By Mandy Heng
Fashion designers are generally expected to develop their expertise before their careers can be launched. With Ice Tan, however, her love of fashion saw her creating clothing for clients well before attending the likes of Parsons and Central Saint Martins, the elite fashion schools that have produced some of fashion’s finest, such as John Galliano, Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen.
“Once you settle for second best, that’s what happens to you in life.” Singaporean Ice Tan is the antithesis of that statement, never settling for anything less than best. The best from herself and in the things that she does, from the clothes she designs to the colleges she attends. We caught up with the Singaporean designer to find out what has continued to inspire her since the inception of her brand in 1998.
What was your time at Parsons, The New School of Design and Central Saint Martins like?
Parsons was stressful and demanding in projects, with lots of late nights and long hours spent in the design labs and library. The reason for this was they had a comprehensive and intensive syllabus designed to train designers well. On the other hand, St.Martins was the opposite, it was much more chilled and relaxed. There was less pressure felt as a student and the focus was more on creativity rather than technicality like Parsons. We had more time to explore the city of London to find inspiration for the creation of new design concepts.
What drives your design?
My customers are my main drivers. They have related to my designs and never questioned any aspect of them. Each collection sees them coming back repeatedly to purchase designs that I produce. They wear them and pose on social media which is something that touches me. The ability to create designs that enable my clients to feel confident and at their best is what fuels me.
What is your fashion philosophy?
Each design must be wearable and never too over the top. I strive to create a range that has commercial viability allowing my customers to carry the look from work, to casual to cocktail functions.
What qualities do you find make an attractive woman?
A woman who loves and believes in herself and who has passion in what she does is attractive!
What is your favourite accessory?
My favourite accessory is definitely my huge sunglasses.
What is your view on the local Singapore fashion scene?
Singapore has always had a fashion scene. Strong designers like Thomas Wee, Francis Cheong, David Wang and Bobby Chng have set the tone for our fashion landscape since the 1980s. The development of Orchard Road into what it is today also helped compliment this scene as it provides the urban hardware for it. New brands, innovative collaboration and more local designers are developing strong followings, proving there is a thriving creative talent in Singapore.
Describe the ICE TAN woman.
Modern, chic and sexy.
What inspires your aesthetic and why do you think women respond to it?
Aesthetically, nothing gives me greater inspiration than seeing women transformed by the way they look in my dresses. I hope to empower them with my designs, to bring out the best in them and make them feel special, confident and beautiful with who they are.
What is your hallmark/best selling piece and why?
Our best seller is our famed ‘Eva’ dress. This is a versatile and comfortable dress with adjustable wraps that can be draped around the body to create five different looks. So it’s perfect for any occasion!
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