Lim Yi Chin
“As a small business owner, I don't wait for things to happen. I make the most of the moment I am in now,” shares Yi Chin, founder and owner of local clothing brand, Salient Label.
This ethos has seen Yi Chin take Salient Label from a humble line sourcing designs directly from South Korea and China to producing her own designs with Salient Label’s characteristically edgy details. More recently, Salient Label has taken steps towards sustainable production and a wider sizing range — beginning with using more sustainable materials, working with clothing manufacturers in the same city as where their fabrics are sourced, and producing pieces in sizes XS to XXXL.
Yi Chin, can you share why you wanted to expand your sizing?
I believe women should be entitled to the designs they fancy.
Back in the days of clothes sourcing, garments were only available in [a more restricted size range of] "free size", "S" or "M" — and "free size" basically meant anything size L or smaller. It was also hard for me to source garments that were slightly edgy and suitable for local customers without facing direct competition [from other labels picking up the same designs].
I think the best time to close the feedback loop is, in fact, during pop-ups and events like Boutiques, where I can interact with customers first-hand instead of just constantly asking shop owners or sales staff at department stores if there has been feedback from anyone. From participating in various pop-ups, some of my customers would tell me my garments were either too large for an S or too small for an XL.
The majority of Singaporean women fit between UK 8 to UK 12 and most brands, including myself, don’t wish to have excessive inventory for larger sized garments. However, [designers] ultimately want people to appreciate our designs, so I wanted to cater to more women. I began producing selected designs in an extended size range, such as pieces that are meant to fit more tightly.
How have you also ensured a comfortable fit with an extended size range?
I initially had always depended on pattern drafting books, but I realised that the sizing given might not be suitable for Asian fit.
When I started producing larger sizes, I decided to get feedback from friends and family members on what could be improved — their personal likes and dislikes, how they liked their clothes to fit, and how they fit in my samples. I think these little steps helped with understanding how to fit and design for plus-sized women.
You make it a point to reduce your carbon footprint where you can. Why is producing sustainably so important to you?
I don’t see why we need to compromise basic human needs such as clean air and water for fashion.
When it comes to sustainable fashion, besides considering how something is made, I think it’s important for customers appreciate what they wear and not just chuck out pieces after a few wears.
Meet Yi Chin and shop Salient Label’s extended size range only at The Gifting Edition 2019. Nov 15-17, levels 2 & 3 of the F1 Pit Building.
Designer Conversations is an interview series done in collaboration with Public Culture, an editorial experience studio that believes in connection over communication. This feature was photographed by Christopher Wong for Boutique Fairs Singapore and Public Culture.