The Filmmaker: Clare Chong
If independence and gumption are leading traits of Gen Z, this 22-year-old makes a good candidate for the cohort’s poster girl. As a piano and violin-trained student at the School Of The Arts, she unexpectedly switched majors from music to film mid-way because she “wanted (to work with) a medium that would allow her to collaborate with different types of artists”. These days, she’s in her third year of pursuing a film degree at Lasalle College of the Arts — that is, alongside being director at Hei Studio, the media firm that she co-founded in 2016. Already, she’s established her aesthetic — in fact she has two.
The first is “vibrant, crazy and surrealist”. Her most popular work that reflects this would be the sensuous yet stylised video for R&B singer Sam Rui’s 2017 single Better, which has over 100K views on Youtube. Her most ambitious: Anderer, an ongoing series of experimental shorts with vivid colours and bizarre narratives that hint at her love for David Lynch and Kenneth Anger. Then there’s her poignant, introspective side that focuses on everyday moments and “quiet outcasts of society”, best seen in Please Dream Of Me, a 10-minute piece on dementia commissioned under Temasek Holdings’ filmmaker incubator project 20/20. Clients that have tapped on her eye include DBS and Singapore Airlines, but Hei isn’t about the money, she says. “We simply believe in making filmmaking fun… Whatever that’s earned goes to our own or friends’ projects to support them.” A strong sense of community — how Gen Z as well.
The Next Style Star: Savina Chai
As we write this, Savina Chai, 24, is in Milan getting her first taste of Fashion Week in a “Big Four” city, attending shows while dressed up in the season’s trendiest pieces, and documenting it all for Instagram and her namesake website. To many of her 76.4K followers and legions of influencer wannabes out there, it would seem like she’s made it — her trajectory from independent e-boutique owner to globetrotting, Prada/Louis Vuitton-kitted-out content creator the dream Gen Z success story.
It shows in her style. As the founder of the now-defunct label Eight Slate, she wore her tresses wispy; her wardrobe — like her brand — a fun yet affable adaptation of the minimalist Phoebe Philo look book. Now, those locks are straight and curtained by blunt bangs, while her outfits are equally slick. She’s into sophisticated insider labels like Gabriela Hearst and Caroline Constas.
She agrees that she has evolved, but readily point outs that, as much as she loves fashion, it’s a business. Her trip was self-funded. “I don’t think attending Fashion Week is a sign of making it,” she says. “It’s a matter of how much an influencer is willing to invest, and what’s her ROI.” And she’s not driven by follower count: “My goal has always been to build businesses, solve problems and provide for myself independence and knowledge.”
And this is why this eloquent, quietly confident KOL has made it. While many sell the image of being bona fide fashion stars, she’s honest about her interests, and knows that clothes alone don’t make the woman. It’s an ethic that she’s determined to instil in her students from Temasek Polytechnic’s apparel design and merchandising course — she lectures on sourcing and costing. Up next year: a new start-up. This success story has only just begun.
This story first appeared in Female’s November 2018 issue.