Tuesday, July 3, 2012

JOHN TAN: Exclusive Interview

By Eva Fydrych

Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. - Coco Chanel

Photo by John Tan

The Fashionable Streets

Singapore's fashion scene is developing into a real hub of activity. There are so many talented fashion designers, stylists and photographers, that it is only a matter of time when they reach international status and recognition.

"There is an incredible amount of talent and creativity here in Asia. There is no reason why the next hub of fashion shouldn't be Asia." - says Odile Benjamin, co-creative director of Raoul. "It's still a very young fashion scene but give it a couple more years, it's growing very fast and the growth is tremendous. It's very interesting to see." - adds Suraj Melwani, co-designer of the menswear brand Sifr.

Fashion Studio Magazine asked an emerging street photographer, John Tan, a couple of questions about the local fashion scene, street photography, and the best shopping spots in the city. If you have more questions for John, please leave a comment below!


Occupation: Street Fashion Photographer
City: Singapore

Singaporean photographer John Tan (Photo courtesy of J.Tan)

FASHION STUDIO: When did you start photography? 

JOHN: I started photography a year ago, while I was still serving in the army.

FASHION STUDIO: How did you get interested in street fashion?

JOHN: From the start, I was interested in street photography - trying to capture the interesting bits of life in Singapore. I brought my camera out everyday, stopping strangers from all walks of life; as long as they looked and felt interesting to me. Eventually, I discovered a unique fashion scene in Singapore; a side that even Singaporeans aren't aware of. From then, I just decided that I wanted to highlight the local fashion scene.

Parco next NEXT: Providing a platform and nurturing young fashion talent.

FASHION STUDIO: What is the most effective way to approach people in the street? 

JOHN: I guess you just have to be friendly and be direct about it. Don't beat around the bush. Usually I just introduce myself and ask for a photograph!

FASHION STUDIO: What photography equipment do you use?

JOHN: I use a DSLR and, depending on my mood, I alternate between a prime lens and a zoom lens with a fixed aperture.

FASHION STUDIO: What are the main challenges of street fashion photography? 

JOHN: I guess the biggest challenge for me is finding a subject to take photos of. Otherwise, I always find myself searching for a suitable background for my subject. 

Street fashion, Singapore (Photo by John Tan)

FASHION STUDIO: How would you define fashion? What is unique about fashion in Singapore? 

JOHN: Fashion is a way of expressing yourself. We have no seasons in Singapore, it's hot and humid. 

FASHION STUDIO: Best shopping spots in the city...

JOHN: Personally, I find Haji Lane, Ann Siang Hill and Parco next NEXT good places to shop at. The majority of shopping malls are located at Orchard Road. 

The shophouses on Ann Siang Hill, the tallest geographic point in Chinatown
(Photo courtesy of PaperTastebuds.com)

FASHION STUDIO: What is the most stylish place in Singapore?

JOHN: If it's the place with the most stylish people I guess I'd have to say Orchard Road, especially on weekends.

FASHION STUDIO: Who is you favourite clothing designer and why?

JOHN: Marni, for their choice of bright colours and bold graphic patterns. 

FASHION STUDIO: Who is your style icon?

JOHN: Brad Goreski!

Brad Goreski, Canadian fashion stylist based in Los Angeles (Photo courtesy of Zimbio)

FASHION STUDIO: What are your future plans? Where do you see yourself in a couple of years time?

JOHN: I will be going to university in August. I'm planning to study part-time and do street fashion full-time :) I hope that I will still be able to do what I'm doing now (street fashion photography) five years from now.

FASHION STUDIO: Thank you for your time and good luck with all your plans!

See Singaporean style captured by John Tan: STREET FASHION

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