Tan Qiu Wen is the mastermind behind the fashion label, iamwhoiam. The brand reflects her personality of "like it take it or leave it" kinda attitude. She does not like restrictions or rules - designing by adhering to design methodology. iamwhoiam is created from a free mind and creative thinking process. This is reflected from her apparels that are free from conventional cuts and common designs.
This graduate from LaSalle-SIA College of the Arts with a diploma in Fashion Design ensures that her label is self-explanatory and although the brand may sound arrogant, it remains true to its raison d'etre. Her personality and creativity are expressed through her sense of style and dressing.
iamwhoiam is currently sold in Front Row at Raffles Hotel Arcade and is presented by Front Row Studio.
Hi Tan Qiu Wen, please tell us why did you name your label iamwhoiam?
iamwhoiam means to be yourself. Wear it for yourself, not for fashion. Placing a high emphasis on individualism.
Your designs have been termed incorporating codes of haphazardness. Can you please elaborate?
I do not follow any design principles; my design processes are rather random and unplanned. iamwhoiam is free-spirited, this is the brand’s signature.
Your creations are a reflection of a critical analysis of modern man’s tragic life! What do you mean by this?
I always work on a collection around tragedies. This figure is something that has featured constantly in my collections. Mostly as an inspiration rather than an outright literal figure. I like irony and contradiction and try to add this to my collection. This, humour and quirkiness.
This spring collection was based on British colonialism, the British East India Company, cultural fusion, the lost and gain. Like a documentation of the journey the man took.
Iamwhoiam seems to be a very melodramatic poetical process behind its collection. The way it describes its collection and thought process is mind boggling. Clarify please – how is your creative thought process like?
It is hard to explain, sometimes, by the events that happen every day, like a book I come across or a conversation made; it can be anything that inspires me.
For Spring/Summer 11, basically I took inspiration from several old photographs of the troops in the British Indian army. Hence you’ll see a lot of military influences in the collection.
I loved the idea of juxtaposing the uniform of the colonial british soldier and colonels with the uniform of the native Indian soldiers. Colonial military silhouettes overlayed with sarong utilitarian highlights. A mesh-up that disregards the social and hierarchal ladder of the time. That’s also why the collection uses a lot of checks and denim, linen, cotton twill – staple fabrications that are remininscent of that British indies.
How far do you agree that creative people have to go through misery to achieve success in their creative career?
It is not true that all creative people have to go through misery to achieve success, we should see a bigger picture, this dose not apply to just the creative but to all the people, it really depends on the individuals.
How did the representation from Front Row Studio come about?
Iamwhoiam started stocking at Front Row – the store 4 seasons ago. And when Front Row Studio, the sales agency was launched, they decided to represent the label as they felt there was potential for it overseas.
In your own definition, what makes a woman modern and smart?
Any women’s smart and modern will have an interest in culture.
What, to you, is being financially independent?
When I stop worrying about my financial situation.
Do you think you are financially savvy and smart? Why?
I wouldn’t say I am one, there are still much to learn.
What does the phrase “MyFatPocket” remind you of?
A rich bastard :D