Daniel Chew and Rebecca Ting launched Beyond The Vines (BTV) in 2015 with the goal to kit women with quality wardrobe staples that won’t break the bank. Four years on, they’ve become the role model for homegrown brands that have found success locally and abroad: Beyond The Vines now boasts an impressive total of 14 stores and points-of-sale.
Not one to rest on their laurels, the husband-and-wife duo are constantly looking at ways to evolve the ethos of the brand. Besides tweaking each store’s design to inject a dash of difference to the uniformity, they’ve also introduced the Crew Collection, an yearly capsule designed by members of the entire BTV team which, according to Ting, is an exercise in celebrating individuality through a collective unity. However, she felt a desire to disrupt the status quo even more. “This year, my pursuit was to find beauty in unifying imbalance,” explains Ting, the creative brains behind the brand. “Pushing boundaries with a capsule unisex collection instead of separate menswear and womenswear lines was our way of engaging a generation that is fast becoming fluid.”
The result is “Unified Utility”, BTV’s first foray into gender-neutral wear. Comprising pieces that riff on workwear styles, each piece in the collection features subtle details such as contrast stitching and mixed materials. A colour palette comprising muted hues such as navy blue and khaki juxtaposed with bursts of orange and mustard further exemplifies the brand’s philosophy of “creating boldly, and designing simply.” Is the range a precursor to a menswear line? Ting jokes: “Never say never!”
Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind this unisex collection?
Ting: I personally love a good utilitarian, androgynous look. With this collection, we wanted to translate that into our designs, while also infusing the personalities of the BTV crew. So we took boxy cuts, oversized pockets and technical hardware and gave them a modern spin with tonal and contrast colour block details.
Why was it important for BTV to have a unisex line?
I believe it’s important to disrupt ourselves from time to time. We design capsule collections four times a year with concepts that challenge social trends and the idea of design. With the Crew Collection: Unified Utility, it’s us going against what we know and are so familiar with to produce a work that we are proud of and that our customers are proud to own.
What were some of the challenges you faced when putting together the unisex line?
In designing any collection, we know we have to design a wardrobe that stands the test of time. In preparing for this unisex collection, we had to think about the men as much as the women, to ensure we were dressing them true to our design philosophies while still meeting the functional needs of both the male and female garment.
Were there any additional considerations/changes to the creative and design process?
Oh yes, for sure! The very fundamental understanding of male and female physiques had already taken our design process in a different direction right from the start. Furthermore, as this Crew Collection involved everyone in the BTV crew, capturing the individual personalities and translating them into the designs had to be an intentional thought from the conceptualising stage.
What lessons did you learn from this process?
To never rush the process. With design, it takes time and a clear headspace to see in perspective. We also learned to be unapologetic when changes have to be made, even if it means needing to extend deadlines, so that we know we’re giving our best to every garment we design.
Tell us more about your new flagship store at Funan. How is it also reflective of the brand’s progress?
In designing our largest store yet, the intention was simple – to create a sanctuary. A place that feels authentic; a place that is a renaissance of what I wear and how I live. We also incorporated our design studio into our flagship store as a place for customers to take a closer look at the behind-the-scenes of designing and the exploration of fabrics. Almost to say, with our largest store yet, we wanted to make it to feel the warmest.