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Making Fashion International: 8 Questions With The Designers Of Xinnatex New York

Shop the brand’s collection now at SocietyA

Photos: Xinnatex New York

Living in perpetually-summer Singapore, the fashion season that gets us really excited is the Spring/Summer season. Local multi-label retailer SocietyA recently launched their Spring/Summer 2019 range, brimming with florals and bright colours. As we browse the range in the store, one of the collections that caught our eye is that by women’s wear brand Xinnatex New York. Less flowery than the other brands, but no less cheery in their soft textures and shades, the pieces by Xinnatex are excellent for today’s working women seeking a look that balances feminine chic and casual.

Established in 2010 in New York City, Xinnatex is now led by two head designers: founder Jin Hsu, and Joey Lee (who joined Jin in 2014). At the core of their designs is modern innovation that challenges conventions and yet can be worn daily for all kinds of occasions. Keeping their colours and patterns and simple, Xinnatex surprises with their details – think an oversized pleated collared shirt; or a skirt with box pleats at the front, and the side fanning out to reveal narrower accordion pleats.

In addition to being featured in several fashion retailers and magazines around the world, Xinnatex has also had their designs showcased at prominent fashion shows including Shanghai Fashion Week. The designers, both of whom hail from Taiwan, are committed to taking the brand far, into Asia and beyond. Singapore is an obvious choice to do a collaboration, because it is their favourite city in Asia! This is the third time that Xinnatex is working with SocietyA in Singapore, and you can now shop their new collection in-store at SocietyA’s Ngee Ann City outlet, and online.

We sat down with Jin and Joey to learn more about their up-and-coming global brand. In the following interview, they share their personal style, their love for Singapore, and some thoughtful advice for aspiring fashion designers.

Photos from Shanghai Fashion Week (L to R: Jin Hsu and Joey Lee)

1. Can you briefly introduce Xinnatex New York to Singaporeans who may not be familiar with it?

Jin Hsu: Xinnatex was established in 2010 in New York City after I graduated from Parsons School of Design, and Joey joined as a designer after she interned at Jason Wu in 2015. We wanted to create young, useful, fun, versatile workwear for the modern women.

2. Can you please share with us why you chose to collaborate with SocietyA?

Jin Hsu: The image of SocietyA is young, dedicated and international, and that’s also how we want people to see our brand: young, international, with a dedicated collection. Singapore is our favourite city in Asia, we love the people and we love the life here. And we believe in the market.

3. What are the future plans for Xinnatex New York?

JH: We want to collaborate with more international bloggers and artists. And possibly put on a runway show in Shanghai for our next collection.

4. What does fashion mean to you?

JH: Fashion is my job, so it’s fun and painful. I have to be fully involved in this, otherwise I cannot survive in this industry.

Joey Lee: Fashion to me is a combination of the trends and the commercial – you just need to find the balance in between. Trends reflect the demands of the customers, and it provides new solutions and choices for women’s workwear.

5. Personally, what type of clothes do you like to wear?

JH: I’m more of a black-and-white person. I like to keep it simple.

JL: I’m more casual and boyish, more into clothes that suit every occasion. Usually I like to put on clothes in similar tones but different materials.

6. You mentioned that you like Singapore a lot – what are some of your impressions of our Garden City?

JH: I think the city is just refreshing. When you arrive at the airport and see the planes, and go through the customs – there’s a very futuristic monitor, so you are curious what you will see next. You have the trees and you have a road from the airport to the city, where you see the water and the trees. And then you have the Gardens by the Bay. That’s stunning. So I like the city; because the green makes you happy.

JL: The most important thing is the food. I like food with strong tastes, and fusion food.

JH: Yes, this is the city of fusion food.

7. Singapore’s weather is very hot throughout the year, so we like to dress casually and comfortably, most of the time in short sleeves, shorts and flip flops. Do you have any tips you can share for how we can dress casually yet look stylish in such hot weather?

JH: Come to SocietyA to find the colour you like, and pair a few items similar in colour. I think white bottoms look very stylish and refreshed. I think the big trend right now is one colour head to toe. And sunglasses are a must-have.

JL: I think you should pick one dress in a vibrant colour to pair with vacation-looking accessories. Also, heeled sandals and purse in modern shape.

8. There are many young people these days who want to become a successful fashion designer like you, but we know that it is not easy in this competitive climate. As a veteran designer, what words of advice and encouragement do you have for young aspiring designers?

JH: You need to work hard. There’s no alternative. And you have to be passionate about what you are doing, otherwise you can’t stand this kind of tough job, because this is a very tough job. You have to find it playful, no matter what obstacles come your way.

JL: I feel that the main thing is to have more of a personal sense of what is beautiful, and also be market-oriented at the same time. You need to be clear of your position in the market, know your customers, how customers value clothes. Creative design and the market are two very different things, so if you don’t plan your business properly, you are likely to fail.