A year ago we launched a limited edition of dresses made in collaboration with The Missing Piece and it sold out before we could put the items online. Many of you have wrote in asking us to continue the dresses. We heard you and so this time around, we decided to bring them online first.
Our bigger dream as a brand has always been to mainstream textile artisanship, and connect artisans with designers to become a collective that showcases the beauty of those collaborations. Collaborations are at the heart of what we do. We believe that for rural craft to thrive, we need to build a network that creates access to the market, providing products that, through good design, stand on their own two feet. As a local brand rooted in the values of heritage and innovation, The Missing Piece takes the traditional cheongsam style and modernises it with their own silhouette.
Here are 7 questions asked, and answered by Eeling of The Missing Piece:
What is the inspiration behind The Missing Piece? What did the journey look like to get you where you are now?
The beginnings of The Missing Piece started when I first picked up sewing while completing my PhD in medical research in Australia. In between long days in the lab and writing up my thesis, I loved to shop for fabric and make my own clothes. When I became a mother, I started making one-of-a-kind pieces for my three children and myself to match and what started as a hobby soon grew into The Missing Piece. After it was discovered by Tjin Lee, chairperson of Singapore Fashion Week, and with the runaway success of its CNY2017 collection for ladies, we decided to shift the brand’s primary focus from coordinated casuals for families to womenswear.
Your fabrics are sourced around the world including Korea, Europe and Vietnam and produced in Vietnam and Indonesia by small factories, can you tell us more about that? What is the impact you’ve seen from your community work?
Fabric sourcing is a passion of mine and it’s also the part of the job that I enjoy the most. I’m always on the lookout for beautiful, comfortable and unique fabrics and will gladly travel around the globe to find new treasures and suppliers. Our team has also intentionally chosen to work with smaller family run factories, so that we help support other women led businesses.
We work closely with the Vietnamese community in our business and it made sense to give back to the people whom we’ve become so attached to. Being a mother of 3, projects relating to the well being and education of children naturally resonate with me.
To date, The Missing Piece (TMP) has supported 2 projects under World Vision. The first being a micro financing project for single mothers who were taught how to carry out mushroom farming to support their young families. Our second ongoing project involves us providing access to clean drinking water and washing facilities for young preschoolers in Minh Long and we have raised over $40,000 to improve water and sanitation systems in 5 preschools with over 1000 preschoolers. The funds have also gone towards educating caregivers through water and hygiene learning programs and campaigns. If we can provide clean water and better living conditions for even just one child and their community, it would make what we do here at The Missing Piece that much more meaningful. We have no doubt that our TMP community and the people who shop with us share the same sentiments.
What is the intention behind the design of modernising a heritage style like the cheongsam?
Cheongsams have such an important place in Chinese fashion. They can be incredibly elegant and delicate, but they have always been a statement piece; fashionable, rebellious, sensual and feminine. Cheongsams can be beautiful and empowering and it was important to me to keep those elements, to respect the cultural significance, and to celebrate the beauty of asian culture in a way that could be worn without the formality that has come to be associated with the traditional designs. Such a beautiful piece of our heritage deserves to be worn on a daily basis and that’s what we aim to achieve with our designs.
What does ethical fashion mean to you?
Ethical fashion is about being conscious of your impact in every possible way, be it environmental sustainability or social justice. Every decision we make in fashion which impacts those around us and being aware of that changes the way I think, the way I source, design or manufacture.
Finding a purpose for the business that goes beyond balance sheets and trends. A way to give back in a positive manner and give what we do on a daily basis true meaning.
In collaboration with The Missing Piece, we’ve added two styles to our range: the Sleeveless Cut Out Dress + Zalya Reblu and the Cut Out Dress + Zalya Jungle. Handwoven in Pochampally and stitched in Batam, the #TMPxMATTER dresses are a limited edition. Meaning, we won’t be bringing them back in this style and print again.