooting with a lot of natural light. Their photos are always very edgy – they pop and show a lot of character. They were also processing their photos in a way that looked better than what you could see with your naked eye. My niche involved making sure that my pictures looked more impressive than what you could see with your naked eye.
STARTHREESIXTY stores are located at Wheelock Place #02-07/08, Paragon #03-08, Marina Square #02-179 and Novena Square #01-24. Check out the newly opened store at Suntec City (North Wing) #01-458/462; the new store at Bugis Junction #02-11A will be opened on 26 November 2015. For more information, check out STARTHREESIXTY Facebook.
Photo Credits: Phoebe Chin
A purveyor of lifestyle and street labels, STARTHREESIXTY features a dynamic selection of sneakers, apparel, bags and accessories that serves the varied taste of a discerning crowd. This isOn October 19, 2015 / By Gracie
A purveyor of lifestyle and street labels, STARTHREESIXTY features a dynamic selection of sneakers, apparel, bags and accessories that serves the varied taste of a discerning crowd. This is a group whose style and ideals go hand-in-hand. The multi-label concept store hosts brands such as Asics Tiger, Birkenstock, Converse, Happy Socks, Master-piece, Munsingwear, Obey, Onitsuka Tiger, Patrick, Polo Ralph Lauren Men, Reebok Classic, Saucony Originals and Spingle.
While the first edition of our STARTHREESIXTY series cast the limelight on Onitsuka Tiger and Polo Ralph Lauren, the second edition explored the styles and stories of Spingle and Patrick – Japanese labels that possess a fervent domestic pride. Someone who can closely relate to the Japanese’s attitude towards quality workmanship is Michelle Yu, the craftswoman behind The Gentlemen’s Press – a local letterpress and printing studio founded in 2011.
This week, we invited her for a shopping experience at the STARTHREESIXTY store at Wheelock Place. Sampling a pair of Spingle Move shoes, the affable artist shared her journey in making letterpress her livelihood, her personal style and her thoughts on the work ethics that go behind every single Spingle shoe.
Michelle Yu donning the Spingle SPM 290 in beige/khaki – SGD219
Nevermind the adversities that she has encountered along the way while managing The Gentlemen’s Press, Michelle was determined to win hearts with the finest print works created by letterpress. No gimmicks, just sheer authentic craftsmanship.
Nookmag (N): Hey Michelle! You dove into the art of letterpress back in 2011 and never looked back since. Could you share with us some highs and lows that you’ve been through?
Michelle (M): There are quite a lot of lows. When I just started, I had no idea [on how to run the business]. There were no guidelines for me. So I explored and went through many lows. I didn’t know accounting, marketing or communicating with clients in a proper way. When I started doing letterpress, I had to spend a lot of time practising the craft to master the skills involved and perfect the printing. I was also educating customers on what letterpress is and the price range that came with it. It was quite overwhelming in every aspect.
The highs happened when I started to see results but I had to keep pushing for a few months or even a year or two. Slowly, the results showed when customers returned and they appreciate what I’m doing. They see the quality in the print. That was really comforting and it gave me a reason to push on. After that occurred, I spent more time trying to invent [different methods for the craft]. Letterpress is not just about printing, it’s also about the different kinds of paper, ink and technique we use.
N: What are some reasons for customers to choose letterpress as a printing method they want to use?
M: It’s still a small group of people who chooses it. They like very tactile things. They want something different, that’s why they choose letterpress. Most of them are designers. I think they have different requirements in their work. Let’s say they spend 10 hours doing a design work, they wouldn’t want it to be printed in 10 seconds using a digital printer. They want their work to be treated with respect. Letterpress gives them the amount of time and effort to produce their work on a piece of paper. Their work gets treated differently.
N: How do you try to create awareness for letterpress?
M: I do my part in perfecting my skills and producing good work. By word of mouth, it will slowly spread around. When people see nice things, they will share. I try not to go out and hard sell myself. It doesn’t really work.
N: What’s new at The Gentlemen’s Press and how do you keep things fresh?
M: The newest thing is that I added a new Heidelberg (letterpress machine) ever since I moved out of my old studio. It quickens the speed of printing and makes the process more efficient. It’s more cost-efficient too. I also picked up new printing skills on the new machine. It’s refreshing as I’ve been using the old letterpress machines for the past two years. There are more possibilities and potential with the new Heidelberg.
N: Let’s talk about style! Tell us more about how you like to dress.
M: I like comfortable clothes as I’m constantly moving around the studio, working on the prints. I cannot have a lot of fancy things hanging around because they may get caught in the machine. I usually wear an apron to protect my clothes, though it doesn’t usually work. I try to go as plain as possible, such as tough denim shirt, pants or overalls. I like to wear covered shoes too. When I’m not working, I’d put on more accessories. I’d change my shoes too.
N: What do you think of the range of products and brands at STARTHREESIXTY?
M: I think it has a good range of products. STARTHREESIXTY even carries a few exclusive brands such as Patrick, Spingle and Master-Piece, which can’t be found elsewhere. There is also a wide range of models from each brand. The store easily has most of the essentials I need with its range of apparels, shoes, bags and accessories housed under one roof.
N: Which are your favourite three brands from the store? Why?
M: My most favourite is Onitsuka Tiger. The shoes are very light and portable. I especially like their classic model – it never goes out of style and it’s classy.
My second favourite is Patrick. Their shoes are very nicely crafted, especially the leather range. Despite being made from leather, they are still very light and portable.
The last one has to be Spingle. I like the combination of colours. The shoes are very organic-looking and comfortable to wear during work. There is quite a lot of allowance at the front too.
N: The Spingle shoes that you’re wearing are manufactured using traditional technique in the brand’s domestic factory with skilled craftsmen. Being a creative craftswoman, how can you relate to their work ethics?
M: Spingle strives for perfection in every piece of work and every little bit of detail. They have consistency. I respect the Japanese spirit and their craftsmanship. I always try to achieve consistency. It’s the consistency of perfection. For letterpress, everything is handmade. There might be a slight difference in every card. I have to try my best to maintain that perfection and present it to my client. Every piece cost about a few dollars to produce, so I have to make sure that they are worth the money. The customers are paying for the quality and effort.
Stay tuned for the final edition of our STARTHREESIXTY series where we speak to street and lifestyle photographer Anton aka Mellowedhigh, on his craft and Polo Ralph Lauren shoes.
STARTHREESIXTY stores are located at Wheelock Place #02-07/08, Paragon #03-08, Marina Square #02-179 and Novena Square #01-24. The new stores at Suntec City (North Wing) #01-458/462 and Bugis Junction #02-11A will be opened on 21 October 2015 and 26 November 2015 respectively. For more information, check out STARTHREESIXTY Facebook.
Last week’s debut edition of our STARTHREESIXTY series presented an introduction of the multi-label concept store’s assortment of star-studded brands, with the spotlight directed at Onitsuka Tiger andOn October 12, 2015 / By Gracie
Last week’s debut edition of our STARTHREESIXTY series presented an introduction of the multi-label concept store’s assortment of star-studded brands, with the spotlight directed at Onitsuka Tiger and Polo Ralph Lauren.
Positioning itself as “a one-stop purveyor for the fashion players”, STARTHREESIXTY takes the task of sourcing and bringing in new brands with an exceptional sense of importance. Armed with a rich experience in the lifestyle sports and fashion industry and a strong team of experienced brand managers and buyers, it is constantly on the lookout for exciting brands and highly sought-after limited editions to further enrich consumers’ experience. Buyers also stay ahead of their game by attending global fashion fairs and tradeshows regularly.
STARTHREESIXTY Store in Paragon
Additionally, STARTHREESIXTY keeps close tabs on the burgeoning street trends in Japan, where home-grown sneaker and accessory labels are a common sight. Once unattainable in Singapore, two A-list brands – Spingle Move and Patrick – have found their way on to its store shelves in recent years. In this second edition, we check out the styles and stories of these labels, which possess a fervent domestic pride.
The heart of Spingle Move beats for the pride of having every single shoe handcrafted in its Japanese factory by skilled craftsmen. The unisex brand ensures that only the highest quality materials are used and carefully chosen from the best Japanese suppliers.
Manufacturing disciplines comprise a traditional vulcanising process that gives the shoes a classical appearance and comfortable fitting. Every design is produced in small quantities, ensuring that the highest quality and standards are maintained at all times.
Some of our favourite Spingle features include a soft insole with a comfortable fit, an outsole with excellent durability and flexibility, a sturdy heel core and most certainly, a beautiful form.
Male talent wearing SPM 168 in white – SGD239; Female talent wearing SPM 110 in blue – SGD239
The shoes are constructed to be spacious and comfortable on the inside, a prized trait that is disguised by their slim exterior. Pair this with the sturdy heel core feature, Spingle shoes make fantastic travelling companions that are able to withstand long hours on the road and rough conditions.
Female talent wearing SPM 110 in blue – SGD239
Did you know? The curved up outsole on all Spingle shoes is an icon of the label. It is attached by hand and has excellent elasticity, durability, grip and flexibility.
Male talent wearing SPM 168 in white – SGD239
The timeless and genderless designs of Spingle shoes coordinate ideally with easy, clean looks and basic colours. Unfussy materials such as cotton and denim complements effortlessly, while the choice of a single accessory helps to add some zing into the outfit.
Featured are SPM 295 in a multi-colour blend – SGD269
Featured are SPM 290 in a navy stripe design – SGD219
Patrick, l’Esprit du Sport, boasts a French ancestry with a rich history of making functional sports shoes for over a hundred years. In 1990, a brand new “Made in Japan” production line was born with the notion of creating fun, casual shoes that incorporate a variety of fun colours and premium materials to inspire the carefree and comfortable lifestyle that Patrick campaigns.
The Punchest model sharpens a plain outfit with its fine dot embossed textured material and leather shoelaces. Made for the innately stylish, these shoes fit in to most environments and occasions.
Male talent wearing Patrick Punchest shoes in grey – SGD259
Male talent wearing Patrick Punchest shoes in grey – SGD259
The sporty casual Molby series is a good catch for those who fancy a little bounce in their walk. This retro running model with its signature double stripes offers a clean modern ensemble an eccentric vibe.
Featured are Patrick Molby shoes in white and grey – SGD199
An eye-catching design for the female crowd is the Muret.M. Quirky, fun and animated, these shoes are best paired with smart basics such as a white shirt and a long grey skirt. The look is pimped up with complementing accessories such as a colourful headband and a drawstring bag.
Featured are Patrick Muret.M shoes – SGD199
The Patrick Punch Pop series is created for the cheeky ones caught in a more reserved setting. Playful embroidery decorates the toe cap of the steer leather shoes and lightens up the mood of any occasion. The lips and moustache embroidered pair was launched for spring/summer 2015 while the eye and wink embroidered duo will be introduced with the rest of the fall/winter 2015 collection, in continuation of the earlier release.
Featured are Patrick Punch Pop shoes – SGD249
In conjunction with Nookmag’s STARTHREESIXTY series, we are giving away 10 x SGD50 STARTHREESIXTY vouchers! To enter, all you have to do is:
10 winners who answered the question correctly will be randomly selected to receive one voucher worth SGD50 each. Contest ends 23 October 2015.
Stay tuned for the third edition of our STARTHREESIXTY series where we speak to Letterpress craftswoman, Michelle Yu, on her craft and Spingle shoes.
STARTHREESIXTY stores are located at Wheelock Place #02-07/08, Paragon #03-08, Marina Square #02-179 and Novena Square #01-24. The new outlets at Suntec City (North Wing) #01-458/462 and Bugis Junction – #02-11A will be opened in end October 2015 and November 2015 respectively. For more information, check out STARTHREESIXTY Facebook.
Photo Credits (with exception of store images): Phoebe Chin
Since opening its first flagship store in Wheelock Place in December 2011, STARTHREESIXTY has been carving its niche as an inimitable multi-label concept store. Keeping its emphasis onOn October 5, 2015 / By Gracie
Since opening its first flagship store in Wheelock Place in December 2011, STARTHREESIXTY has been carving its niche as an inimitable multi-label concept store. Keeping its emphasis on featuring street and lifestyle labels that are recognised for their individuality in styles and designs, STARTHREESIXTY takes pride in being a purveyor of highly coveted sneakers, apparel, bags and accessories.
By the end of this year, it will be expanding its empire to six stores across the island.
For the next four weeks, Nookmag will be running a series of stories that dive into a few A-listers among the concept store’s assortment of star-studded brands.
In the first edition, we explore the styles and stories of two recommended brands to look out for – Onitsuka Tiger and Polo Ralph Lauren.
The Onitsuka Tiger signature stripes have become quite an iconic display on the shelves of STARTHREESIXTY’s stores over the years. The brand began with Kichachiro Onitsuka’s commitment to promote youth health through sports and since then, the Onitsuka Tiger stripes have become synonymous with premium performance in sport. The legend lives on today as a lifestyle brand in the fusion of Japanese heritage and modern flair.
Female talent wearing Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 Paraty Oshibana – SGD139; Male talent wearing Onitsuka Tiger California 78 – SGD269
STARTHREESIXTY boasts a diverse range of the Japanese label’s seasonal staples and limited editions. For this season, the men’s key look (Mexico 66) exudes a sporty-street style that pairs impeccably well with joggers.
Featured are Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 shoes in black and wine – SGD189
The exclusive Tokidoki collaboration range (California 78) bears the brand’s tiger mascot in signature Simone Legno’s drawing that provides your outfit with that extra character – eye-catching yet effortless.
Male talent wearing Onitsuka Tiger California 78 – SGD269
The women’s range are decked in bright cheery designs for the Mexico 66 Paraty collection. These canvas slip-ons are easy on the feet as they maintain a sporty silhouette. The Bled Polka Dot styles are ideal for casual days under the sun. We imagine running freely through the fields with our best mates and moments of idle while strumming a tune or two.
Featured are Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 Paraty Bled Polka Dots shoes in blue and yellow – SGD139
The Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 Paraty Oshibana model gives your outfit an ultra cool edge with its nature theme. This series of shoes is inspired by the Japanese art of pressed flowers and plants, which is known as Oshibana. To make them stand out, take them to the streets to contrast with surrounding concrete structures.
Female talent wearing Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 Paraty Oshibana – SGD139
Polo Ralph Lauren
The new kid on the block (or shelves) at STARTHREESIXTY is Polo Ralph Lauren men’s footwear collection. Since 40 years ago, the American label has been innovating style with quality products.
Debuting in STARTHREESIXTY stores at Paragon, Wheelock Place and Novena Square mid-October, the fall 2015 Polo Ralph Lauren footwear range shines the spotlight on its heritage hallmarks. Inspired by sophisticated detailing, this series highlights shearling linings, classic menswear textiles on natural leather hides with some oiled/burnished treatments.
The Vaughn-NE and Vito-NE collections sport a casual street look made for exploratory moments in the heart of raw urban jungles. Constructed with Heather Rip Stop material, the shoes are able to withstand rugged urban conditions while looking wicked good.
Featured are Polo Ralph Lauren Vaughn-NE shoes in dark khaki and blue – SGD110
Male talent wearing Polo Ralph Lauren Vito-NE – SGD110
The Bienne II pieces call for a laid-back session in a smart casual ensemble. The shoes are made of waxy pull up leather that offers just the right amount of dapperness for the occasion.
Male talent wearing Polo Ralph Lauren Bienne II – SGD190
In total, STARTHREESIXTY boasts a wide collection of labels under its belt. They include Asics Tiger, Birkenstock, Converse, Happy Socks, Master-piece, Munsingwear, Obey, Onitsuka Tiger, Patrick, Polo Ralph Lauren Men, Reebok Classic, Saucony Originals and Spingle. Patrick, Polo Ralph Lauren Men’s and Spingle are exclusive to STARTHREESIXTY in Singapore.
Happy Socks – SGD14
Master-piece [email protected] Waist Bag – SGD219
Munsingwear Polo T-Shirt in red – SGD169.90; and blue – SGD179.90
Obey Heather Grey Graphic T-Shirt – SGD49; Obey Navy Cap – SGD59
Obey Black Graphic T-Shirt – SGD49; Obey Black/Red Cap – SGD79
Onitsuka Tiger Sweater – SGD229
Onitsuka Tiger Graphic T-Shirt (left) – SGD59; Onitsuka Tiger Sasuke Shoulder Bag (right) – SGD59
Reebok Furylite (top left) – SGD109; Saucony Shadow 5000 (bottom right) – SGD119
From January 2016, STARTHREESIXTY will look forward to host the superlatives of streetwear/sneaker giants Nike and Adidas Originals, together with outdoor enthusiast Timberland, on its shelves.
Stay tuned for the second edition of our STARTHREESIXTY series where we’ll highlight the stories and styles of Spingle and Patrick that hail from the land of the rising sun.
STARTHREESIXTY stores are located at Wheelock Place #02-07/08, Paragon #03-08, Marina Square #02-179 and Novena Square #01-24. The new outlets at Suntec City (North Wing) #01-458/462 and Bugis Junction #02-11A will be opened in end October 2015 and November 2015 respectively. For more information, check out STARTHREESIXTY Facebook.
Polo Ralph Lauren Men will be available exclusively at STARTHREESIXTY Wheelock Place, Novena Square and Paragon from mid-October.
Photo Credits (with exception of store images): Phoebe Chin
It’s not difficult to detect Huck Gee’s warm and friendly disposition from a mile or two away. Wearing multiple belts of contemporary artist, illustrator, designer and more significantly,On September 21, 2015 / By Gracie
It’s not difficult to detect Huck Gee’s warm and friendly disposition from a mile or two away. Wearing multiple belts of contemporary artist, illustrator, designer and more significantly, toy maker, he is a driving force in the world of art toys and is known for crafting small runs of handmade figures that sell out instantly online.
His other accolades include having his art published in numerous books and magazines, and exhibited in galleries worldwide where he has consigned pieces for Christie’s Auction House and a design in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.
We caught up with the San Francisco-based artist, who is also recognised for his characteristically-illustrated tattoos, at the Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention this month..
My oriental-inspired designs are… simply my childhood growing up being fascinated with ninjas and samurai. I create based on what inspires me. That also clicks with my collectors and fans. There are different worlds that I play around with but something that I keep coming back to is the Edo period of Japan. It’s fantastic when I take it beyond strict history – my ninjas might have flying wings. When I go back to my youth, it’s primarily Japan. As I’ve done a lot more travelling through Asia and spent more time in China, the Philippines, Taiwan and Cambodia, I pull in other elements that I’ve been inspired by. And now Singapore, once I’m done with this trip. The new world I’m spinning is completely different from that. It’s sort of like World War 2 Europe. And that’s as far as I can get from Asia.
My job is… to be a problem solver. Everything I do involves challenges and problem solving. I once had an assistant who would be working on something and when the mould wasn’t working the way he had been instructed to do it, he would just go, “Well that’s it. Can’t do it.” No, that’s not the answer. You have to figure out how to do it.
I don’t like… drawing in front of an audience. It is my number one nightmare. I consider myself very sloppy and sketchy and it takes me hours to erase and redraw. Maybe that’s a sign of my confidence of how I draw. It’s just private to me. An illustrator or an animator’s entire career is built upon drawing really fast over and over. I’m a toy designer – I do draw but doing it in front of people is not my strongest skill set.
In the community in every country that I’ve been in, everyone… supports each other. I’ve been in it for 15 years and we watch each other’s back and take care of each other. It’s really pretty amazing. But that being said, I have a competitive edge. If we have to design a toy, I would take every chance I get to say that I’m better than everyone else. At the end of the day, we’re good with each other.
I’m always open… to collaborate with other industries. It was a chance encounter [with Barneys New York]. I had the figure already in the works. It was in production when they came forward and said that they wanted to work with the kidrobot that I was working with at that time. Here I had a figure that was just so right for them to put clothing on. I came from a fashion industry background. I used to work in retail and follow clothing trends, so I know who Jil Sander and Marc Jacobs were. The toy community might not, as they were still young at that time. For me, it was a huge opportunity. I jumped on that. I still like to work with other industries. I do a lot of stuff with the automobile industry. There are two things when I decide who to work with – are they a good company and is it fun? Oh and am I getting paid?
Every now and then, I meet… a fan that just clicks. There’s always somebody that’s more than a fan, somebody that has an appreciation for similar things. They get inspired by the same thing. You can have a good conversation with them. I get a lot of fans that are starstruck too. They’d walk up to me and they wouldn’t know what to say, they’re awkward. I try to put them at ease. There are also some that try to take advantage of you.
Adam Hughes’ resting sad face hardly bears any testimony to his sense of humour that oozes out from his speech effortlessly, exposing his wit and pensiveness. The highlyOn September 20, 2015 / By Gracie
Adam Hughes’ resting sad face hardly bears any testimony to his sense of humour that oozes out from his speech effortlessly, exposing his wit and pensiveness. The highly acclaimed illustrator is best known for the striking cover artwork that he contributes to the comic book industry.
Over his 25-year career, Adam has won the Eisner (Best Cover Artist, 2003), Harvey (Best Cover Artist, 2001-2003), and Inkpot (2007) awards for his illustrative work. In 2010, DC Comics published the New York Times best-selling book – COVER RUN: The DC Art of Adam Hughes and in 2012, Adam returned to interior storytelling with a total of 37 issues of the comic book series – Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan.
He currently freelances for Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Archie, BOOM!, and Dark Horse Comics, as well as providing artwork for properties outside of the comic book industry. This month, Nookmag stole a chat with the artist when he graced the annual Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention (STGCC)…
When I was younger, I… used to love travel. Now I travel so much for work, I just want to stay at home. I give my wife a hard time about travel, but when I get there, I have a great time.
I personally feel that… an artist’s best tools are his or her eyes. It’s not their hand, the paper they work on or the pencil they use. It’s their ability to observe, whether it is looking at the way light falls on hair or the way fabric falls. The more you observe and the more you can process what you observe, the better an artist you are. I’m always seeking inspiration from the minute I wake up in the morning to the time I go to bed.
I was exclusive… with DC for a very long time. I went freelance about two years ago, just so that I can expand my client base and work for more people. I still work for DC and have a good relationship with them. But now I’m also working for Marvel Comics… It allows me to go where the work is.
I mostly work… in the American comic industry, and sometimes in the European comic industry. I’m allowed the creative freedom. That’s one of the reasons I stayed in comics and not work in films or television. Even though they don’t pay as much as television or video games, the creative freedom is my reward. I like the fact that I can do what I want most of the time. If I have to do a change, it’s easy as my original idea is almost still there.
I have this character that… I want to do and tell stories with. Whenever I have a free moment, I’d think about it. I haven’t had the free time to draw this character. It only lives in my head because I haven’t been able to get away from my assignments long enough to figure what this character looks like. It’s tough. But it’s better than not having any sort of demand. There will be time for this character down the road. I’m going to have to make time. I’m always so slow and behind on assignments that I shouldn’t be drawing something else other than the assignment I’m working on.
One of the nice things about comics is… that you could do two or three things at the same time. You can have something going on in the visuals and something completely different going on in the captions. I think it’s important to always break new grounds, try new stuff and challenge yourself. But never forget where you came from, where the character came from, where you started out because it’ll come to a point where you’d lose sight of it if you lose your tether to the character’s origins.
When I get artist block, I’d usually… play video games or clean the house. I recently took up gardening. My wife loves to garden. When I have a hard time solving an illustration problem, I’d go, weed the yard or water the plants or do something in the yard. Even when I’m doing these, I’d think about how to draw Captain America’s shield. The idea will come to me because I got away from the drawing table for a little bit. That’s how I deal with it – I’d go do something that’s productive.
I do consider… playing video games a constructive use of time.
Catwoman has probably been… my favourite character to draw. I’m sorry the book ended before I got to explore all the ideas I had. The way I see her in my head – I see a lot of humour but also a lot of dark tragedies. You really can’t do humour with Batman. I could see the place for as much tragedy as you have with Batman but some really fun type of escapades – you know, the whole cat burglar, catch a thief kind of aspect.
When Genevieve Bailey thought about filming I AM ELEVEN, she was going through a difficult time. She was still recovering from a serious car accident and her dad had recentlyOn September 10, 2015 / By Nookmag
When Genevieve Bailey thought about filming I AM ELEVEN, she was going through a difficult time. She was still recovering from a serious car accident and her dad had recently passed away from cancer. It was this emotional and painful period, that birthed the idea of something positive. I AM ELEVEN is a beautiful, insightful documentary about childhood; it showed us we are as similar as we are different, that hope is just around the corner and if we reached out for it we could all have a chance at life, and that at 11-years-old, the world is ours for the taking.
“I was feeling really down and wanted to do something positive, something that makes the audiences and myself happy,” said the Australian filmmaker. “I reflected on the age of 11 and that feeling that I could rule the world, like anything is possible. I wanted to revisit that age and see if its still as special as I remember it to be.”
To explore childhood, Genevieve – who had never left Australia – had to travel around the world. In I AM ELEVEN, she visited kids in India, China, France, Germany, and more, to delve into what it is like being a child of today. We speak to her about the film and what she discovered along the way.
Nookmag: Tell us more about the significance of being 11.
Genevieve: For me, it is from being in primary school to being in high-school. Some find this transition very hard because you go from being the big kid at school to being the little kid, and I personally like being the small fish in the big pond. I can see a correlation between that and travelling – you land in a city and you’re a small fish. You don’t matter, no one knows who you are. Being 11-years-old is very special, and the kids I interviewed realise this is a time to savour.
Nookmag: In the six years you travelled and interacted with 11-year-olds, what has been the most startling discovery yet?
Genevieve: I can’t pick one because I learnt a lot on so many levels, be it in filming or editing the film. We’ve played the film in 30 different countries and being able to travel to screenings like this and hearing feedback, I also learnt from kids, adults, and from things people say. In one screening in Australia with 300 people, one girl put her hand up and asked, “You’ve been all over the world now, where are kids the happiest? Where are 11-year-olds having the most fun?” I said it was such a good question, and what she though, and she said India!
Afterwards, her mother came up to me and said, “I can’t believe my daughter asked you that question in-front of so many people. She doesn’t even talk at the dinner table.” Isn’t that amazing? Really shy kids watch it and they come out of their shell because they see that I, as an adult, feel kids matter. As adults, we often speak on behalf of kids but don’t give them the opportunity for them to express themselves.
Some parents come to me and say, “I didn’t know they had opinions on global warming, we don’t talk bout things like that at the dinner table.” So for me, one thing that I’ve been surprised about is that in a good way, it opens up a conversation. This is why I’m willing to put in so much work into this. We do it to engage international audiences, and that will inform my next film, and the next and the next. As a filmmaker, I am really obsessed with audience engagement.
“To know that there are still people who differentiate between humans depending on race, that’s completely absurd.” – Remi, France, 11 years old.
Nookmag: Diversity is well-represented in your film, through the countries you choose, the culture and household the kids grew up in, and their ethnicities. Tell us more about this.
Genevieve: I wanted to explore and celebrate what makes us different. It sounds cliche but at 11, it seems that we are as similar as we will ever be. Because, after that, we grow up and have experiences and start being cynical about the world and somehow, become more disconnected. I went to an interesting, small Catholic school with 75 kids but I had Greek friends, Irish friends, Sri Lankan friends.. and I really love that. But, there are kids in the world who live in a monocultural society and who only have friends from their city or village. I thought, what if they had this window of opportunity to see the world and be a part of? So, we screened in more remote places, like Samoa. My mum used to say, “Wouldn’t the world be boring place if we were all the same?” and I agree with that. A lot of war and fighting comes from intolerance to differences and we have to do something about that. Showing kids that diversity is positive is one of my big missions of this film.
“I’m glad to be a girl because I don’t have to be topless in the swimming pool.” – Rika, Japan
Nookmag: I think we can all agree that childhood is one of the most precious stages in life. Personally, how do you define growing up too fast?
I think it’s a complicated question but what comes to mind is a child who is unable to be a child, by being overexposed to the complications of life. While I think they can learn and grow to be resilient, it would be great if kids weren’t having to experience these things. The reality is there is so much abuse in the world whether physical or verbal, but for me it is important that kids feel comfortable and safe and themselves. It doesn’t matter if they are not showered with gifts – if they feel safe and respected enough, that is what I wish for all children. Growing up too fast is often when human rights is taken away.
Nookmag: What do you think makes up a healthy, beautiful childhood?
I know friends who are becoming parents, and you can get on Google and see what to buy and what not to buy, and how you should be raising your kids. In our parents generation, they had no internet but they had their aunts, uncles and grandparents. I think it takes a village to raise a child. I think young parents now feel a bit isolated, they are not necessarily connected to family.
I work in a newspaper, and I hear bad news all day, every day. If you have the internet, you read bad news 24 hours a day. And I thought, the 11-year-olds now don’t have the same optimism. Of course I acknowledge that not every kid has internet, a phone, or clean water access, but the kids I met were still able to be kids despite living in adversity. Some don’t have iPads, electricity, or hot water but they do have a sense of humility.
I believe that feeling loved, respected, and safe make up a healthy childhood. I was able to grow up with pets, in a messy creative house with four children and my mum and dad, and I really valued that my dad spent a lot of time with us. When I was 11, he didn’t have a job and was home a lot. It was a special time; he was able to sew me costumes and send me to soccer training. He spent a lot of time with me. When I was 11 I didn’t realise that 11 years later my dad would pass away. I’m just so glad I had that time with him. A lot of kids don’t.
This October, The Little Dröm Store will be hosting Hello Sandwich (ハローサンドウィッチ), or otherwise known as Ebony Bizys, in three workshop sessions and a pop-up, where her latestOn August 25, 2015 / By Nookmag
This October, The Little Dröm Store will be hosting Hello Sandwich (ハローサンドウィッチ), or otherwise known as Ebony Bizys, in three workshop sessions and a pop-up, where her latest Tokyo guide zine and Hello Tokyo book will be available for sale.
An Australian craft artist, designer and blogger based in Tokyo, Ebony worked at Vogue magazines for 11 years before moving to Tokyo in 2010. Since moving to Tokyo, Ebony has been commissioned by Vogue Japan to create artworks for them. She has also collaborated with MT on workshops and currently blogs for Vogue Japan. Hello Sandwich is a platform where she records her daily life in Japan and documents her craft.
Workshop 1: Hello Sandwich Scrapbook Workshop
23 and 24 October 2015
7.30pm – 10.30pm
The Little Dröm Store
SGD139 per pax
Sign up here
This workshop offers you fun tips on decorating and creating your own scrapbook to record special moments, using items such as photographs, notes, hand-drawn maps, shop cards and tickets.
You will learn how to make original notebooks using a variety of papers and collage materials and how to create a special folded notebook that features a pocket on each page. You will also explore various ways to add photographs (including making original photo corners with a special craft punch), include kawaii notes in a Japanese style, and how to use any craft materials you might have on hand to create added cuteness to your scrapbook.
Workshop 2: Hello Sandwich Party Style Workshop
25 October 2015
10am – 1pm
The Little Dröm Store
SGD139 per pax
Sign up here
Grab some fun and easy tips and techniques from Hello Sandwich on customising your personal event. During this workshop, you will learn to create your own super cute party photo backdrop, the perfect table setting (that includes making straws, party cups, party plates and name tags for your guests) and your own party garland.
The Merlion plays an inspirational role in street culture’s tribute to Singapore’s 50th year of independence. This tribute is embodied in collaborative sneakers dubbed Blaze of Glory SG50,On August 22, 2015 / By Nookmag
The Merlion plays an inspirational role in street culture’s tribute to Singapore’s 50th year of independence. This tribute is embodied in collaborative sneakers dubbed Blaze of Glory SG50, which is the brainchild of PUMA and Limited Edt. This drop marks the beginning of a three-chapter project between PUMA and Limited EDT.
The Blaze of Glory SG50 is refreshed with premium materials and contrasting textures that mimic the features of the mythical Merlion. Inspired by its mane, silver grey pony hair are incorporated in the toecap, 3D printed fishscales on 3M reflective material to represent the creature’s body for the main bulk of the upper design, and a speckled transcluscent rubber outsole to symbolize water from where it stands. Paying further homage to Singapore’s heritage and national flag, the shoe also features red and white shoe laces and heel tabs, as well as custom insoles that tell the story of how Singapore became known as the lion city. A limited run of 215 collector edition boxes are in store for the early heads.
Mandeep Chopra, founder of Limited Edt says, “We are extremely excited to work on our first ever PUMA collaboration and with this being such a significant year in the history of Singapore, we felt it fitting to take inspiration from one of our nations most beloved national symbols. Equally exciting is this is the first instalment of a 3-part collaboration project with PUMA. Look out for the next chapters in the near future!”
The PUMA x Limited Edt Blaze of Glory SG50 drops exclusively at Limited Edt stores (Marina Bay Sands, 313 Somerset, Queensway and JEM) and www.limitededt.com from 21 August 2015 and globally on 28 August 2015 through lifestyle and sneaker boutiques.
We love our food. But how often are we consciously connected to the origins of them – when they were still a part of nature? Bridging the gapOn August 20, 2015 / By Nookmag
We love our food. But how often are we consciously connected to the origins of them – when they were still a part of nature? Bridging the gap between urban communities and nature is Open Farm Community (OFC) – the new kid on the block at Dempsey Hill. Here is where you’ll get to experience a celebration of local farmers, creative chefs, and delicious seasonal fare.
OFC is an exciting new collaboration between The Spa Esprit Group, celebrity chef Ryan Clift and award-winning food garden specialists Edible Garden City. Sprawling over 35,000 square feet on the edge of Minden Road, this revolutionary experiential space is a green mix of urban farmland right in the heart of Singapore, and a horticultural hub. It is established with the goal to help Singaporeans make a deeper and more meaningful connection with food and farming.
The highlights of OFC include a garden space sprouting with a wide assortment of fresh herbs, a coffee bar, fresh juice and cocktail bar, as well as educational breakout spaces alongside group activities such as lawn bowling and table tennis.
Cynthia Chua, Founder of Spa Esprit has long been an advocate of deepening Singaporeans’ relationship with food. OFC, she says, has been a labour of love that has taken three years of extensive work-shopping, study, and travelling around the world, speaking with farming and food experts to perfect.
“Our vision is to bring to life, the impact of urban farming in Singapore, and in doing so, strengthen our understanding and respect for food and its origins. Our children, in particular, have been too segregated from nature. OFC is an ideological and physical reaction to this,” explained Cynthia.
“We want to provide a platform where families can come together and explore the many facets of food together through art, tours of the vegetable and fruit orchards, talks, gardening workshops, and of course, eating. Their layered experiences will also strengthen inter-generational relationships through quality time spent together,” added Cynthia. “We want the local farming and food culture to be testbeds that encourage social interaction, forge social ties and even facilitate new social connections. In this way, OFC acts as a catalyst to inspire the entire community and improve our relationship with food. And, of course, we always want to ensure that laughter and fun will always be part of the journey!”
In the open-concept kitchen and restaurant, Chef Ryan focuses on locally sourced, seasonal and innovative dishes. Every month, curated farmer’s markets allow guests to deepen the pleasures of simple, freshly harvested ingredients that is both nourishing and a visual feast.
Fermented carrot ‘tartare’ (SGD24) – Baby carrot is fermented in a nukabed (mix of roasted Rice bran, kombu, salt, miso etc., fermented for a period of time). Ground carrot topped with barne organic egg yolk served with a selection of seasonings and dressings such as shallots, chives, capers, gherkins, herbs, gochujang (Korean fermented chilli paste), and warm oven baked crystal break with curry oil.
Seared tuna with green papaya and jicama salad, fresh coconut and dashi vinegar (SGD26) – Sustainable tuna from south Australia. Served with Julienne salad of green papaya, Jicama (Mexican potato or Mexican yam) and fresh grated coconut, seasoned with Dashi vinaigrette (kombu, bonito flakes, rice vinegar), topped with mix of Nori and wakame seaweeds, sesame seeds, sesame powder and fresh coriander.
Chilled avocado and ginger soup with poached yabbies and fresh radish (SGD20) – The base of the soup is a Thai Tom Kha broth made of galangal, lime leaf, coriander etc, mixed with avocado puree and coconut milk. Served tableside into a bowl with diced avocado, shallot, red radish, poached yabbies (freshwater crayfish from Malaysia) and herbs. Warm pita bread served on the side.
Coal baked barramundi with cucumber coleslaw, roasted eggplant & a fresh mint dressing (SGD26) – Barramundi pan seared, with generous serving of baba ganoush (middle eastern dip a Levantinedish of roasted eggplantmixed with onions, yogurt, curry, oil and various seasonings), topped with a mix of shredded cucumber, yogurt and herbs, mint dressing, chopped peanuts, curry oil.
Roasted baby chicken, braised leeks with hazelnut butter & wild watercress salad (SGD28) – Brined baby chicken, legs confit and breast pan seared, braised leek with sour marinade, served with hazelnut and dark brown chicken jus, watercress salad, half roasted US potatoes.
Strozzapreti with 48 hour barolo braised oxtail, parmesan wafers & wild thyme (SGD26) – Strozzapreti (an elongated form of cavatelli), black angus Oxtail marinated in Barolo red wine for 48hr then braised with mirepoix, served as a “chunky” ragout, tomato base and baby spinach served with Parmesan crisps.
Squid ink taglierini with ‘inferno’ sauce, calamari, asparagus & chilli padi (SGD26) – Black ink Tagliatelle made with squid ink, served in an Inferno sauce of sliced calamari, asparagus and chilli padi tomato base, topped with deep fried calamari tentacles.
Hot and cold chocolate cake with chocolate sorbet and mint meringue (SGD17) – Textures of chocolate; steamed chocolate sponge cake (warm), frozen microwaved cake, chocolate curd, bitter chocolate tuille, bitter chocolate sorbet and peppermint.
Caramelized mango with textures of coconut (SGD17) – Mango caramelized with icing sugar, served with tapioca pearls flavored with coconut, coconut sorbet and coconut meringue.
This month, Nookmag directs the attention to start-ups. There are several different definitions of start-ups and for us, start-ups mean creativity, being fresh in the scene and possessingOn July 25, 2015 / By Gracie
This month, Nookmag directs the attention to start-ups. There are several different definitions of start-ups and for us, start-ups mean creativity, being fresh in the scene and possessing the urge to make an impact. In this story, we explore metalsmithing with Daryl Tan and Stella Lim of local accessory labels Stelliyah and Stale & Co.
Daryl Tan and Stella Lim – owners of Stelliyah and Stale & Co. – are addicted to manipulating metals to create timeless pieces for adornment. Metalsmiths – that’s what they are – are a rarity in an era dominated by commercialisation and machinery.
Stella’s interest in the craft sparked off when she was studying. She dabbled and took up classes to hone her skills. Setting up Stelliyah and diving into the world of jewellery-making full-time after graduation was a natural progression. Daryl soon caught the bug and joined Stella in this venture, which eventually gave birth to Stale & Co.
We recently got acquainted with the down-to-earth duo at their new studio located at Joo Chiat…
Nookmag (N): What is it about metal that fascinates you?
Stella (S): I started like how most people did – assembling things together, buying charms and beads off the rack and stuff like that. You name it, I’ve tried it. I really wanted to make something that is permanent – things that will last a lifetime or even longer than that. I have this fascination with ancient relics and jewellery.
I’ve always been a hands-on person. Before picking up metalsmith, the school gave me an option of using metal clay, which is being used by a lot of people now. I don’t know why but it didn’t entice me very much. I wanted to learn the traditional way of doing things which require hammering and stuff like that. It is very intriguing to know how you can manipulate metals. In the beginning, it seemed like an impossible task. It eventually became an addiction when I made my first ring. The possibilities are endless.
Daryl (D): It’s very interesting. She started metalsmith first and I learned from her. You may see metal as a very intimidating object – it’s hard and cold – and you wouldn’t think that you could do much with it. But after learning the skills, you’d realise that it’s actually a very flexible material. You can do so much with it. There’s something very spiritual about working with metal, the touch of it. At the end of the day, your finished product will contain the essence of your craft and touch to it.
S: People would finally understand where we’re coming from when they attend our workshops. It’s so addictive and it’s nothing like doing DIY craft at home. You have to try it to know.
N: What do you require for this craft?
D: What we do is traditional metalsmith, so our tools are actually very common hand tools. There are no complicated machines. Essentially, it all boils down to the most important tool which is our hands. We use our hands for everything.
N: Which particular metal do you feel most connected to?
S: It is really hard to say. To be honest, when I first started, I used brass because it’s cheap and it looks good. When I was learning, I didn’t have a lot of money to experiment on materials like silver or gold. Brass was the best alternative. I could screw up and it doesn’t really matter. We grew to love it because it’s so full of character. Brass tarnishes over time and this depends on the wearer. The tarnishes will never look the same for two different people. It’s also very versatile, sturdy and solid. It has a very nice touch to the whole antique look as well. Of course, we ventured into silver and gold for custom pieces.
D: Each metal has different qualities that we enjoy working with. Brass is versatile – it can tarnish and be renewed very easily. Silver is nice to work with – it comes out very different and there are a lot of things you can do with it. Gold is a whole new level – its value is very high. It’s a very obedient metal and it’s very easy to work with. We can’t really pick one. In general, metals are what we love.
G: Deciding on which metal to work with depends on our designs too. We know which metal suits a particular design better. For example, stones generally have a certain value. Even though brass looks good, but brass is not a valuable metal. We don’t want to set a sapphire in brass as the sapphire is expensive but the brass is really cheap. We’ll advise people that stones would go better with silver – that’s the basic. Or if they like gold, we’ll try to work it with it.
N: Is this how you usually work or do you bend the rules sometimes?
S: We do.
D: It also depends on what the customers want. We can advise them based on aesthetics but sometimes, they want things their way. If what they want looks good, we don’t mind doing. There’s no fixed rule to follow.
S: We apply different techniques to different metals. If some work are more intricate and can only be achieved with silver, you cannot do it with brass.
N: Are you still experimenting as you go along?
S: I think this will go on for a lifetime.
D: It doesn’t stop. Even though these few metals have been around for a long time, there is still so much to learn about them. We constantly discover new things to do with them. Every day we experiment with different things, whether they work or not is a different story.
S: There are also happy accidents – when you’re doing one thing and something else happens that make the piece of jewellery looks good. I always feel that it’s important to experiment. We don’t typically endorse rigidly following our sketches. We don’t want to restrict ourselves to designs that we draw.
N: How do your creations express the stories that you want to tell?
D: There’s no particular story behind every piece. Every single piece as a whole tells our story. In general, it tells the story of our craft and our insistence in making everything with our hands. A lot of people tell us that we can send our work to factories for finishing as it’s so much faster. If you can make 500 pieces in one week, why spend time making five pieces? To them, time is money. For us, the five pieces would be of really good quality. Even though they have the same design, they are different in their own ways. Not all of the 500 mass produced ones will be good and everything is photocopy.
S: I like to refer to ethnic cultures for Stelliyah’s collections. I’m a fan of cultures and I like to read up about them. For the upcoming collection, I became very interested in the Tuareg culture from North Africa. They work a lot with silver. Basically, they are a nomadic tribe and they have the craziest skills.
D: Stelliyah is very ethnic-inspired, very tribal. It’s predominantly influenced by Stella. She can spend hours reading about different cultures, not just about jewellery but also about their lifestyle. Tuareg, for example, empowers women a lot and that’s a really nice thing for her to know.
Stale and Co, on the other hand, has very neat designs because I’m a sucker for clean lines. I like architecture and grid. So, two different people, two different styles.
N: Stelliyah’s pieces are created to build emotional resonance within each wearer. Do you have any idea how your customers connect with your work?
D: The accessories connect with them emotionally because of how they bought them which usually happens after a good thought. It’s not a piece of jewellery that they can buy from any departmental store. When they meet us to talk about the jewellery, they would realise how much effort has been spent making them. That’s when they connect with the piece and decide to buy. Customers have told us that the accessories that they bought from us are kept separated from the other stash of jewellery that they have because they value them so much.
S: I once read somewhere that mentioned that people’s favourite jewellery is usually something that they feel connected to, like a family heirloom or something that they had since they were young. It’s because they have a meaning, not because they are beautiful or aesthetically pleasing. When we design, we don’t ride on trends because they come and go. We want to make something that would make people feel a sense of nostalgia. Of course, that’s hard to create. The only way we can achieve that is if we make the jewellery by hand and we make sure that we do it the right way.
We enjoy talking to the customers because we get to explain the work process that the pieces went through. A lot of people enjoy that. They like the idea of knowing where the jewellery came from instead of buying from some shop.
N: Are there any crafters that you look up to?
S: We look up to the older generation who does things the old school way. We have met older jewellers who have shared knowledge with us. We won’t say that we’re the best because there’s always something to learn. Not all things can be learned overnight, it comes with years of experience.
D: We look up to the whole generation of craftsmen of the past. Unfortunately, a lot of them are either not around anymore or they don’t do it anymore. There are only a few left scattered around. We are fortunate to have met some of them. They shared everything with us without any reservations. They are enthusiastic about people learning their craft and we’re thankful that they have set this stage for us.
N: Any words for aspiring creatives who wish to make it on their own?
S: Don’t spend too much money. Craft is very expensive in terms of investing in materials and tools. One mistake that a lot of people make (I think I’m one of them as well) is spending money on everything and anything without thinking too much at the start because we’re excited and ambitious, only to realise that a lot of things go to waste. You have to be focused on what you want and start small.
D: It’s quite cliché but don’t give up. It’s fine working and juggling your craft at the same time. It’s tough but don’t stop. If you really love the craft, don’t stop. When you see that the business is bringing in enough money and everything is sustainable, you can switch to doing your craft full time. It doesn’t have to be immediate.
S: There are a lot of people saying that you have to do what you love. But in reality, you have to pay your bills and you have to eat too.
S: There were younger people who came to take up the craft and they sounded like they wanted to challenge us. We want to tell them to never ever feel like they’re the best. Even the masters out there, they still look up to someone. Only when you’re humble, you’ll learn. You stop learning if you think that you’re all great. People can be a bit complacent and that would affect your process of learning and developing. You’re thirst of knowledge would die off. If you think you’re not good enough, you’d want to keep going forward.
D: Whenever we meet the old masters, we never talk about anything that we know. What we know is only a fraction of what they know. Be humble. It’s a long journey.
N: Does it get tiring?
D: Yes, there are days when we get a lot of orders. We’ll work till 3am and we’ll be tired and hungry. But we’ll pick ourselves up and take a break.
S: We just need to rest. Thankfully, I haven’t gotten tired of the craft. There will be times where we’ll feel dry because we cannot create something new. When I first started, I was super addicted to the craft and I spent all my time doing and thinking about it. It was an obsession. When Daryl came on board, he taught me work-life balance, how to appreciate other things and have hobbies. We would take time out, unwind and not think about work. If you’re too intensely obsessed with it, it would be unhealthy to a point where you exhaust yourself and get tired of it.
D: Some days you need to switch off. You may love your job a lot but if you get too tired, you may end up hating it. For everything you do, you have to find your balance. We learn it along the way.
This month, Nookmag directs the attention to start-ups. There are several different definitions of start-ups and for us, start-ups mean creativity, being fresh in the scene and possessingOn July 19, 2015 / By Nookmag
This month, Nookmag directs the attention to start-ups. There are several different definitions of start-ups and for us, start-ups mean creativity, being fresh in the scene and possessing the urge to make an impact. In this story, we caught up with The General Store and find out more about how they give back to the society.
2015 is a momentous year for The General Store by Plus Minus. Go big or go home. Obviously, ‘going home’ was not a favourable option. In June, founders Fauzi and Ira launched a brick and mortar store after running The General Store online for close to three years. Before this, they were also involved in flea markets and a pop-up at TANGS at Orchard and VivoCity. Having their own store means having the liberty to make their own decisions on how they wish to run it.
“Personally, it means that we’re on the next level. It has been a goal of mine before I even started The General Store,” Ira expressed.
Fired by a concept and a passion to create extensive awareness for aesthetically functional products, The General Store had its humble beginnings in the homes of Fauzi and Ira. Currently, it is the sole and exclusive distributor of Cheapo Watches, Rich Gone Broke Watches, Drifter USA Bags, JUJU UK Shoes and State Bags and is also supplying to stores within Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Besides working hard on their business, Fauzi and Ira are dedicated in giving back to the society. Being cat lovers, their first instinct was to work with the Cat Welfare Society, where 15% of their sales of cat products were donated to the charity. The campaign turned out to be a success and they donated a significant amount. In the pipeline is a campaign that involves feeding stray cats and donation initiatives to Mendaki, an organisation dedicated to serving the Muslim community.
On her beliefs and attitudes towards giving back…
“I guess it has always been instilled in me since I was young. My parents always brought me to less-privileged Asian countries. I didn’t have the privilege to travel to Disneyland and things like that.” – Ira
On what makes a good design…
“The process. When I’m bringing in a brand, I like to read about the brand – the story behind it and the motto. It is not just based on the design, but the process. The story means a lot to me. So if it captures me, I’ll bring the brand in.” – Ira
On being inspired to succeed…
“It’s the thought of wanting to succeed, to reach to the next level. I don’t like to settle on where I am right now and be complacent. We started out selling from Facebook and we slowly build this up as the days go by. We want to see everything progress and not stay stagnant.”
On their daily essential items…
“My laptop and my mobile phone. I work 24/7. Even when I’m sleeping, I’ll check my phone to look out for emails. When I wake up and I’m using the toilet, I’ll use my phone too. I’m always with my phone.” – Ira
“For me, I’m always with my bike keys and my phone. If there are any orders, I’ll be the one who will be retrieving the stock, pack and deliver once I’m done. We have no life.” – Fauzi
On recommended brands that readers could look out for…
“RIPNDIP – skateboarding brand from the US. Neck pouches and banana bags from Drifter and State Bags.” – Ira
“Time is our biggest challenge.” – Fauzi
“To be honest, it’s the lack of manpower. I feel that if we have more people working for us, we’ll be more productive and efficient. But right now, it’s just the both of us. Initially, we had trouble with pre-orders, that’s why we stopped it. There were more cons than pros in terms of logistics and the arrival of the wrong items. We didn’t have capital, so we had to do pre-orders in the beginning.” – Ira
Words for creative people…
“Be prepared to dedicate 100% to what you’re going to do, or even 200 % or 300%. Dedicate yourself because it’s really going to take a lot of your time and effort. And if you’re doing a half-standard job, it’s just going to reflect really badly and your efforts will go to waste. We sacrificed a lot and it’s about being dedicated to what you’re doing and what your dreams are.” – Fauzi
“Creative wise, there so many people copying other people in terms of wanting to create a brand. Find your own identity and don’t just copy. Know your vision and how you want to see your store in a few years’ time. I’ve been seeing a lot of brands that look exactly the same with no concept and story. They’re just doing it for the sake of it being a trend.” – Ira
This month, Nookmag directs the attention to start-ups. There are several different definitions of start-ups and for us, start-ups mean creativity, being fresh in the scene and possessingOn July 8, 2015 / By Gracie
This month, Nookmag directs the attention to start-ups. There are several different definitions of start-ups and for us, start-ups mean creativity, being fresh in the scene and possessing the urge to make an impact. In this two-part edition, we explore the depths of The Botanical Plate, an initiative that is all about nature and more.
The idea of consciously seeking out organic plant-based body care products may seem foreign to many urban dwellers, who have been raised with habitual convenience. The convenience of heading to the supermarket that houses shelves lined with mass manufactured products, whenever the need arises. If you could spare a moment to read through the ingredient list of these products, just how many chemicals could you actually comprehend?
The irony would lie in instances when we are more uncertain of using handcrafted creations made with natural ingredients than mass produced ones filled with chemicals we don’t recognise. The answer? Education.
Or in the words of Ruth Schooling, creator of The Botanical Plate, “Try it out for yourself and see if it works for you. We are from nature, we should trust it.”
While on the topic of body and skin, it is fascinating to hear about the tattoos that Ruth adorns. All her tattoos are carefully thought of. A tattoo of the sun and one of the moon rests on each of her hands because she is a strong believer of having a balance of feminine and masculine energy. This is based on a belief that the right side of the body represents the sun, which represents her masculine side; the left side of your body represents the moon, which represents her feminine side.
In the middle of her chest lies an image of Shakti Yantra, which symbolises feminine energy. Her neck is imprinted with a Buddhist symbol known as Unalome. The reason for it being on her throat is because everything that she speaks will be the truth. There is also one that reads “Soulmates Never Die” in her sister’s handwriting. Her sister has the same one in Ruth’s handwriting.
Nookmag (N): Dealing with the skin can be quite sensitive, and surely there has to be a trust between you and your consumers, especially since it is a small, independent label. What has the relationship been like so far?
Ruth (R): Before I create anything, I do much research on the ingredients that I will be using, what they’re good for and what reactions may come about. Although I am not professionally qualified, I learn as much as I can whenever I can and take it as a learning process. It’s about trial and error. With the brands I bring in, many of the women who make the products are well experienced and have thought very carefully about what they are putting out into the market for people to try and that comes with a trust between the maker and myself. A trust in the creations they craft to be effective and safe.
Skin sensitivities can be very unpredictable and trust between maker and consumer is the most important relationship when it comes to skin care. This trust doesn’t mean that we know for sure if it will cause any reaction to the individual’s skin as everyone’s skin reacts differently. The trust I’m referring to here means that customers are willing to try these products with an open mind and be willing to work through with the maker and The Botanical Plate to find a better alternative for their skin. It takes time to get to know your skin and sometimes it really is completely unpredictable. For example, one of my customers had a reaction on his hands but felt like that particular product worked well on another part of his body. The degree of a number of reactions can also occur as a by-product of whether you live a balanced lifestyle, engage in careful cleansing, appropriate hydration, a healthy diet, genetic and hormonal factors and other external factors like, hazardous release of toxins in the air that sit on our skin for example. Sometimes, it might not be the product itself, maybe something your body is detoxing at that given time. So always give it time, patience is needed with trying new products. You have to be mindful with other ways of how you treat your body.
If you have experienced a reaction, we recommend our customers to stop using all products for a full week then try again when it is fully healed. This gives our skin the chance to recover from whatever was aggravating it.
I tell my customers to test our products on separate patches of skin away from their face before they use it properly. It’s always good to allow twenty-four hours to assess your skin’s response. If you find no reaction, repeat the process but always allow twenty-four hours for assessment.
If neither of these tests result in an adverse reaction, then only apply a small amount of the product to your face. Use less of the product than you normally would in the first instance, then slowly increase the amount. If your skin reacts or symptoms persist despite not using any products, I would suggest that our customers consult a doctor or cosmetic dermatology.
Be smart about it, learn about it and our own skin ourselves, and not just blindly trust skin care providers. A brand might come across as knowledgeable and experienced but we must know about our own skin. I encourage my customers to be brave and to just try it! You’ll never know if it works or not if you don’t. If we find it so easy to trust mass produced brands, I can’t see why it’ll be harder to invest time to trust a brand that is transparent with their main focus to help you lead a better, healthier life. Being transparent and honest with my customers has really developed a deeper trust, giving the sense of community that we are always learning together. So far I’ve had positive responses and it’s been a fun learning process for both the customers and myself!
N: How does texture play a part in skin care – what’s too harsh and what is essential?
R: In terms of cleansers in particular, I would say that textures play an important part in skin care because we essentially want to cleanse and to cleanse, we need some exfoliation to do the job well. However, it really depends where we are getting these products from. Many store-bought cleansers have very strong and toxic grains in them that give that awful stiffing feeling afterwards, the kind that strips our skin of its natural oils that sometimes causes a rash or dry patches. In this case, I feel that we should take the time to find better and gentler ways to approach skincare.
It really depends on what kind of product you seek, what purpose and what skin type. Are you looking to simply wash your face or to scrub? Is it for your face or your foot? Is your skin dry? Is it oily? Do your pores clog easily? There are wide varieties of textures in products and they all have something different in them – some have walnut, some have almonds, some have apricots, some have a lighter grain of oatmeal, clays, bits of flowers. They all have varying textures that work wonders, but we need to identify which one is suitable for us. For example, if you have softer and more sensitive skin, a cleanser that is in powdered form would be best. If you skin is a little tougher, you may even like to use a scrub with walnut shells. It also boils down to preference. I find it important to give your face a light scrub every few days – doing so allows the removal of dead skin cells and new skin can surface to keep you looking fresh and bright. It opens the pores to enable for more oxygen supply and better penetration of moisturisers, especially in Singapore where the pollution in the air is quite high and where hydration can be a little tougher.
We stock a number of gentle cleansers like our Daily Cleansing Herb Grains, which consists of rice powder, oatmeal grains (which are blended to be very fine), turmeric powder and fennel powder. Or the ones from Plantfolk Apothecary such as the Tree Powder or Petal Powder and other great moisturisers/oils to counter all that scrubbing.
N: What difference can you feel from using natural products?
R: For me, I definitely feel a large difference in the sense that I never ever feel my skin being stripped off all its natural oils anymore. The structure of natural oils are cultivated in a way that is very similar to the structure of the bodily oils we produce, meaning that it penetrates our skin easier ensuring less clogged pores and more radiant skin.
My skin used to be a real intense combo of really dry and really oily but I find that there is now a good balance. Products I used previously were either too drying or just too oily and uncomfortable once I step out into the humidity. I can now cleanse my skin regularly and oil or moisturise after every shower, keeping it simple yet effective. But it’s more than what I feel physically. The difference is also felt with knowing that I am doing my little but important part in taking responsibility of knowing how the chemical driven products affect other cycles of life and disposal of these items into our waterways. Being more mindful of where these products end up is where the bigger difference is made and felt.
N: What’s next for The Botanical Plate?
R: To be a botanical garden! I am building a tribe of plant lovers and we are going to take over the world.
To work with more women from all over the globe, as well as Singapore – those that have dedicated their life to learning and practising sustainably with the highest quality of natural/plant based materials in order to create small batched products that are better for us. We look to educate locals to make the essential steps away from mass produced body care items so that we may learn to use only what we truly need, being more mindful in considering the whole process of how a certain product is made. Growing that appreciation of handcrafted items and not buying solely with convenience in mind. Most of the time when we have convenience in mind and when we know there are plenty of it, we tend to use them luxuriously but we shouldn’t have that mentality anymore – we are deep into many environmental problems today and we should at least do our part to not add to the mess no matter how small our actions may be. We need to rethink the value of things we pay for, to stop comparing them to the prices of larger corporations. Times are changing and once we realise the severity of what is really happening in our world today, we hope that our customers will be able to find the value in the products we bring in.
To grow this community of nature loving beings from this side of the world that are looking for a more accessible platform to express their interest in this area, but in a way my target market can all relate to. Many of the people I cater for are those that want to do well for the environment but still greatly appreciate the visual aspects of it. We’re a visual culture and sustainability can look good!
At the moment I’m doing a herbalism course online with Herbal Academy of New England and will also be undertaking a certified course in Thai Yoga Massage at the end of the year in India. I hope to bring in more products of my own as well as to delve deeper in these areas of healing and to inspire locals with many different ways to live a slower, less stressful and more positive lifestyle here in Singapore, while making the lifestyle affordable for them.
On top of that, I am currently undertaking a Sustainability Mentorship Program – a new youth mentorship program co-organised by sustainability advocates in Singapore including Eugene Tay from Green Future Solutions, Ria Tan from Wildlife Singapore and lastly, Olivia Choong, the eco warrior of Green Drinks Singapore. The program basically aims to nurture youths in Singapore to learn about a holistic view of sustainability issues in Singapore. From what I learn here, I aim to incorporate many of my own programs and campaigns for the community of The Botanical Plate. The upcoming program will feature an intimate group of locals willing to learn about the effects of their own carbon footprint and the actions we can take within our own capacity in everyday living, slowly but surely. People can follow us on our Instagram to keep up to date on when this will be happening.
This month, Nookmag directs the attention to start-ups. There are several different definitions of start-ups and for us, start-ups mean creativity, being fresh in the scene and possessing the urge to make an impact. In this two-part edition, we explore the depths of The Botanical Plate, an initiative that is all about nature and more.
The idea of medicine men/women in the modern context and culture is as mysterious as the existence of mermaids. Misconceptions abound while true understanding only inhabits the minds of a few who cares. Describing itself as a growing planthead tribe, The Botanical Plate is inspired by the art of the medicine men/women and aspires to show the local community what it means and how it is relevant today.
The Botanical Plate is founded by Ruth Schooling, a passionate soul who is exceptionally in-tuned with nature. It aims to spread “botanical magic in the form of small batch plant-based lifestyle and body care products inspired and thoughtfully handcrafted by medicine women from around the world”. To The Botanical Plate, medicine men/women are simply beings who are in-tuned with the people, environment around them, Mother Earth and themselves. They heal and care organically with ingredients gathered from the wild.
Ruth explains, “Looking back at the whole medicine woman thing, I’m very inspired by Jamu. What I like about it is if you go back to the olden days, it was just mothers and daughters looking after themselves. It was just recipes passed down from mothers to daughters.”
The Botanical Plate features body care products from Plantfolk Apothecary, Wild Earth Botanicals and The Rex Apothecary. Not surprisingly, these labels are run by women who are in-tuned with themselves and the earth – the core quality that Ruth looks out for. Under The Botanical Plate, Ruth also concocts her own recipes of scrubs using herbs and grains.
Nookmag (N): Hello Ruth! Tell us more about yourself. Have you always been intrigued by Mother Nature? What brought you to this lifestyle?
Ruth (R): Ola…That question is always so overwhelming! We are all so many things! But, what I will tell you is that I am made up of undying passion, a wild heart and creativity. My love for nature runs deep and I am always in a continual state of overwhelm for all that is in it and all that makes it. I always move with intention and with the highest belief in myself and in the betterment of the world. If I’m not spending my time rolling around in nature, travelling about, or doing the many other things I love doing I divide my time between the people I love and my yoga mat – basically anything that takes life back a notch.
Everything in my life has always closely revolved around nature. I’ll never forget a Kurt Vonnegut’s quote I read in the book Vagabonding by Rolf Potts, “I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.”
It reminds me to not take things so seriously and spend as many of my days farting around in nature and to keep it close. Besides what innately lays within us, I have my family’s adventurous spirit to thank – I’m guessing it all grew from family roadtrips to kampongs and deserted islands from before I could even walk! For the last nine years, it was the spirit of my friends from the little island I used to live at the north of Australia and of late, the influence of my wildly passionate earth loving friends from Sydney and Singapore. I must say though, that having been exposed to the incredible landscapes and lifestyle of Australia, everything about my love for nature seriously bloomed organically and out of control, it opened me up so much and has shaped many of my beliefs. I think when one becomes truly open and connected to nature and to oneself, many things start to shift and for me, it went towards being highly aware of the world around me, it’s this whole utterly fulfilling cycle that I always want to be in. I mean we can learn so much from nature. We are nature. I love that it has always made me live in the present, always set things straight for me, it is the only thing I’m 100% sure of, so from there, I decided that I would build upon every area of my life as an offering towards our dearest Mother Earth and I couldn’t feel more blessed to where it has led me!
N: The Botanical Plate was actually a school project, and we heard that people were so convinced they started to place orders! Tell us more about that and what propelled you to form The Botanical Plate, the botanical and edible body care label?
R: Yes, it was! The Botanical Plate started out as a final-year project three years ago. Well they didn’t place orders but I had numerous people drop me messages on social media telling me that the link to my grand opening didn’t work, asking me where I was located as they had wanted to visit and that my (fake) email link was broken. I also had an editor contact me for a feature in their October issue for their topic on ‘cruelty-free living’. For this project, we basically had to create a business that embodies a real one – we had to gain followers, create the entire business plan, the website, manufacture the product, all of the usual… so I don’t blame them for not knowing otherwise. I was really excited that it created such a positive response so quick though!
The idea of The Botanical Plate grew out from a very important time in my life and from my deep love for the greens. It was a time of really deep growth and figuring things out – I was learning, living by the lifestyle and growing in many ways that was only the beginning of what I had carved my being, beliefs and passions to be today. I’ve always been a passionate person but at that point of time, it really locked in that I needed to do something immensely meaningful for this earth and myself… and it was The Botanical Plate. Even though it was only an idea, it was still something I was creating and putting out there.
With the awakened passion for healing and belief in the use of food for medicine, as well as to live a sustainable life free from harm of any living beings or this earth, The Botanical Plate was formed with humble and nourishing beginnings. I discovered many things that I never knew the importance of – what it meant to support local, to be organic, self-sufficient, small-batched, non-mass produced, GMO’s, toxic body care, the repercussions of unconscious living and all of that. Basically, I believed that all these knowledge and goodness needed to be shared because when I think about it, it would really suck for me if I live my life now without knowing any of the controversies of larger corporations, if I had no stand in helping the helpless and if I didn’t come across all the insanely delicious food and products I’ve tasted and tested that actually worked!
Funnily enough, The Botanical Plate actually started out as a vegetarian food delivery service but as the months went by, it somehow unfolded into a body care and lifestyle brand. But it didn’t really make a difference to me as long as it has anything to do with plants, herbs, healing, creating a community of sharing and simplicity. I wanted to set up a space for likeminded local Singaporeans to come and learn as well as teach each other about how to take better care of themselves and the world around them through diet and lifestyle, to provide something that complements our daily life in a sustainably viable manner with little negative effects on the environment and our bodies… as I myself have seen immense changes in my own life since making little, positive changes every day.
N: Nature and respect for Mother Earth seems to play a big role in The Botanical Plate, from conceptualisation to production. Could you give us some examples of how these two elements affect your work process at The Botanical Plate?
R: When I first started The Botanical Plate I had these intentions in mind – to consume less, consume responsibly, to learn to test and trust in the healing benefits of plants in order to provide locals with something that has minimal environmental impact, but at the same time is effective and affordable.
Respect for Mother Nature plays the biggest part of The Botanical Plate. As I mentioned before, it is the only thing I’m 100% sure of, and it’s evident that our treatment and intention towards nature affect pretty much everything that we do. It provides us with what we need to survive; it provides us with that lightness and happiness we seek. But if we are doing things blindly and choosing unwisely without thinking twice of the circumstances, we end up being the ones that suffer. I mean look at the way we litter for example… the items go back into the oceans and pollute water ways as well as biodiversity, which then comes back to bite us in the ass. We’re now getting insanely unclean water, which then results in marine life and the earth being infiltrated with toxins.
From conceptualisation to production of whatever we create or bring in, we try to continuously improve our knowledge and practices right down to the detail in order to show people that you can be sustainable and live a life free from harm yet still allowing it to be wholesome and fulfilling. We don’t need as many things as we think we need.
We like to play with ingredients that overlap into many things. Oils that can be used as a make-up remover, moisturiser, massage oil, or whatever else you choose.
We’re in an age of over consumption and choices – just not very educated on which are the better choices to make. Everyone is on their own journey to realisation but we kinda need to speed that up! Plus, there’s so much goodness that can come out of this. It’s a process and we are still learning and we know so little but we are doing the best we can do, whether it is minimal packaging, not over consuming a certain raw material or cutting down on products with complicated ingredients.
We’re a visual culture, and it’s really to show that sustainability can look stylish, it can look nice. It doesn’t compromise our loves and likes but more importantly, it doesn’t have to be hefty on the environment.
Many times, it starts with rethinking how we live our lives today. Personally, the Singaporean lifestyle moves way too fast and is too convenient. We have people working close to endless hours who can’t find the time to really care for their bodies in the way that they would like to. They have other things to worry about and generally from what I know, many end up heading to commercial stores (ones that produce products in the masses) to find what they need – face wash, shampoo, cleansers etc. The problem is that a lot of the back end production processes of these products are not very sustainable to start with, a lot of them are made in large factories that use up beyond insane amounts of energy, rely on the use of too much water, contain many harmful chemicals and ingredients that we really don’t need to get the job done.
You can find many Singaporeans turning to small-batched artisan products, made locally and non-locally. We’re in an age where we want to see the transparency of businesses to gain back the knowledge of truth that many of these large corporations have sucked dry from us. I generally adapt recipes that have been passed down from mothers and daughters from the Indonesian cultures or learning about the properties of each ingredient then formulating and tweaking my own recipe. Other than that, I work with women who already are experienced in this area. I wasn’t brought up with this mentality; I grew it and I’m still learning largely about it. In way, it’s a global community where we learn from women who are already experts.
This month, we celebrate our love for the sun. At times, being in love can make us delusional. Just like how we wish that we could embrace theOn June 21, 2015 / By Gracie
This month, we celebrate our love for the sun. At times, being in love can make us delusional. Just like how we wish that we could embrace the sun’s glorious rays without much consequence. The sun returns our expression of love by giving us sun-kissed skin, which may very well be its version of a hickey.
While sun-kissed skin may appear a beautiful honey brown in our fantasies, reality may not be that kind. A lobster-red burn could be resulted instead, making us look like we’ve just made a dramatic escape out of a seafood chef’s pot of boiling water. Fret not – we have discovered some amazing pocket-friendly remedies for sun-burnt skin with the use of an everyday product that could be found in our refrigerator. Two words – fresh milk.
Various medical journals and reports such as the Skin Wrinkles and Blemishes, InDepth Patient Education Report from the University of Maryland Medical Centre have suggested that milk contains lactic acid. This type of acid belongs to a class of natural chemical compounds called Alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs) known to promote the rate at which we shed our skin cells and may even stimulate collagen and elastin growth. Milk also contains enzymes that aid in creating clear and possibly glowing skin. Moreover, it is a rich source of protein – a nutrient essential for the maintenance of many tissues including boosting your skin’s elasticity by offering collagen and elastin.
In harmony with our predilection for using natural produce as remedies, these DIY mask hacks employs the goodness of milk as a key element in getting our glow on.
Soothing Aloe and Cucumber Milk Mask
So we want to soothe our skin from the rigorous touch of the sun. This simple mask requires only the use of milk, aloe vera and cucumber. The lactic acid found in milk works wonders for inflamed and sensitive skin from overexposure to the sun, providing fast relief. Together with the soothing properties of aloe vera and the coolness of cucumber, our sunburn can take a back seat with this mask on.
What you will need:
– 1 tablespoon milk
– 1 small peeled cucumber
– ¼ cup aloe vera gel
– Small mixing bowl
– Clean towel
– Blend cucumber, aloe vera gel and milk till mixture into a paste
– Pour into mixing bowl and refrigerate for 15 minutes
– Apply paste onto clean face (focusing on sunburnt areas) using fingertips in a gentle circular motion – Allow to penetrate deep into shocked pores for 30 minutes
– Rinse mask off with cool water and pat dry with a clean towel
Exfoliating and Skin Brightening Milk Face Mask
Unfortunately, an unpleasant result of sunburn is skin peeling. Major or minor, loads of dead skin would start congregating on the surface of our skin. When combined with oatmeal and honey, milk makes a wonderful exfoliator because of its lactic acid content that eases the breaking down of dead skin cells. This softens the dead skin for removal. The mild, abrasive texture of oatmeal sloughs off dead cells and removes excess sebum in your pores while honey gently exfoliates and moisturises.
What you will need:
– 1 tablespoon milk
– 1 teaspoon honey
– 1 teaspoon ground oatmeal
– Small mixing bowl
– Clean towel
– Combine all milk, honey and oatmeal thoroughly into mixing bowl
– Apply paste onto clean face using fingertips in a gentle circular motion
– Allow to penetrate deep into pores for 10 minutes
– Rinse mask off with tepid water and pat dry with a clean towel
Glowing Skin Milk Turmeric Body Mask
Here is one that injects freshness into our skin. Turmeric is widely used as a skin exfoliant and in improving the texture of skin. When both turmeric and milk are applied, the skin is nourished with antioxidants that slow down cell damage, as well as protein that provides collagen and elasticity.
What you will need:
– 3 tablespoons milk
– 2 tablespoons flour (regular or rice flour; ground oats if skin is dry)
– 1 teaspoon turmeric
– A few drops of honey
– Medium-sized bowl
– Mix all flour, turmeric, milk and honey to make a paste into bowl
– Apply a thin layer of paste onto a clean body
– Allow to dry for 20 minutes
– Rinse off with tepid water, scrubbing gently to remove
– Apply body moisturiser
The DIY mask hack recipes are kindly provided by Magnolia Milkspiration.