Not several 26-12 months-olds can claim to have been approached for a fashion collaboration with a global e-tailer as influential and extensive-reaching as Shein.
A person would picture it is a feat value shouting about. But not for Rena Kok, who is reticent about her achievements.
The little one-confronted vogue designer mentions her partnership with Shein offhandedly only halfway as a result of this interview.
The alumna of Lasalle Higher education of the Arts and Temasek Polytechnic was tapped by the China-centered fast-fashion retailer to generate a selection of eight completely ready-to-wear types. The collaboration is section of Shein’s initiative to spotlight youthful designers, with Kok remaining a single of the 1st from Singapore.
“It took me a while to evaluate and accept it due to the fact my regular rate position is about $200,” suggests Kok.
“But at this age, I just want to explore every little thing first in advance of producing a concrete choice on what I want for my label. I observed it as an possibility to faucet Shein’s versatility and resources while reaching new audiences.”
She simplified and tailored past styles for the collection, which will drop all-around July or August with charges but to be verified. Shein is obtainable on the internet in Singapore.
The bespoke designer (instagram.com/renakok) and entire-time vogue stylist for a shoe manufacturer took an curiosity in design at a younger age.
It assisted that her mom ran four retailers called Lovable Tink from 2003 to 2015, which marketed franchised baggage that may well be recognisable to some. The gentle, vibrant bags – embroidered with animals and in a mix of imported and unique layouts – have been usually toted in the 2000s.
Kok, then 10 a long time outdated, had a hand in picking out the materials and styles. “It nurtured my enthusiasm for entrepreneurship and layout,” she remembers.
She went on to analyze manner design and style at Temasek Polytechnic and, just after graduating, took a hole yr to do commercial styling jobs for television commercials. In 2017, she enrolled at Lasalle to study vogue structure and textiles.
Lasalle gave her the “artistic freedom” to experiment and have confidence in her instincts, claims Kok, who describes her style as remaining tactile and content-centered. A lover of textile manipulation, she when built a wooden skirt with laser-slice particulars.
She also normally takes inspiration from science fiction, these kinds of as tv sequence Black Mirror (2011 to existing) and movies Annihilation (2018) and Extinction (2018).
Talking animatedly about alien invasions and brainwashing, the petite designer states she draws from the “system of morphing, altering and adapting” to produce her parts, which can be worn in distinct varieties.
In 2019, in partnership with a graphic designer, she developed a prime with Swarovski crystals which formed a motif that doubled as a QR code. When viewed by way of a telephone, the bedazzled code activates an augmented-fact element to play a video.
The ground breaking shirt, showcased through Lasalle’s graduation vogue show, bagged her the Swarovski Innovation Award and a journey to the brand’s headquarters in Wattens, Austria.
In Oct that year, she put 2nd runner-up in the Harper’s Bazaar Asia NewGen Style Award and very first in the Singapore version.
It was her third endeavor participating in the regional competitiveness. She first did so as a university student in Temasek Polytechnic and then all over again in her next yr at Lasalle. On her 2nd try, the judges felt she was not prepared and instructed her to check out once more the pursuing yr.
So she did, and this time she clinched the awards with a futuristic womenswear selection impressed by an observation of commuters staying glued to their digital gadgets.
The pieces, produced from 3D PU substance and debossed neoprene, “enhanced the notion of contact (to highlight) the romantic relationship amongst the surface of the pores and skin and the contact of cloth”.
About 10 parts, priced from £128 (S$239) to £780, are nonetheless out there on London-based mostly designer assistance platform Trend Crossover London, which connects emerging designers with international style prospective buyers and experts.
The gain raised her profile and opened doorways to retail chances, such as the just one with Shein.
Past year, she was also selected to make a 4-piece capsule selection for OneOrchard.Retail outlet, an e-commerce system by Textile and Fashion Federation Singapore. The collection ($199 to $360) was formulated beneath A New Slate, an initiative by Harper’s Bazaar Singapore to mentor previous NewGen winners to produce retail-ready looks.
These days, when she is not on set styling shoots, she is at residence planning her built-to-purchase line Renakok. She sees herself checking out more prepared-to-wear in the potential and is now doing work on a diffusion line.
It has been challenging functioning as a “a person-gentleman demonstrate” managing both equally the design and style and enterprise areas, she states.
But consistent support from her 50-12 months-outdated mother, a businesswoman who is venturing into the personal-care marketplace future, has saved her heading.
“Not a lot of mother and father motivate their little ones to be in this line,” she says. “At periods when I was shut to offering up, my mum manufactured me press on.”
• This is the to start with period of Rave, a series of films featuring younger, up-and-coming trend designers dependent in Singapore who are creating their mark in the field. Rave is produced by Singapore Push Holdings in partnership with the Infocomm Media Advancement Authority, as section of the agency’s Community Assistance Broadcast initiative.