Friday, 5 October 2012

Interview #2: Vanda Fine Clothing

Its Friday!

To celebrate this occasion, I've decide to showcase the Founders of Vanda Fine Clothing - Diana & Gerald. Its a local start-up that was born in 2011 out an idea that they could offer interesting products with quality that could rival the best in the world - by using the traditional way of making clothes- by hand.

Personally, I have known both of them since junior college - which is like gosh 10 years - and am so impressed at what they are doing and will be doing in the future. Gerald was the quiet smart one while Diana is the spunky ideas lady! What a great couple.

Current in their product line are neckties, Pocket squares and Label Pins.

For the neckties and pocket squares, you can even personalize it with hand embroidered monograms! Such a useful and great gift for your father and boyfriend right?

Taken from their site

Videos from The Rake who did a fabulous review on them.
For quality: they make several buying trips each year to luminaries in the textiles industry such as Vanner’s and Holland & Sherry, sourcing for the finest silks and wools to transform into ties – which are constructed as six- or seven-fold unlined creations, highlighting the quality of the fabrics. Pocket squares, too, are made from vintage, out of production kimono silks obtained directly from Japan, made sublime by a subtle but painstakingly hand-rolled hem. 

On the Tie

On Wearing It

On the Label

On Dressing with Style

For a clearer idea of the production and uniqueness, you can follow their blog and their facebook page

Excepts taken from esquiresingapore & collabcollab websites
Working out of a modest room in an industrial building previously populated by shoemakers back in the ‘70s, Shen and Chan’s latest endeavour is shirt making. Currently, they apprentice under the Chairman of the Singapore Master Tailors Association, Thomas Wong, whom they respectfully refer to as “sifu”. Shen is still dissatisfied with his shirt workmanship but continues to hone his craft. Shen and Chan’s recent challenge was contacting Carlo Riva, the makers of the finest shirting cloth, for shirting fabric. The duo were scheduled to be in Como, Italy in April and e-mailed the company in January. No reply. They perservered until the day before their trip—success at last. They got in touch with Ottaviano Mantero, the company’s maestro, who scheduled a meeting with them the next day. Mantero scrutinised Shen’s shirt sample and found that it met his standards. Vanda Fine Clothing now has a direct account with Carlo Riva.
This is as satisfactory an outcome as anything Shen and Chan could have chosen for themselves. They say they’re not in it for the money. They get by but at the end of the day, the craft is just as important as the profits. Don’t expect multiple branches. There will only be one Vanda Fine Clothing, where everything and anything will fall under their scrutiny, perfecting any “imperfections” that may arise.

Here's a snippet of the interviews they have done

Give us a brief introduction about yourselves.
Diana and I are local grads who have decided that climbing corporate ladders just ain’t our thing. Diana has a real knack for crafts, and she’s been deconstructing clothes ever since she can remember. I’ve always been interested in clothes, but in the past 5-6 years menswear has been my real passion and/or obsession.

Tell us a little more about Vanda Fine Clothing, and what inspired it.
About three years ago when I was still an undergrad in SMU, we decided to start hand sewing pocket squares and selling them through an online menswear forum that I had been a member of for some years. I merely thought of the idea to do this; it was really Diana who had the expertise to execute it and perfect the sewing technique we have today.
Quite frankly, we started this mostly to make things for my personal use, and also in part to make some sideline income to pay for our holidays and other frivolous things. We later experimented with using the same hand rolling technique to make luxury neckties, and that became quite a hit with our customers.
Encouraged with the positive response, we started to realize that this small venture had some real potential. More importantly, we found that we really loved what we were doing – enough to want to do it as a living.
Vanda Fine Clothing was thus founded in 2011, with the mission of creating traditionally handcrafted menswear with subtle flair.

What’s going on in your life at the moment?
We’ve been kept really busy fulfilling orders and really haven’t taken more than a handful of days off since we started this business in September 2011. 

Where do you see Vanda Fine Clothing heading in the next 5 years?
We will definitely keep Vanda Fine Clothing small, as we do not have any intention of going mass market. We’re obsessed with making the very best we possibly can, so that’s certainly not an option at all. We might explore adding some other menswear accessories, and concentrating on our next project – shirtmaking.

PS: I was just lamenting the other day to my friend how I started dressmaking classes and after a semester of that, I gave myself a break because I realize it was so much hard work trying to make a dress.

So, Kudos to both of you!  All the best!

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