Undoing The Seams Of Conformity

5 Minutes With Shaun Versace

By Prahbu Silvam

It isn’t hard to pick Shaun Versace out of a crowd. Fiery moniker and heretical hairdo aside, Shaun’s fashion intuit– a self-brewed concoction of high-octane glamour and contemporary styling  has turned enough heads to garner him styling gigs at French Couture Week, Japan Couture Evening and Women’s Fashion Week 2012.

Paired with a tongueful of wit and unbridled honesty, Shaun’s brand of searing directness is a welcomed breath of fresh air amidst the pretentious echelons of fashion. We sit down with L’Enfant terrible of local fashion to find out more about the man behind the seams.

What sets you apart from the rest?

I’ve been in the fashion field for over 6 years now and as such, follow runways and not seasonal trends; I set my own trends instead. My views on fashion are deviant and generally goes against the norm. Style is individualistic, and its definition alters from person to person. I fully adore the idea of androgynous fashion, in fact its an integral part of my dressing style. Looking glamourous is always nice, but being unique and true to oneself is essential. I want people to realize that in the current day, you can actually stand out from the crowd and look fabulous doing it at the same time. Style is no longer an elitist.

On the topic of androgynous fashion, how receptive are people of your style.

Its part of who I am as a person and not exactly something I forcefully strive to work towards to  so people are more than ok with the way I dress. This is a brutal industry and I’ve grown to realize that being myself and speaking my mind gives me the confidence I need to pull off anything that I wear. I prefer “the road less travelled” when it comes to fashion and styling. If I was given something that most find comfort in wearing, like a round-neck cotton t-shirt for example, I’d find of ways to tweak and make it my own. That makes it “me”.

Do Singaporeans have a sense of originality or are we easily humbled by popular culture ?

Definitely. I think we have our own version of being original which is very unique from anything else I’ve come across. I’ve seen people dressed very casually from head to toe in monochromatic colors carrying a striking red bag – so they know what’s a pop-up color, they’re in the now of what’s going on in magazines, on the runway but they tweak it to fit themselves, which is very brave. They know exactly how to pull it off. Well, at least some do.

So what’s it like working with big name designers from all across the globe.

Its truly humbling because I’ve met stylists almost twice my age who haven’t had the chance to work alongside international labels. So for me it’s a gift really. And it’s a learning process on an entirely different scale – there’s literally no room for error and nobody to spoon-feed you so it pushes you to give your best and never look back. The adrenaline that comes with styling in such major scenes is a combination of two contradicting emotions; it builds fear for error, and yet make fearless decisions in its short span of time.

And your message for aspiring local designers would be…

Don’t ever be ashamed to be different; to be your true self. Local designers are on par and on many instances better than people in the international scene. But there’s still this sense of holding back that I’ve noticed over the years – mainly because of the commercial viability of their designs. Keep the profits as the secondary goal, and focus on the soul of the design. My theory is simple – design something that’s true, unpretentious and unique and the crowds will come in on their own. Fashion is a lifestyle. Stretch your creativity to the extreme, make fashion faux pas, be different, be unique, be who you really are. Be fabulous.