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Editor’s Letter: In Celebration of Singapore

By Renée Batchelor

Stefan KhooLeft, clockwise from top left: Singaporean models Nicole Liew, Aaron Lim, Spencer Lee and Noelle Woon. Right: Singaporean transgender model Andrea Razali.

August is traditionally seen as a time to celebrate all things Singapore, seeing as it is the month when the country marks our National Day. This month for our “Men’s Fashion” issue we put not just men but women, as well as a transgender model, on our cover, all wearing the Fear of God exclusively for Ermenegildo Zegna collection. The collection, co-created by Zegna’s Alessandro Sartori and Fear of God’s Jerry Lorenzo, embodies the modern, gender-neutral spirit of today and is meant to be worn, experienced and enjoyed by everyone. 

On the cover are a diverse group of Singapore-based models who represent the daring and determination needed to succeed in the modelling industry today. Read all about how the industry has evolved in our cover story, including how there is now more room for ethnic diversity and even a safer space for models, when it comes to issues of mental and physical health. See also how this group of models’ infectious energy and youthful spirit has enlivened the Fall/Winter season’s best looks in our accompanying fashion spread.



In the August issue of T Singapore, we celebrate the dynamic, diverse culture that defines us as a nation — from our cover story that spotlights the new faces who continue to put Singapore on fashion’s map, to the artists and creatives who have contributed to the development and evolution of the artistic scene here. . Director: @stefankhoo Editor-in-Chief: @jumiuswong Creative Director: @jackwangg Styling: @ojnjenine @michellekjt Hair: @kenhong.sg @ro_yson_ @xxaalynellyxx Makeup: @manisatan @jiayulau @yzw95 Models: @toddnoeii @skirts9 @aaronlimtf @mannequinstudio, @srrirammm @now_model_management, @nicxliew @laylaong @basicmodels, @andrearazali @upfrontmodels, @mikelimhy @avemanagement, @ilhanfa Video Editor: @k4therinea Wardrobe: Fear of God exclusively for Ermenegildo Zegna @fearofgod @jerrylorenzo @zegnaofficial @alessandrosartoriofficial . #tsingapore #tsingaporeaugust2020

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We also pay tribute to the artists and creatives who have contributed to the development and evolution of the artistic scene here. Throughout the month of August, we have planned a digital series for these individual profiles, that allow you to see exclusive and behind-the-scenes images of their respective workspaces.

The Pioneers are five artists who have left their indelible footprint on the arts scene. Read about how master potter Iskandar Jalil, performance artist Amanda Heng, sculptor Kumari Nahappan, designer Thomas Wee and graphic artist Theseus Chan look back on their own careers as they make sense of their place in the annals of Singapore history and look to the future. 



At 80, Singaporean master potter Iskandar Jalil isn’t done just yet. Every morning without fail, he puts his helmet on, pushes his motorcycle out the gate of his house and rides it to his workshop. For more than 60 years now, Iskandar has only and consistently dealt with one medium: clay. “The way of the pot, of pottery is a long arduous journey — only the hardy can take it and can endure,” he says. “There are no short cuts.” Today, the artist continues to create vessels that adhere to his poetic wabi-sabi philosophy and that reflect his Singapore-Malay identity, while also mentoring the nation’s next generation of creatives. Among his past cohorts of apprentices are the likes of the potter Jeanette Wee (@jean__adrienne), the filmmaker Royston Tan (@filmr) and the painter Ruben Pang (@rubenpang). “I always see myself as a teacher first and then a potter. It’s in my blood,” says Iskandar. . Read the full story in the link in bio. . Photographs by @rosalynntay . #tsingapore #iskandarjalil #artist #singaporeart #singaporeanartist #culture #pottery

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Photographing these talents is Rosalynn Tay, a former newspaper editor who herself made a career switch into photography. Taking an almost documentarian approach, Tay, who is personally acquainted with some of her subjects, shot them in their spaces of work, and conversed at length with each of them to capture the essence of their individual spirits. She also shot The Visionaries another group of creatives from the realms of theatre, film, music and art, who have carved their own paths in a city that often overlooks the important contribution of artists.



Paying special tribute in the month of August, we look at the creative vanguard who are shaping the future of Singapore’s arts scene as technology and social media drive a new generation incubator model. To inspire the world anew, young artists are taking leaps into alternative creative spaces. “My dream project would be to build a home from scratch as an art piece, and make every piece of its interior by hand,” says woodworker Liew Yuhua (@secretlifeoftrees_). Elsewhere, tattoo artist Maxine Ng (@maxinengps) shares, “my artistic direction is focused on making people feel that they are comfortable and confident in their own skin, giving them a sense of identity through permanency.” Bearing one of her most visually prominent tattoos on her neck, Ng, together with four other new generation creatives, are making bold existential gestures that declare, “this is who I want to be.” . Read the full story in the link in bio. . Photographer: @gregorywoo Styling: @michellekjt Hair: @christvian @arxsalon Makeup: @weeeeming using @shuuemura Subjects: @khairullahrahim @pdia___ @maxinengps @secretlifeoftrees_ @rubenpang . #tsingapore #tsingaporeaugust2020 #artist #singaporeanartist #culture #singapore #professionaltattooartist

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Finally, we look to the future with The Vanguard: a group of young, passionate individuals who occupy alternative creative spaces in fields as diverse as visual arts, tattooing and furniture-making. Find out why they have chosen to pursue their respective callings and learn about the challenges they face in the current landscape, especially with regards to the Singapore society’s limited and sometimes restrictive views on what an artist is and even the purpose of art in today’s context. Despite these challenges, find out how and why they are working steadfastly to overcome them.

There is much to be learnt by examining our past, embracing our present and looking to our future selves, and we hope that you enjoy reading this issue, which has been a labour of love from the T Singapore team.

T Singapore’s August “Men’s Fashion” issue is now out on newsstands and bookstores. The full digital copy can be purchased here.