Did you ever imagine doing this?
I've definitely dreamt of doing something like this. So, the fact that I was given the opportunity, and am actually making it happen, still creeps up on me some days and I find myself in awe of the task at hand.
Jon Max Goh (left) and Jo Soh, Programme Director of
The Bridge Fashion Incubator.
How has it been like working with the rest of your team?
Working alongside Jo (Jo Soh, Programme Director), Semun (Semun Ho, CEO, TaFF) and Debra Langley (Resident mentor) has been a blessing.
Each of these amazing women brings a wealth of experience from differing yet complementary industries and I have nothing but respect for each of them.
With Jo in particular, it's been great working with another designer who has seen more years in the industry than me, but with the same vision that there can and has to be a better way of running the fashion business – and that's what we're championing here at The Bridge Fashion Incubator.
Has it been tough?
It's a startup, all right! It's times like these you're thankful they prepare you well in design school to be able to do everything under the sun, even when the sun has gone down. We're talking about responding to emails at midnight on a Sunday, because that's the only time you have to write an email, haha!
What drives you despite these challenges?
I get to be part of a pioneering team working on a frontier project to harness a new generation of fashion businesses that will hopefully spur a wave of growth and innovation for our industry in the years to come, right here on home ground Singapore.
It’s been surreal: a fashion designer like me shaking hands with venture capitalists, conversing with the top executives of internationally renowned companies, and sparring with founders and entrepreneurs who have run billion-dollar companies.
I am learning and growing every day with this job, and I really am excited about the brands that are going to be incubated with us.
Any unexpected challenges so far?
I'll be candid to say – sponsors and funding. Unlike in Europe and North America, where fashion conglomerates are banding together to put money towards driving innovation and change for the industry, it has been a bit harder to garner that support in Singapore.
We're still actively looking for our version of LVMH, Kering, C&A Foundation or H&M Foundation to step forward in response to this call for better fashion businesses – but I am hopeful we will get there in due time.
What are your hopes for the incubator programme?
"Dare to dream about a world that has not existed, and design for that world." It's a personal quote of mine and I still stand by it.
I hope this incubator programme will really spotlight and catapult fashion entrepreneurs and related startups into Singapore's and the region's spotlight. In return, I hope they will encourage others to challenge what they understand and do better through new ideas and radical concepts.
One day we can all look back and laugh and say, "Wow! Isn't it crazy to think we even thought that those ideas were crazy to begin with?"