We chat to Sassy Super Styler, Savina Chai, an incredible stylist, photographer and creative director of Eight Slate!
Between her impeccably perfect Instagram feed and stunning studio space that looks straight out of an interior decor magazine, Savina Chai is the type of girl that we all want to be friends with – and it’s not just because she has a enviable wardrobe. Great style aside, Savina is a passionate creative director of one of the coolest fashion labels in town and believe us when we say – her styling, photography and art direction has it all in spades. We find ourselves inspired by her sartorial prowess, wicked photo-editing skills and classic aesthetic and sat down with this sassy lass to discuss her business, personal style and hobbies. This fashionable #girlboss’s fresh POV will make you want to take a walk in her shoes.
Tell us a little bit more about yourself and what sparked off your interest in fashion?
I’m the Creative Director of my fashion label, Eight Slate, a stylist and photographer. But above everything else, a full-time rebel! It has always been a goal of mine since I was 12 to start my own fashion business and I decided to take a risk upon graduating with my diploma. I told myself when I started my business; you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
What does a typical workday for you look like?
I start my day at 8am, with a daily schedule. Strictly no snoozing! I’ll prepare breakfast, check emails, shoot blog campaigns or Instagram adverts. Then I’ll spend about 45 minutes at the gym with Pilates, go for lunch and then head down to my studio office. After which, photo edits are done in the evening, I’ll check my emails again, go for dinner and then back to work from home till about 2am.
What inspires you and how do you keep coming up with designs for your label?
I am constantly getting inspired by everything around me — my creative friends, social media, films, music and successful women. I also feel that tt is important to constantly engage my creativity to keep thinking and coming up with new designs and marketing campaigns to grow the label. Most of all, my passion fuels my creativity, and vice versa.
Can you share with us a tip on how to take beautiful images for IG (because your photo feed is obviously to-die-for!)?
Awww thank you! I always believe that shooting in natural lighting works best, and also, tone down on the filters! And practice, practice, practice.
What kind of woman wears your clothes?
A woman that is fearless, and not afraid of pushing boundaries. She’s also someone that is confident in her own skin and expresses herself through her fashion choices. Clothing is after all, just an outer mask; style is about an attitude and a representation of your personality.
What is a must-have piece from your collection?
A must-have piece is the LEWIS double-breasted gold blazer. Taking a cue from my menswear-inspired wardrobe, I wanted to design a piece that is a chic take on women’s tailoring. This can be styled just by itself with dress shorts or over a casual tee.
We realised that you’re a huge monochrome lover when it comes to your ensembles. Why do you gravitate towards blacks and whites?
It is easier to start the label with a monochromatic palette first due to a small capital. And from there, this monochromatic palette grew to become our signature style. And my personal style gravitated towards blacks and whites gradually too. I actually do wear a lot of navys, greys, blues and neutral tones.
Who’s your favourite designer and why?
It’s between Phoebe Philo and Victoria Beckham. These successful women are game-changers and mavens at redefining what strong and capable women aspire to wear. Above it all, they’re mothers, wives, bosses and entrepreneurs. This shows that there is no limit to what women can do and achieve.
What are three items that all women must have in their wardrobes?
A double-breasted black blazer, a white tee and a good pair of vintage denim sorts.
What do you love most about Singapore?
I’m grateful about the fact that I am comfortably working from home without a worry, as my grandfather is entrusted in the capable hands of dedicated doctors and nurses at SGH. It wouldn’t be possible without our efficient public healthcare system.
What’s your favourite thing to do on the weekend?
My favourite thing to do on a weekend is to check into my studio office and blast good tunes out loud, knowing that the whole building is empty. And churn out creative ideas and think, when my crew is not around.
Do you have any advice for young girls who’d like to start their own label?
Go out and work with 110% effort. Always initiate, no matter what job you do. It is always the job that works you the hardest that teaches you the most. Through secondary school, I’ve waitressed, worked in telecommunications, served at fast food joints. All that experience has taught me how to troubleshoot quickly and handle customers well. Also, get as much work experience outside of the fashion industry!
Thanks for the insights Savina! Follow Savina on Instagram @savinachaiyj or visit her blog where she chronicles her outfits and style inspirations, here. Check out her awesome label too at Eight Slate!