If you’ve been following It girl/multi-hyphenate/Female Collective member Linda Hao’s exploits on Instagram (@lindahaoliyuan), you might wonder what she’s been up to, spending lots of her time at an idyllic joint called Sea & Saw.
Located across the Causeway and owned by her pal Sea Wong, the barely year-old joint is a cafe-meets-custom furniture store that she fell in love with when she attended its opening mid last year. Fast forward to 2016 and armed with the experience of running her riotously fun, now-defunct fashion label Yesah, she’s now Sea & Saw’s freelance creative marketing honcho. How she’s changing it up? By doing what she does best – using her indie cred and influence to connect talented individuals from the music and design communities in Johor Bahru and Singapore – and turning it into a creative platform.
Whether it’s curating events (she recently organised a mini festival with an outdoor cinema and invited Singapore band Specific Islander to perform); coming up with content for its social media channels; or helming the decks as a DJ on board the cafe’s Disco Bus, her approach is “all about good vibes and good friends”. The Malaysian city’s laid-back lifestyle, and the chance to be bold and creative in a place with a “less developed scene”, keeps her going – and going back.
While she admits to be on the hunt for a full-time job that’ll leverage on her fashion clout and allow her to “effect change” in society, she’s taking things into her own hands in other ways. There’s her pet project Common Culture, an art collective she co-founded with two friends that focuses on documenting various aspects of youth culture. She’s also become an ambassador for Connected Threads Asia, a Singapore-based organisation that promotes sustainability in fashion (her belief in the same cause was partly the reason for winding down Yesah).
Ultimately, everything she does boils down to “the art of momentum”. She says: “It’s all about creating, making use of the ideas in our head to make (something happen) with our hands.”
An adapted version first appeared in Female‘s March 2016 issue.