I was debating whether to put this article under my Style Profile or Designer Profile, because my dear friend (Amos) in this story, is both a style personality and an up-and-coming fashion designer.
My friendship with Amos Ananda Yeo started 2 years ago when I discovered (yes… let me explain this shortly) him. At that time, I was with Esquire Singapore working on the magazine’s inaugural Best Dressed Real Men campaign on an island-wide hunt for the most stylish gentlemen in Singapore – and we all know how tough it is to find men who bothered to dress up, or let alone dress well on this island. Prowling the social media (for men) became a daily activity for me, and I started going through my FB friend’s ‘Friend List’ and looking up every imaginable hash tags – #OOTDs, #menswear and all it’s equivalent. And then, it was on Instagram that I came across this interesting profile @AmosAnanda of a guy in a stylish preppy suit, and I knew instantly, he was a fit with Esquire’s look . So very boldly, I PM (pardon my techno lingo, that’s ‘private-messaged’) Amos and the rest was history.
“Amos, Amos… Famous Amos”, that’s how I often made fun of Amos during the Esquire campaign but little did I know that just a year later, that name ‘Amos Ananda Yeo’ began sprouting out everywhere. First, MR PORTER.COM selected Amos as one of 8 Dressed Men in one of their online street style editorial feature, and more recently, he was an ambassador for Suit Supply when they open their first retail store in Singapore.
This 25 year old ‘kid’ (that’s ) has much more up his sleeves. On this very year that he graduated with a fashion degree from Raffles College of High Education, he wasted no time and immediately launched his eponymous label, AMOS ANANDA. The unisex streetwear label was quickly spotted on celebrities such as Wu Chun and Shane Pow and featured on several fashion magazine.
I finally sat down with the designer, and my friend, Amos for this long belated interview…
HSD: Tell me about yourself and your label AMOS ANANDA?
AA: AMOS ANANDA is an elevated unisex streetwise label with a luxury and utilitarian detailing. The brand conveys a style I coined as ‘SUPERNORMAL’
It is the philosophy of choosing to excel beyond the expectations of being normal. It is a message which I wish to portray about the way you live your life. If your choose to live life normally, you will never get to see how amazing you can be or what you can achieve. This is the mentality that I have applied to everyday dressing and style. Drawing inspiration from the streets, Sports, tradition and military influences. Being unconventional against the conventional approaches by injecting this ‘SUPERNORMAL’ attitude resulting in a New vision of constructed garments.
Like my brand’s philosophy, I always aim to do my best. It is the way I live my life. If you choose to live idea normally, you will never get to see how amazing you can be or what you can achieve. In my context there is nothing call average. It is either good or bad, and I choose the former which I have described as ‘SUPERNORMAL’.
Being independent, total freedom, no restrictions and come what may. This is the way I live my life which allows me to design and create based on my philosophy.
HSD: What are the challenges you face as a young Singapore designer?
AA: Generally on the whole, majority of people in Singapore support local talents but only a minority of them will buy. Afterall, making sales is still the most important to sustain the young designer’s fashion dream.
I have total confidence in the quality of my products and my challenges are how I can introduced my brand philosophy , concept and the products across to the local market. In this aspect, getting media coverage from local media house is the key. Local media support is essential if local designers are to have an edge over their foreign competitors as fashion magazines educate the readers in this market.
HSD: In a short time since your launch, you have gotten quite a bit of media coverage and your clothes was worn by celebrities like Wu Zhun and Shane Pow, how did that come about?
AA: When you have the heart and the drive to create, you will be able to see results. I am an opportunist. When the opportunity is there, I grab it. Media coverage and celebrities publicity such as Wu Chun, Shane Pow, Pornsak and Julie Tan wearing AMOS ANANDA are something that gradually happened naturally. I will say anything is possible as long as one has the drive to realize the vision, add along a good network and humble attitude.
HSD: Tell us what’s next for your label?
AA: AMOS ANANDA will be a part of Digital Fashion Week 2014 this year as the label is invited to showcase 5 designs at the Showroom Space. AMOS ANANDA will expand product ranges with accessories which will also be showing in the event. Do stay tune for more designs under sub line 7 BY AMOS ANANDA coming soon in end of October as well as COLLECTION 02 prevailing in November.
The future of AMOS ANANDA is unwritten. I aim to get into the China market. It is the biggest market in the world. I am keen to know more and explore exciting collaborations in China through unconventional ways.
HSD: Any tips for any young designers out there who wants to start his own label?
AA: Do not let success get to your head just because of that little bit of fame or that little achievement. Always eat humble pie to push yourself to achieve more. Surround yourself with people that keeps you grounded as in this industry, one can easily get carried away with all the glamour and glitz.
I also hope that with the launch of my label and the achievements in this 3 months time can show all young people who are struggling to achieve their goals that anything is possible.
HSD: Describe your personal style?
AA: My personal style is understated yet bold, rooted with modern street sensibilities with a sophisticated aesthetics.
HSD: Who is your style icon?
AA: I have no style icon. When I was younger like 10/11, it was David Beckham. When I was 14/15 it was Takuya Kimura. All these icons doesn’t last long in my perception of my own style icon as I gradually created the perception of I am my own style icon ever since I entered my twenties.
HSD: To you, what is the biggest fashion faux pas?
AA: Fashion Is just a 7 letter word. It is important for the fact that fashion is a business. Style is more important to me as it gives u an identity. It is the most important factor to succeed in the fashion business . It is something which either you have it or you don’t.
The biggest fashion faux pas is when one throws everything branded on his body from the head to toe and think that by blindly following latest fashion trends and products, one is fashionable. I always believe one must find a balance in dressing. There must be a mix and match like branded and vintage products with a street sensibilities. Is like combining yin and yang to produced the overall balance.
HSD: What is your one wardrobe essential?
AA: It is a draw between a well tailored white shirt and black leather pants.
As one just have to put on a jacket that is suitable to be worn to the particular event and he or her are good to go.
HSD : Name me something you are obsessed with…
AA: I always have a thing for accessories like lapel pin or tiebars. I have collected a few of them through the years. My greatest find is a vintage 1970s DIOR tiebar which also became one of my greatest loss after losing it during one of my night out of fun last year.
HSD: Name me your favorite fashion brands/designers?
AA: Rick Owens, Yohji Yamamoto, Junya Watanabe, Visvim, Neigborhood Japan, Tim Coppens and Rad Hourani.
HSD: Do you feel that men are generally fashionable from where you come from?
AA: To a certain extent. Majority are still followers of fashion from the west, Korea and Japan. Generally not really trend setters or early adopters.
HSD: Give us a style tip…
AA: Pick the right accessories to match the overall outfit. Small details go a long way in making the outfit looks great or even better!
HSD: Complete this sentence. A stylish man is…
AA: a gentlemen who is humble and has good manners. He is perfectly fine in his own imperfections.
AMOS ANANDA is available at local select shop Workshop Element, Level 3, Orchard 313. It will also available at soon to be launched local select shop Agenda, Level 2, Mandarin Gallery Orchard, from November 1st. Additionally, it will only be available online in Zalora Marketplace, launching on the 17th October.