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52 Weeks of #ExcitingSG: Week 22 with Furqan Saini

Furqan Saini
Furqan Saini

Welcome to Time Out Singapore's 52 Weeks of #ExcitingSG – our commitment to showing you the best of what's going on in the city this week. Every Monday, a guest writer who's "in" with the scene shares a recommendation on what to see, eat, do or buy in the city. This week, we chat with renowned stylist and fashion director Furqan Saini.

What gets you excited about Singapore?
Singapore's such a small city yet I still find pockets of places that I still feel excited over. I get pretty riled up when people tell me there's not much to do in the city. I personally feel there's plenty. The good part about living in Singapore is that everything's accessible within 45 minutes by car. I love that on a Saturday morning, I can get up really early and hop on the bumboats before sunrise to hit the trails in Pulau Ubin and check out a wet market for fresh and cheap produce where the rempah auntie will whip up a fish curry spice mix for me right after. Then, hit a great new cafe that's just opened in Tiong Bahru (or any other hipster enclave), go for an aerial yoga class and wind my day down at the Projector for an art house movie.

Tell us a bit about what you do.
I create images. I work with different magazines and photographers to create a visual tale. I also work with different fashion brands and malls on consultancies, and am a part-time lecturer at Lasalle College of the Arts.

Tips for styling in hot and humid Singapore?
Nothing gets me more than the triple S – singlets, shorts and slippers. It’s ok to dress down for the beach but using the weather as an excuse to underdress is just rude. Take the example of people in Bangkok. They have similar weather to us yet manage to dress up more. I think it’s important to be comfortable without being sloppy. Light layers are always a plus.

What's your personal style and how do you incorporate it in your styling?
I dress pretty simple now. Being a little bit older and having amassed quite an extensive wardrobe, I've actually learnt to pare down my wardrobe and keep to buying two designers that fit my current aesthetic, Raf Simons and Craig Green. When I work on creating fashion images or styling people, I put myself out of the equation. A wise old editrix of mine once said to me, "Always keep the client in mind. It’s not about you, it’s about the person you're styling."

Thoughts on the fashion scene in Singapore? What can be done for us to catch up to the likes of Milan, New York, Paris and London?
I think the younger generation isn't one to sit on their own laurels. Many of them are active on social media channels creating opportunities for themselves. I personally feel we are in a state of flux right now. I think that there's quite a lot of support but it can be targeted more. There are so many disparate initiatives out there supporting the New Gen. I think we also need to understand and grasp who we are culturally. Our neighbouring countries have very strong identities, we just need to find ours.

Lastly, if you could style anyone in the world (dead or alive), who would it be?
I love Alain Delon and would love to hang out with him because he is the epitome of chic. I would actually love to work with Andy Warhol and his Factory Superstars – think people like Ultra Violet, Candy Darling, Ingrid Superstar, Jean-Michel Basquait and Edie Sedgwick amongst others. From everything I've read, there were no limits for them, including sexual radicalism, hedonistic nights at Studio 54 and free-form movie-making.

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