THE GEN-Y ALT-GIRLS

Female (Singapore) - - F-EDIT -

Any­one vaguely into the lo­cal fash­ion and party scene will recog­nise Hao – DJ, de­signer, and a mem­ber of our very own Fe­male Col­lec­tive. The 27-year-old is the con­sum­mate multi-hy­phen­ate, di­ver­si­fy­ing her in­ter­ests more re­cently to in­clude gardening, and push­ing for a more sus­tain­able ap­proach to­wards fash­ion. Like­wise, pho­tog­ra­pher and vis­ual artist Caine is big on so­cial is­sues such as fem­i­nism and in­de­pen­dence, both key themes that run through her work that in­cludes vis­ual es­says on “in­trigu­ing in­di­vid­u­als” such as a taxi driver who moon­lights as an opera star. Com­plet­ing the group is Yip, who de­scribes her­self as a graphic de­signer by day and – as the most “emo­tion­ally bal­anced per­son” in the group – the cre­ative ful­crum be­tween Hao and Caine by night.

Since 2015, the trio have been work­ing jointly as the multi-dis­ci­plinary col­lec­tive Com­mon Cul­ture with the goal of “ex­am­in­ing and em­body­ing the cul­ture of the com­mon man”. Projects range from cre­at­ing images for brands such as Charles & Keith and the chi­nois­erie-in­spired Chi Chi Von Tang, to pop par­ties all lensed through their arty, ’90s club kid-in­flu­enced eye. For a taste, scroll through their In­sta­gram feed (@com­mon_­cul­ture), which throbs with a sat­u­rated Wong Kar-wai-es­que colour pal­ette and DIY party vibes.

The aes­thetic is of lit­tle sur­prise con­sid­er­ing that all three used to hang out at the un­der­ground joint Home Club – now bet­ter known as Can­vas – as “teenage rebels”. It was also the venue of their first of­fi­cial show­case party held mid last month. In true in­die spirit, Hao says of it during our in­ter­view: “We want our friends to come not ex­pect­ing a big, suc­cess­ful event, but to sim­ply ex­pe­ri­ence our world, let loose and have fun.”

How the friend­ship first started

GY: “We’ve all pretty much known each other since we were kids. Linda and I met through com­mon friends and haven’t looked back since. I met Marisse at a New Year’s party when we were 17. If I re­mem­ber cor­rectly, we clicked talk­ing about a guy who was danc­ing shirt­less at that party.”

MC: “I al­ways thought Linda was cool, but never thought we’d have com­mon in­ter­ests even though we were in the same group of friends for al­most seven years. But one day, at a friend’s birthday party, we bonded over fried chicken and a sim­i­lar sense of hu­mour. I ap­proached her after that to pho­to­graph her for a Lo­mog­ra­phy cam­paign that cel­e­brated stylish, re­bel­lious women, and the rest is his­tory.”

On their cre­ative chem­istry

GY: “I like to think of the three of us as be­ing on a see-saw, with Linda and Marisse mak­ing up the kids on the two ends, con­stantly bounc­ing up and down (with dif­fer­ent ideas) while I’m the calm ful­crum in the mid­dle that keeps them from fly­ing off... That’s turned out pretty well for our friend­ship and projects in gen­eral be­cause, in both cases, you need a lit­tle bit of crazy and calm.”

Their cre­ative vi­sion

LH: “We pro­duce things mostly for joy and the fun in the en­tire cre­ative process, so our work tends to re­flect that a lot... I also think what sets us apart is that we don’t cre­ate things for our­selves – we like to share it with peo­ple. Ul­ti­mately what we truly want to do is to cre­ate art, gather peo­ple and en­joy our­selves.” MC: “We love to have fun and be happy.”

Dream col­lab­o­ra­tion

GY: “(Al­ways) a good party be­cause that’s where all our (in­di­vid­ual) strengths lie – event plan­ning and mu­sic.”

MC: “A fes­ti­val.”

From left: MarisSe Caine (MC), Linda Hao (LH) and Genevieve Yip (GY) Pho­tog­ra­phy Vee Chin Styling Im­ran Jalal Hair & Makeup Bene­dict Choo, us­ing Make Up For Ever Clothes Their own

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