Elyn’s lack of formal training in the industry didn’t deter her from pursuing her passion. Initially self-consciousness about her inexperience in fashion has morphed into artistic liberation 13 years on. Inspired by architecture and minimalism, STOLEN endeavours to create timeless, elegant pieces that aren’t influenced by trends.
Popspoken: How did you get into your current line of work?
I did a major career switch from being a Creative Director in advertising to starting my own fashion business. It started out with me finding another creative outlet to validate my insecurities. After 16 years, my passion project has turned into a new career. Everything is self-taught.
Popspoken: How does a normal day look like?
Dealing with 3-5 brand new challenges every day. None of them are expected. Every day is a surprise. Some more pleasant than others. Some days end with me feeling like a rock star, some days end with me looking like a prisoner of war. But it never fails to surprise me how much I can achieve as an individual and how much running a business makes me a much better human being every day.
Popspoken: What are the top 3 apps you use in your creative work?
Instagram, Spotify and Wunderlist.
Popspoken: What is the biggest challenge you face as a creative in Singapore?
I don’t think it will be any different with me being anywhere else, besides Singapore.
The challenge remains how to cut through the cluttered and overloaded information environment to get to our target audience; and how not to succumb to social media blindly, allowing us to stay relevant while keeping to our brand’s creative integrity.
Popspoken: What is your biggest creative pet peeve?
Creatives succumbing to mindless social media attention. And idea stealing with zero modification.
Popspoken: Do you have any advice for aspiring creatives?
You need to build up a very positive mindset because creativity constantly eats into your self-worth. And creativity is worthless if it doesn’t work or sell.
Popspoken: Where do you go and what do you do for inspiration?
I like to be close to nature. I need to be amongst trees quite regularly. It rejuvenates me mentally. I look at art and architecture, because these are the things that excite me the most. I always believe whatever that excites will ignite.
Popspoken: Favourite travel destination and why.
Too many to name a favourite. But Bhutan is the one place that turned my life around.
My trip to Bhutan inspired me so much that I decided to base my upcoming collection on my trip there 2.5 years ago. Bhutan is not the most beautiful place that I have been to, but it has a very magical effect that allows you to sense a certain contentment and joy inside that is more beautiful than a gorgeous view.
I felt like a new person after the trip. It’s a place I feel everyone should visit once in their life.
Popspoken: What have you worked on that you’re most proud of?
Probably my latest art project commissioned by Wallpaper magazine London, in collaboration with German company Villeroy & Boch. It’s a conceptual installation piece which was showcased at Milan Design Week last year.
It’s a project that completely pushed STOLEN and all our collaborators outside of our comfort zones.
We created Meridien Mettlach, an Asian reflexology path using old German tile designs that were used in cathedrals and churches 400 years ago. It allowed both mine and their businesses to break out of our usual boundaries and experiment with something different. It felt extremely satisfying to be working across different continents, time zones and cultures.
It wasn’t the easiest project but certainly the most rewarding, especially so when our hybrid business can be appreciated and celebrated on a world stage like Milan Design Week.
Popspoken: How do you approach getting stakeholders on board?
By being unique. By being authentic. And by being focused on delivering exactly what we promise.
Popspoken: Is there anything you want to promote?
We are launching our new collection ZHIWA which is actually inspired by my trip to Bhutan. The collection will debut on 5th July with a fashion presentation put together by a carefully curated group of collaborators. Like our previous “Concur” fashion presentation, ZHIWA will be unconventional and unlike a regular runway show and we’ll be drawing influence from performance art and physical theatre, in keeping with the STOLEN brand.
I hope to recreate my entire journey to Bhutan in my show space, and allow my audience to see, feel, smell, taste and hear the Bhutan that I experienced. So in my collection, I’m using colours that I saw in Bhutan, shapes and forms that pay respect to the land of Bhutan, and crafts and textures that pay homage to the devotion of the Bhutanese.
It will be an interesting experience for my fans and followers to feel the collection before wearing it.
Popspoken: Where can people find you?
STOLEN Atelier: Straits Clan, 31 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089845 (by appointment only)
Editor’s note: Her new Atelier is now at Far East Shopping Centre, 545 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238882 (By appointment only)
Popspoken: How would you like to be remembered?
As someone that sees possibility in everything.