A year ago, we committed to a range that celebrates multiple sizes and we asked our #mattertribe to be a part of a community shoot. One of the questions that often surface up for brands is how involved should we get in politics? As a team and brand grounded on the pillars of social change and equality, we felt we wanted to do our part in becoming more involved and vocal in the existing conversations of our community. June was Pride Month, a time to celebrate the impact the LGBTQIA+ community has had on the world and to commemorate the ones before who’ve fought hard for the progress today. Which is why for this year’s community shoot, we wanted to celebrate people who are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community in Singapore, to celebrate their stories and spotlight the existing conversations here.
What’s your “story”?
There isn’t really much of a story to my coming out. My siblings knew for quite a while, and my Dad is super liberal, so my mother was the only one I felt like I had to “come out” to. One day, after graduating from university, I decided that the bare minimum I could do to love myself was to live as authentically as I could, and I remember waking my mother up at an ungodly hour just to tell her that I didn’t like boys. Maybe it was because she needed some time to process it, or maybe she just wanted to get back to bed, but she just hugged me and told me it was okay. And that was that.
What do you need the world to know about you?
I’m a try-hard, maybe to a fault sometimes, but I don’t see any shame in going all out for a dream or a goal.
As a writer for City Nomads, you mentioned your intention is to increase LGBTQIA+ visibility in your work. What are some of the works you’re most proud of and what has been the response to these articles?
I really loved working on my article on What (Not) To Do At Your First Drag Show. It’s something fun and also informative, and I loved working with lovely contributors that opened my eyes on the subject. And if something helps clear up apprehension about LGBTQIA+ events, I’m all for it. My colleagues at City Nomads were really supportive of the pitch and the article, and some friends have told me they liked it, so I hope others feel the same!
What was a pivoting point in your journey to self acceptance and celebration?
I think it was, and still is, more of a long process of #selflove and Rupaul’s Drag Race. It hasn’t been easy and I most definitely made some mistakes. There hasn’t been a defining moment, but a slowly-growing self awareness that I want to live my life on my own terms.
What are some materials (books, movies, articles or otherwise) you’d recommend for people to engage with to learn more about LGBTQIA+ culture?
Movies like The Danish Girl, Milk and Moonlight stand out to me; Brokeback Mountain made me cry. I also follow Prout’s Qurrent on Telegram for news regarding the community, so that’s something I’d definitely recommend. Even being in the community, I still feel like I could learn much more, and simply talking to people in the community has been a great way to do so.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability can sometimes be seen as a trend or a current hot button issue, but it’s something that should be gradually (and permanently) incorporated into our lives. Sustainability is acting on preserving precious resources. It also means to be actively aware of the waste we create, and working on repurposing or reducing what we can.
What is the relationship you have with your clothes?
I try to buy basics that aren’t too complicated, and I repeat outfits so often that I’ve been called out on it. And I try to buy higher quality fabrics that don’t wear away too quickly. When something gets too worn for the public eye, it either gets chopped into rags for cleaning, or gets promoted to pajama status until it disintegrates.
Spreading stories through something as seemingly simple as articles of clothing. Beyond what they are made of, exploring the who, why and how about a particular pattern, medium or style can effect more change and awareness on what people are actually buying, and raises questions about how sustainably they shop in turn.
What is one thing you stand for and believe in, and why?
If anything, I think education in topics that conservative societies skirt around are extremely important steps to building a community of understanding and acceptance. Be it LGBTQIA+, mental health, or safe sex, everything starts with an open conversation. “Stay woke”, as the youngins call it.
We are proud to have Erica Ho as a Fieldtester, a group of inspiring individuals that test MATTER products in their everyday journeys of passion, to help us improve durability and design. Erica is wearing our Work Jumpsuit + Mystic Mountain in size 1, and the Wrap Skirt + Zalya Jungle in size 1.