Designers' workspace: Elyn Wong

Local designer Elyn Wong, 38, of clothing label Stolen, in her 850-sq-ft home and office in Tiong Bahru.

How did you end up in this space?

I've been here a little over a year. I started Stolen full-time two years ago and I wanted to find a space which could serve as an office and where customers could visit as well.

I searched specifically for a place in Tiong Bahru because it's convenient for visitors - plus it's a nice place to shop, chill, relax and visit the atelier. It's quaint and has character too.

I used to stay in Newton, which was more residential but it was troublesome giving directions to people who visited.

Where do you do most of your work?

I do most of my work in this room. It's important to segregate the work from the other rooms or else I could be working all the time.

Is it important for you to have a place to retreat to, or could you work anywhere?

I actually try to do a lot of work when I travel. I enjoy different views and scenery. I love mobile offices because of that.

I find it very inspirational to be looking at different things every day. If I'm in a new city I like to sit in cafes - it's great to soak in the culture and people-watch. Even in Singapore, I visit cafes to do work like checking e-mail messages.

Describe your creative process.

If I have interesting ideas about things such as the cut of a dress or fabric or colour, I will park these nuggets of ideas into a library.

When I start conceptualising a collection, most of my ideas are from my travels - I think my mind is just more open when I travel.

Once I sit down and plan the collection, I revisit that library of old ideas to see whether any of them link to the collection. I like simple things, so I tend to revisit designs after a few days and see if I can take away more elements.

What is your favourite thing in the room?

It's what I call my rubbish wall.

Whenever I think of something, I have to write it down and put it up here. It's a direct reflection of what's in my head. My ideas come way too fast, so it's hard to contain them otherwise.

What is the most useful thing in the room?

It's more an area actually - this corner with natural light. It's my getaway within a getaway. I like to re-think and re-evaluate my ideas here.

What is the strangest thing in the room?

Maybe this isn't very strange, but it's this broken piece of luggage. It's the luggage that got me all my first deals.

I carried all my samples in it and went door-to-door to boutiques asking them to carry my stuff.

Also, this cardboard chair, which was made for my first tradeshow booth. I think it's a good reflection of my brand even though it's not clothing. I wanted to be an architect before and I think the structured influence oozes over.

Do you like working in the same space where you live?

As mine is a young business, I need to maximise my spending. My business is my priority so I really looked for a space I would enjoy working in.

But it takes a lot of effort and self-control to draw the line between work and home sometimes.

Are there any musts when it comes to your office space?

My No.1 criteria when looking for a space is natural light. It's something I cannot live without.

And greenery. Nature revitalises me when I feel stressed. So I like that if I look out from my desk, there are trees. If I'm conceptualising and thinking of ideas, sometimes I like to take my work to a park.

Do you work on the computer?

I use my computer for a lot of research - on brands, fabrics, stores and trends. Social media too.

Whenever I launch a collection, I design all the lookbooks and brochures too, as I have a graphic design background.

But the actual design and conceptualising is all by pen and paper on my notebook.


This article was first published on Oct 17, 2014.
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