This 22-year-old juggles work as a textile print designer for home-grown fashion giant Love, Bonito in the day and – in her free time – Peachier Studios. The latter is an independent label specialising in whimsical crocheted accessories and beaded jewellery started by Kok and co-founders Hazyra Halim and Miyuki Tsuji last year.
Hello Lydia, how would you say the pandemic might have affected your day-to-day routine?
“On weekdays, I used to frequent cafes at least twice a week to do my work. I find that the happy medium ambient noise is the ideal place to boost my creative output and the buzz of activities from my surroundings stimulates me to work better.
Lydia’s creative nook filled with crochet patterns, yarn, a sewing machine and all the tools needed for her crafting and crochet sessions at home.
However, when the pandemic abruptly upended our lives, I started remaining at home much of the time. I actually grew a strong liking to work from home. I knew I had to adapt by spicing up the workspace in my room. I would display my past creations around my workspace as decor, put on my favourite music playlist on speakers to stimulate my mind.”
And conversely, what do you appreciate about now? Has the pandemic given you any epiphanies, so to speak, be it as a person or as a creative?
“I really appreciate my new use of time. When the option to go out of the house is limited, I was able to turn to projects that I used to relegate to the far end of my to-do-list, such as organising my creative materials accumulated from past projects – fabrics, pattern drafting folders, spools of thread, yarns, etc.
Lydia Kok’s trusty companion while she works.
Flipping through my past creative process journals and combing through the leftover fabric off-cuts definitely inspired and motivated me to keep creating and continue where I left off with my past designs.”
You turned to crochet last year during the lockdown – tell us more about this project and what attracted you to this craft?
“I decided to learn crochet during circuit breaker to cope with the uncertainties from the pandemic. I got addicted to this craft really quickly as I find the rhythmic counting and repetitive knitting motion to be a great stress-reliever.
Peachier Studios signature half-fabric/half-crochet hat.
My partners from Peachier Studios – Hazyra and Miyuki also played a big part in my first foray into crochet. From our interesting exchanges of our personal crochet journey, we developed the unique half-fabric-half-crochet hat for our brand.”
How has the reaction to Peachier Studios been since you first launched it together with Hazyra and Miyuki?
“Hazyra, Miyuki, and I were grateful to have met many supportive customers who really enjoyed this niche eccentric aesthetic we carved for ourselves in Singapore.
An image from Peachier Studios’ recent campaign.
The local craft business community has been extremely supportive of each other as well. When we had our first booth sale at Dino Fest last year, there was a mixed feeling of nervousness and excitement when our customers came to our booth to visit us, wearing multiple Peachier products together in one outfit! We also love to see our customers taking photos in our designs and tagging us online.”
What gives you inspiration in your work? Is there a philosophy you personally abide by or anyone that has particularly influenced your work?
“The value of quality handiwork, the notion of purposeful design and the traditions of community influence my creative practice. I live by the philosophy of making big or small contributions to rid the system of ways that are harmful to the environment and the communities.”
What upcoming projects are you working on?
“Expanding on my final year project ‘The Handmade’s Tale’, I am hoping to turn this community revitalisation project into a platform that connects designers and local craft homemakers.
A campaign still from Lydia Kok’s final year project, The Handmade’s Tale, that was originally an community revitalisation project which she now aims to turn into a platform that connects designers and local craft homemakers.
This design strategy aims to make small-scale productions more accessible to small craft business owners and open up avenues for local housewives to earn a sporadic income by sharing their underused resources with others. I would love to have any creatives who are interested to engage in this production service to reach out!”
Ahead, Kok breaks down what a day in the life of this young creative looks like.