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Here we have interviewed the fabulously talented Amanda, winner of House of Sheens Leather Accessory Design Competition. Her amazing designs will be featured in our first all-leather collection later this year.

Tell us about yourself

I’m Amanda, 23 years old from Singapore. Before discovering my interest in Fashion and Design, I was the typical girl who just wanted to score well for my ‘O’ levels so I could get into the business course in Temasek Polytechnic. During the first year, I realized that what I really wanted was to own a fashion business. Hence, I started doing up a blogshop, taking stocks from local suppliers and selling it online. Despite multiple failures, I did not give up this dream of mine and continued pursing what I wanted and this has led me to taking up a course in Fashion Design. Furthermore, my mum used to study design and have an interest for fashion; maybe it’s in my genes to pursue something related to fashion!

During my poly years, I was working and studying at the same time. My passion for fashion has caused a drastic drop in my grades and that’s when I decided I should stop and take break. I was working full-time as a retail store assistant in an independent boutique at Far East Plaza. There, I’ve learnt and experience more than what the school could offer me during that three years. I’ve learnt how to manage a store alone, including the finances and knowing the customers. I’ve also learnt to keep myself updated with trends and the customer’s likes and dislikes. About 2 years later I realized it was time for me to think about my future and what I wanted to achieve in life. I had to persuade my mum to let me study fashion in MDIS as she was afraid it was a brief period of enthusiasm. With my persistence, I assured her that fashion is what I want to do for a living hence I enrolled in the course at MDIS.

Why did you choose to study at MDIS?

I realized I didn’t want to spend another 3 years at other institutions to get a diploma and since MDIS offered a 1-year program for Fashion Design and Marketing, I decided to give it a try. Futhermore, I find that MDIS a lot more to offer. They allow their students to get hands-on experience in the fashion industry with competitions as compared to the other schools and not to mention the enthusiastic lecturers.

How do you think your course is relevant to your personal everyday life?

It inspires me to push myself beyond my boundaries and think out of the box. It actually helped shaped me as a person and build my strength and skills. I’ve never been so busy juggling with school, my part time job, friends and family. It helped me realized the importance of time management. I always keep my schedule and deadlines reminder on my phone calendar!

How have you progressed as a student from the start of the program to the end?

When I enrolled in MDIS, all I wanted was to learn how to make dresses so I could start up my own label. However, months after months, I learnt to draw flat sketches (which are important for creating your own garment), create and sew garments and learnt how to do a proper presentation. I was amazed I could sew up a dress for my first semester’s assignment!

I find that I’ve grown to be a mature and responsible person since the start of the program. There’s so much to learn from peers and lecturers during the course of one year and I think that I’ve gained a bunch of trustworthy friends! Without them, I never thought I could I have achieved this much in school. I’ve learned to always ask my lecturers questions when in doubt, seek opinions from peers about my design. I used to like doing things by myself!

I’ve gained a lot of knowledge from MDIS and it has opened my eyes to see the world around me differently. I am thankful for the opportunities the school has given to me and my classmates by giving us live-projects (competitions) to gain exposure in the industry. Never would I have thought I could come in as Top 3 Finalists for the graphic design competition for Ghim Li, and emerged as a winner for House of Sheens’ competition! I was so ecstatic when my designs were chosen! It gives me the recognition and confidence I needed to continue in this industry.

Where do you get your inspirations from?

Everything and everyone around me, fashion books and magazines play a part too! On top of that, I love researching on the cultures of different countries and that inspires me a lot too!

Who is your favourite designer?  

Dion Lee. He is such a talented designer from Australia where he combines opposing elements to create a garment! His minimalistic aesthetic has attracted me to his designs; it can be so simple but yet complex at the same time.

Can you show us some of your best works and tell us more about them in detail?

My best works are the designs I’ve done for both competitions.

House of Sheens

Inspired by the architecture of Marina Bays Sands, I created a collection for House of Sheens. Simple lines yet elegant at the same time, mimicking the interior and exterior of the building. The colours are extracted from the lightshow shown at MBS at night where the base is usually darker in colours (the dark sky) and streaks of colours from the light for the pattern. This is one of my best works to date!

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Ghim Li

For Ghim Li’s graphic design competition, the Geishas from Japan inspired me. I love the way the Geisha moves and act; their elegance and story through a dance. Hence, I decided to create a collection based on the sakura flowers and the geisha herself.

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