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Recently I was looking for something different and creative to do with my other half, and when I heard about Fictive Finger's ...

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Recently I was looking for something different and creative to do with my other half, and when I heard about Fictive Finger's printmaking workshops through the grapevine, it definitely sounded like a welcome change from our usual brunch, dinner or movie dates! Also, as someone who loves art and getting my fingers dirty, I couldn't wait to try my hand at something I've not done before - silk screen printing. 

Fictive Fingers is a handprinted textile studio founded in 2008 and run by two lovely sisters, Hani and Aisah Dalduri, and both are deeply invested in the idea of the importance of handmade products and the beauty of print design. As well as educating the world about this through their beautiful instagram feed and selling lovingly hand-printed products online, they also run a range of classes. Their Fabric Printing Basics class is held at their shophouse studio near Geylang, where they teach you the basic principles of screen printing. Thankfully, you don't need any prior experience and all materials are provided! 

I documented my experience - as well as a sneak peek of their studio - in the pictures that follow. I ended up creating an animal print design (typical me!) in bright pink and lilac shades, which is now waiting to be framed for our living room. :) 

The process was definitely harder than it looks. I found applying the right, even pressure at the printing stage particularly difficult, which meant some of my patterns transferred unevenly and so looks patchy in places, but overall I was happy with the outcome. Also, it's amazing how therapeutic a few hours of just creating art can be - I thoroughly recommended the experience. 

First things first, creating the stencil template
A selection of silk-screen paints used
Applying the right amount of pressure the transfer the ink through the silk screen can be tricky! Practice makes perfect...
Getting used to lining up the block just right on the fabric can take some time, especially for newbies (like moi)  
A sweet array of beautiful prints and textures - needless to say their whole studio is insta-worthy
One of Fictive Finger's popular Signature Pouches
I love how they've reprinted the bar stools in their workshop - so chic! 
A snapshot of their printed kimonos - sold on site (but in popular demand!)




When it comes to jewellery, I'm drawn towards eclectic pieces. I can be wearing the plainest outfit, but I'll always accessorise with a big-ass statement ring or bracelet. I like designs with character, and pieces that enable me to do a bit of layering too (if I feel so inclined on the day!)

So, when I happened to be sourcing clothing for a shoot from a cute boutique on Amoy Street called Willow & Huxley, I came across Trish Van N the label and it's been nagging on my mind to post about the jewellery ever since. The local Singapore-based brand is founded by designer Tricia Ng, who has a full-time job and manages the jewellery business as her side-passion (#girlboss). 

Although there have been quite a few contemporary jewellery collections on the market, some of which showcase similar features to Tricia's label - such as the architectural inspiration and geometric edges - there are a couple of factors that drew me in: 

Consistent Inspiration
From an editor's perspective, I first noticed the consistency of inspiration throughout her range. For example, the way that the bauble details on the Anette rings compliment and echo the feminine and classy pearl detailing on the Ines and Cloche, which is echoed again in the Sabine gold choker. The whole collection presents a clear vision and gets it's message across, which Tricia describes as an 'aesthetic that is boldly modern, feminine and timeless' while intended to be 'mixed, matched and layered'. Designing a coherent collection may sound like such a simple concept, but it's definitely not something all designers achieve - and it all adds to the appeal. 

From the variation in designs from the chunky Cecile or Elise necklaces, or the pretty colours you can choose from with the statement Lilou ring, I love that there is so much choice. The price point range is reasonable too. 

I like how solid and well-made the pieces feel in your hands and while you're wearing them. All designs are handcrafted in Thailand from precious metals such as gold vermeil (18-carat gold gilded over silver or brass) and 14-carat gold. 

Read on for an interview with the woman herself discussing how she founded the business, her favourite pieces and her thoughts on Asia's jewellery industry. Enjoy browsing the pictures of the jewellery too - I had fun taking these and thankfully the weather held up on the day to catch the light! 

Photography by Entheo Leung 

Hey Tricia! Tell me a bit about yourself and your background as a jewellery designer.
I'm 34 with two children, have a full-time job in the commodities broking industry, and have been designing jewellery since 2010 which was the inception of my previous label T. Atelier Jewels. I'm self-taught, with the exception of a course at the Jewellery Design and Management Institute of Singapore.

Why the shift to create your own label?
Trish Van N is my second label, born in 2016 as I broke partnership on my previous brand T. Atelier in 2015. Between 2004 and 2006, I set up a retail shop in the old Scotts Shopping Centre that brought in American and European contemporary designers. Being in touch with the artistic visions of each different designer opened up the creative fire in me, and eventually I was inspired to create my own line a few years later. 

Tell me more about the vision and inspiration behind your current collection. 
I wanted to create pieces that are bold yet feminine, that could be mixed and layered. There's also something about yellow gold that I love - it blends with every skin tone and gives an aura of decadence and classiness. Pieces like the Anette, Ines and Cloche were inspired by dew drops and little bells, whereas you can see more geometric influences in the Eva, Bon Bon and Elise designs.

Describe the process behind the jewellery's craftsmanship in Thailand.
All designs are hand-drawn by me, sent to my factory over there for discussion and adjustments for CAD (a lot of back and forth happens there!) before master designs are produced. Once I see them, I'll approve them for dimension and wearability - if it's not right or comfortable when worn, it will be redone) before the pieces are hand-casted by their craftsmen.

Do you source for materials yourself? What involvement do you have in the design process? 
It depends on the stones required for each design. If most of the stones (such as sapphires) can be easily acquired by the factory, they'll do that for me. However, I've been producing some one-off fine pieces which require me to personally source for the stones individually.

Do you have a favourite piece? If so, which one and why? 
Of course I love everything I've designed, but the piece which sings to me the most would be the Bon Bon ring. It has an art deco feel, but at the same time is quirky and fun with it's colourful enamelling. It's always a conversation starter!

What are your thoughts on the jewellery industry in Asia right now?
From what I've observed, Asian jewellery designers are moving away from conventional designs, but I think there is still much room for creative growth. That said, I've seen some very creative designers in Thailand, Hong Kong and Japan who have really pushed the creative envelope recently when it comes to jewellery design.

What's the biggest lesson you've learnt so far as an entrepreneur in Singapore's fashion industry? 
It's a big challenge to sustain a brick-and-mortar fashion retail business here due to the high cost of rental and the quality of service staff. I've learnt that it made much more sense to invest in a great e-commerce site where you can potentially reach more direct buying. For brand expansion, it always helps to look for showroom representation locally, as well as overseas.

Pictured: pieces from Trish Van N's one-of-a-kind fine jewellery range in 14-carat yellow gold with white diamonds and gemstones

Pictured: wearing the Anna necklace



My style tastes have definitely changed since moving to Singapore. I got bored very quickly with the shops on offer and craved something different from the masses. Not only did that prompt me along my way to discover lots of cool new independent designers, it has made me a bit more mindful of where my clothes come from.

Prior to this, I wouldn't have exactly called myself a shopaholic, but you'd still see me browsing fast fashion chains like Zara, H&M and New Look probably a bit more than I should! And when I did a bit more research into it all recently, it's pretty amazing how non-transparent most fashion labels are about their supply chains. For most international brands, the issue isn't even addressed or publicised. Sure, the label on your clothing may indicate the piece has been made in Bangladesh or Thailand, but under what conditions? 

Crazy facts: 
- The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world (the first is oil!) 
- Over 60% of companies don't actually know where they clothing is made
- Over 90% aren't sure where their raw materials and fabrics are sourced from

Granted, I understand that people need jobs to survive, and wages are far less in many of these manufacturing countries than we'd expect in the "developed" world. But, I think that moving forward, it's up to us as consumers to ask these questions to be a bit more mindful. Put it this way: if you're paying $5 for a t-shirt or dress at full price, someone isn't getting paid - and there's nothing morally right about that. The current Ivy Park sportswear scandal springs to mind.

All of these factors have made me resolve to try and shop more responsibly and sustainably from now on. Of course, it's not realistic to not buy anything, but making more responsible purchases - being conscious of where your clothes really come from and how they are made - is always a possibility. It's something I'll be talking about more in posts to come, so watch this space!

So, when I first heard about the latest ASOS Africa collection from their insta feed - a new range of fair trade clothing hand made at a self-sustaining factory in Africa - I kept my eyes peeled until it launched and then shopped when it dropped! Produced in collaboration with a cool London-based fashion designer named Christine Mhando, the collection is made by SOKO Kenya, a clothing manufacturing company based in Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary in Kenya.

The factory itself was set up in 2009 with the principle of paying fair wages, providing a clean working environment and social service for it's workers - that's a big deal when the area has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. With prostitution and wildlife poaching apparently some of the only other ways to make a living, SOKO has provided both men and women a safer and alternative way to support themselves, empowering them and equipping them with skills to take forward for the future. What's more, the factory building itself has eco-friendly features, including being made from compressed earth as a raw material, plus ventilation gaps throughout allow air to circulate and minimise the need for electric fans.

The cute skater dress I'm wearing here is just one of the pieces I've bought from the new collection (I'm sure you'll see the rest on my instagram over the next few weeks). I must say that the textured woven material and quality is really very good, and noticeably better made than quite a few things I've bought on ASOS in the past (and I can legit say that, as I've bought from the site on and off since 2008!) 

I LOVE the unique graphic floral print, and it went really well with a few other favourites in my wardrobe, including a fringed leather clutch bag by Desti Saint (a lovely expat designer based here - check out her leather bags which carry the Chinese symbol for Double Happiness) and leather heels handmade in Bali from The Tui Collection (they have a store in Cluny Court!)

Heels by The Tui Collection

Bag by Desti Saint