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Fashion

Fashion Files: Minimalism Is A Way Of Life For This Fashion Buyer

In this fortnightly column, we go into the closets of some of Singapore's most underrated style stars. Here, Jeraldine Ng — fashion buyer for multi-label store Supplies & Co.'s e-commerce platform — pulls off minimalism and androgynous clothing like no other.

It’s easy to assume that Jeraldine Ng would be the type to have clothing spilling out of her closet and racks heaving under the weight of the latest Comme des Garcons — a Confessions of a Shopaholic type situation. It’s not too far a leap, considering that the fashion buyer and fashion design womenswear undergraduate at London College of Fashion (read: designer-in-training) can tell you exactly which season her Alexander Wang bag is from, despite having purchased it years ago.

But save for two Saint Laurent paper bags on the floor of her bedroom that tells of recent buys, Ng’s tightly curated wardrobe hardly speaks of a shopping addict. Like her pared-back style in mostly black and white, minimalism is a way of life.

The monochromatic inclination though, she chalks up to her mother. “I was like a life-size barbie doll to my mum when I was younger and she’s never been a fan of pink, red or colours in general, so I’ve always been accustomed to a monochromatic wardrobe. It’s not changing anytime soon,” Ng says. Such loyalty too is seen in her choice of clothing labels: Comme des Garcons, Y-3 and OAMC are recurring names, with a smattering of Junya Watanabe and Vetements.

Vetements boots (left), Alexander Wang bag, Givenchy necklace and Prada sunglasses (right)

As for how a fashion enthusiast like Ng experiments with minimalism, it’s all down to the styling. She shares, “Watching how pieces in fashion runway collections are styled and how they portray a myriad of options, definitely broadens horizons. It introduces interesting forms of layering and proportion.”

Describe your sense of style.

“Minimalistic, monochromatic and androgynous. Clean lines with functional details often combined with a hint of colour or bold prints. I’m also a sucker for co-ords, even if it means that I might be mistaken for wearing my PJs out.”

Ng wears a matching top and trousers from OAMC.

Who are your fashion influences?

“As I’m trained in design, most of my fashion influences come from the designers, with a few exceptions. Yohji Yamamoto, Rick Owens, Helmut Lang, Rei Kawakubo, artist Daniel Arsham and fashion blogger Lyn Slater (of Accidental Icon) to name a few. As for Slater who is 64 years old and really stylish, I would do anything to be her when I’m in my 60s.”

Does your job as a fashion buyer influence your personal style, and conversely, does your taste impact the pieces you decide to stock for Supplies & Co.’s e-store? 

“My personal style doesn’t influence my buying as that has to cater to our target market, while bought in a manner where it still represents the collection of the designer. On the other hand, my work and experiences at Paris Fashion Week have definitely influenced my personal style. Watching how pieces in fashion runway collections are styled and how they portray a myriad of options, definitely broadens horizons. It introduces interesting forms of layering and proportion.”

As you’ve recently broken your foot, how do you intend on styling yourself given that you’re stuck with the cast for awhile — any fun ideas?

“It is not a cast, it’s a Balenciaga boot (she references the chunky, “ugly” Triple S sneakers from the brand). I have no intention of changing the way I style myself but I’ve been contemplating whether I should spray paint the cast matte black, and maybe stick some puffy stickers on it. Feel free to send some over.”

Ng sticks to her M.O. of black and white, but opts for one striking piece that’s a shirt from Weekday. Jacket and trousers from Comme des Garcons Homme Plus, and earring from Givenchy.

I rarely see you in colour. Has this been your preference for a long time?

“I wouldn’t say it’s a preference, but rather, familiarity. I have never really worn colours as a child. I was like a life-size barbie doll to my mum and she’s never been a fan of pink, red or colours in general, so I’ve always been accustomed to a monochromatic wardrobe. It’s not changing anytime soon.”

Living between Singapore and London, do you find yourself dressing differently in each city, apart from the weather? 

“Most definitely. My jackets and coats take up about 60% of my wardrobe and of course it’s impossible to wear them here in Singapore. I wear more of my avant-garde stuff in London. It’s got a lot to do with comfort for me. I think Singaporeans aren’t as receptive to certain styles of dressing, and they do struggle to deduce if I’m an effeminate man or a woman with short hair. So with that and the scorching heat here, I tend to dress down more in Singapore.”

Pairing a Junya Watanabe jacket over an Armani Exchange shirt, she lets the textured leather do the talking.

Does it matter to you whether a clothing item is made for men or women? 

“It doesn’t necessarily bother me whether what I’m purchasing was made for men or women, but I do find myself steering towards the men’s section. I’ve got the body of a 9-year-old boy so I think the men’s cut suits me more.”

Is there a brand or designer you’re really excited about at the moment?

“I’m looking forward to seeing what Hedi Slimane has to offer at Celine — especially the launch of the menswear line.”

What is your most treasured item that you’ll hold on to for life?

“My Cartier watch, and the two rings that I can’t leave home without. It belonged to my late mom and she’d had it since she was 17.”

Ng keeps her accessories down to the minimum, opting for a Cartier watch and her mother’s rings the most often. The Givenchy earring is worn on occasion.

Shoes, bags, jewellery or clothing? 

“I’d probably pick watches. Rolex in particular as they hold their value well; it’s a good investment.”

On a big night out, we’ll probably catch you in…

“Full black attire, no surprises there. I’ll wear a Comme des Garcons Homme Plus suit and style the jacket without a shirt inside so it sits as a low V-neck. It’ll go with Vetements boots, the default rings and Cartier watch, or the Love bracelet. And only if I’m boozed up, I’ll accessorise with the Givenchy earring — it hurts to wear and that numbs the pain.”

If we were to run into you in your neighbourhood, you’ll probably be wearing…

“A plain black Calvin Klein tee, black Nike shorts and Y-3 trainers.”