Sabrina Li founded Selfhood, her streetwear-focused fashion distribution company, three years ago. With offices now in Singapore, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong, as well as a burgeoning new creative studio, the outfit is responsible for helping bridge the geographical and cultural gaps between brands and new markets.
What makes Selfhood buzzy are the hyper-cool collaborations it helps to conceptualise for the brands it distributes. Think a hotel-themed pop-up in partnership with Seoul’s cult multi-label boutique Boon The Shop to raise the profile of New York-based brand Market (formerly Chinatown Market). There’s also a music-heavy slant to the company, with a radio programme and DJ events that it puts on during fashion weeks in Seoul and Paris.
A Selfhood showroom at Rue Rene Boulanger in 2020 during Paris Fashion Week.
What is your take on Singapore’s fashion identity today?
“People are exploring and being experimental.”
What’s the first word that comes to mind when we say ‘Singapore fashion’?
One defining memory of Singapore fashion for you?
“A runway show in partnership with Loof on Odeon Tower in 2009 for Singapore Fashion Week – the last official one. The models had to climb a fire escape to walk the show, and because of the glass they couldn’t hear the music so the choreographer had to cue the models to the beat.”
Favourite Singapore fashion label?
“In Good Company – I liked them from when they were Alldressedup. I was very proud then because it felt like a global brand. There was hope then: Alldressedup was at Paragon, there was news of them showing overseas at fashion week, and it was such a rare thing that, even though I wasn’t a ‘fashion person’, I knew about and was excited by it.”
Is Singapore a fashion city?
What do you think we need to make Singapore a true fashion city?
“Give fashion more space. It has to start with landlords – if rent is not possible, no one will open a creative store. Everyone will sell the same generic things that sell. E-commerce works, but there’s no experience factor. It’s a real estate problem, and not something a designer can solve. All the big brands can set up in Singapore, and it’s so generic because they’re the ones who can afford it.”
Complete this sentence: In future, I hope that Singapore fashion…
“Can progress globally and be part of the global scene.”