Status: In a Relationship


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Casting for Fukuoka Asia Collection (FACo) Singapore

In May, I got to play casting director at Fukuoka Asia Collection (FACo)‘s fashion show in Singapore: The client wanted a lineup of local girls who fit the “natural and cute, but cool” aesthetic, and these are the girls who were selected for the show!

If you’re familiar with Tokyo Girls Collection, think of FACo as the Fukuoka edition. The show was a part of Blueprint this year, and I heard that the show was broadcasted on Fukuoka TV as well.

A year ago, I shared my thoughts on the type of models that Japan (or at least Tokyo) favours, so if you’re interested, this post might provide a little insight into the selection process.

I couldn’t resist snapping portraits of the girls backstage, and of course I decided that the best time to photograph them would be just a couple of minutes before they were due on the runway.

(By the way, the last portrait is of Kelly, who isn’t one of the models, but our super kickass translator slash mamasan!)

In other news, I’m so thrilled I got my hands on the domain!!

Plans are underway for a studio/office space this November, so I’m juggling a couple of jobs + projects and saving up to make it happen! In the meantime, I’m holding my breath for a couple of editorials that will hit magazine stands in the coming months. Exciting times!


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Review: Aide de Camp Camera Bags

I’ve been carrying a tiny handbag to photoshoots lately (to the initial horror of clients who probably thought I left my camera at home), and raving about my new Aide de Camp bag to anyone who’d listen.

Aide de Camp (ADC) is a newly launched brand from Singapore, and their first collection features smart premium camera bags in sleek silhouettes for practical living. All in black, the collection represents the little black dress of camera bags – a stylish staple that matches everything.

The brand’s aspirations are rooted in the role of the ‘aide-de-camp’ – French for camp assistant, the personal aide to a high ranking official. I love how the name brings to mind a tiny assistant, Pixar-style, diligently toting your items around.

It’s so hard to find a camera bag that’s designed with the modern-day female photographer in mind, and it’s a topic I’ve been vocal about since as early as 2010.

So imagine my excitement when I was first roped onboard the project as Aide de Camp’s lookbook photographer – leather bags with gold-plated hardware that actually LOOKED good? Insane. I felt like this guy.

Without further ado, let me explain to you why Aide de Camp is my new favourite camera bag brand.

The ADC bag packaging is prepared with such care and dedication – wish I had more photos to do justice to how unwrapping and unveiling the bag felt!


Lightweight, Practical & Functional

I’m really impressed by the intelligent design of the bags. While the exterior of my Rei bag may look deceptively like a typical lux handbag for women, it features a premium nylon body and minimum hardware, so it’s a lot lighter than a full-leather (or even faux leather) handbag.

Carrying a Canon 5Dmk2 around on one shoulder can really take its toll after awhile, so my shoulders were relieved to find that the additional weight didn’t amount to much, even after a long day.

Plus, the shoulder handles, which look like classic piped handles, are discreetly padded with a neoprene centre for extra comfort! It’s a design that’s exclusive to ADC bags, I believe. They are so comfortable and the weight is so well-distributed. Italics completely necessary. And in case you’re wondering, the straps look like classic leather handles to everyone else!

The bags all come with a camera padding box that’s detachable, so I regularly bring it out, sans the boxes, as an everyday companion. I recently discovered that the boxes can be folded flat as well – definitely a convenient function for maximising usage of the bag on travels.

Did I also mention that the bags are water-resistant?


Size: Compact yet Spacious

The Rei bag may be the smallest bag in the ADC line of camera bags, but it can fit most of my gear! And my hardcover library book. Here’s photographic evidence:

I’m using the Mk2 to take this photo, so I used Drea’s Nikon to illustrate what I mean instead. But that compartment fits my Mk2 mounted with a 50mm comfortably! The other compartment is keeping my 85mm secure.

Rei’s a fantastic size. It’s small and compact enough to feel handy, yet spacious enough for my needs – which quite honestly, came as a surprise. I like that the bag is well-compartmentalised, and I never have to worry about scratching my gear like I do with my other camera bags.

Here’s a cute video ADC came up with to showcase how much you can fit into a Rei bag …and I can attest that the bag actually fits way more.


The Design: Great To Look At + Fantastic Quality

The bag may score off the charts in terms of practicality, but what I love the most about these bags is how they effortlessly double up as a stylish everyday companion.

It may sound like a superficial concern, but as a photographer working in the fashion industry, there’s plenty of events (work or otherwise) to attend and I don’t always have the time to go home and switch to a bag more suitable for a glitzy occasion. It’s usually worse when I’m expected to document the event – I may be appropriately dressed, but my backpack definitely is not.

The ADC bags look really good, and that’s something so many other brands have been unable to produce without compromising the bag’s functionality. (Can I just redirect your attention to this post for a second? )

I love that the bag uses genuine leather, and with 14k gold plated hardware, I feel assured about the quality of the bag, and how long it’s going to last.


To find out more…

Aide de Camp bags are available on the ADC website, as well as Cumulus and John 3:16 if you want to see and feel for yourself how amazing they are in person! The design featured in this review is Rei, which is retailing online at 349 SGD. You can view the full list of retailers here.

Full disclosure: I received the bag as a thank you gift after the photoshoot, and this review was done out of goodwill and genuine love for the designs ♥

P.S. I first met the brains behind the operation, Michele (that’s a single L, guys), on a job shortly before she started designing these killer camera bags for the ladies – she’s also a multi-talented makeup artist, blogger, craft goddess, and mother-to-be! Now’s a fantastic time to join her on her journey to motherhood, and hopefully super-designer-dom on her blog. Go forth and send her some love!

(Photos of me by the lovely Drea Chong, all other photos by yours truly/Lenne Chai)


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#日本の気持ち #japan #feeling

Doing test shoots with Josiah was one of my favourite activities during my 3-month stint in Tokyo! Everything looked interesting to our Singaporean eyes, and we were particularly drawn to traditional looking Japanese places – which basically meant that we spent a lot of time acting like tourists in typical touristy places.

Our first test shoot had us struggling to get a clean shot, yes just like a sniper, amidst a curious crowd in Asakusa on a Saturday morning. In hindsight, it was such an lousy decision on our part! Asakusa is THE touristy place to be, and we couldn’t have picked a more stressful environment to work with.

For our second shoot together (above), we headed for a museum that I chanced upon in Google images. What we didn’t realize then was that it’d take us more than an hour to get there via the train and bus, then another 20 minutes on foot. On the upside, the location was so far-flung that we didn’t have to deal with any tourists for a change…?

The clothes were pulled from a combination of Josiah’s designs/his wardrobe, as well as FUNKTIQUE Tokyo, a vintage store in Harajuku that has become one of my favourite places to be. The store carries 90s’ Brooklyn-inspired vintage pieces, and their customers include Mademoiselle Yulia and even BoA!

Through losing my Japanese phone in their store (lol), I learnt that Funktique’s lady boss Misato speaks and writes fluent English, and we’ve become friends ever since. Who knew that there’d be perks to being a ditz?

This shoot is most certainly a labour of love, and though it’s been a long time since (we shot these in July last year!), I’m still really happy with how the images turned out. ありがとうね、ジョくん、みさとちゃん!♥

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DKNY x Opening Ceremony at Ion Orchard

Had the privilege of attending the DKNY x Opening Ceremony viewing party at DKNY Ion Orchard some Saturdays back!

I adore* attending themed parties, so imagine my thrill when I saw that even the kit-kat bars were decked out to fit the monochromatic theme for the day.

*I’ll admit, it was difficult finding a synonym for love.

One of my favourite things about the event was the instant (Insta Printa?) Instagram prints! All you had to do was upload your photo with the tags #DKNYxOC and #Club21, and a few minutes later you receive a bite-sized copy of the image!

The DKNY x Opening Ceremony collaboration is well into its third season, and it’s the first time they’ve included accessories such as snapback caps, sneakers (heeled or otherwise), and mesh sling bags! Seeing and molesting the pieces in person has cemented that this collection is my favourite one yet.

We only got to see the bags in person after our initial shopping trip, and as much as I love my cotton baseball tee, I can’t deny that I instantly felt a huge pang of regret when I saw/held this baby:

Don’t be too surprised if you see me toteing this beautiful leather (!!) bucket-shaped (!!) sling bag around soon. I hear the DKNY store calling…

Some of the other designs I like include a pair of faux sleeves to wrap around your hips – hashtag effort to look effortless! Love the B/W campaign images, especially the ones featuring the gorgeous Meghan Collison (and the bag I love):


The DKNY x Opening Ceremony Spring 2014 collection is available at DKNY ION Orchard (#03-02 ION Orchard, tel: +65 6304 1395) ♥


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