With a popular Instagram feed that is often stylised and populated with luxury fashion labels, it is hard to imagine that local style star Mae Tan’s guilty pleasure is dressing in t-shirt and jeans - the ultimate combination she feels most comfortable in.
In fact, she describes her style as a little bit of a “tomboy”.
Reason? She grew up with boys.
Better known as (@marxmae) on Instagram, Mae is a middle child with two brothers. She is the only daughter of housewife Janet Toh and businessman Dave Tan, who runs luxury watch brand Richard Mille in Asia.
Mae, 23, and her elder brother, 27, work at Surrender, a multi-label boutique that is also owned by her father. Her brother manages the label, while Mae is the marketing creative of the brand.
For streetwear lovers, Surrender would be a familiar name as the label brings in popular brands like Hyein Seo and Rokh to Off-White and Christian Dada. She does all these while finding time to skate (which she credits her brothers for) and travel.
So what is Mae’s latest project? She recently worked with Casio G-shock to design a watch with local graffiti artist ClogTwo. The watch with space motifs is a reflection on Mae’s love for science and her beliefs in energies and the cosmos.
Besides this collaboration, G-Shock is hosting its inaugural street culture festival, G-Fest, at Scape Playscape this weekend (Nov 24-25). Not only will you be able to get a glimpse of Mae’s creation, there will be performances by artistes like ShiGGa Shay and Tabitha Nauser.
We recently caught up to Mae to find out more about her collaboration with Casio, her thoughts on personal style and the state of fashion in Singapore.
How would you describe your style?
I would describe my style as eclectic and it changes with my mood. I’m open to try different styles and trends, and I think that makes me a little different from everyone else because I don’t stick to one rigidly.
As crazy as it sounds, my fallbacks are t-shirts with jeans and sneakers. This style is my guilty pleasure because people think I look unkempt but I am so comfortable. I grew up with boys so my behaviour is quite tomboyish, so when you put me in street clothes I look really street and unkempt because everything is super-sized and comfortable.
Do you have a style #inspo?
My style inspirations have evolved. I would have said Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and Rihanna in the past, but now it would still be the Olsen twins (they’re my queens) and Bella Hadid.
I like Bella’s style because it looks young, ‘90s and rocker inspired. Another of my favourite is Bella’s best friend, Jessie Jo Stark, who is the designer for Chrome Heart.
What is it about the rocker look do you like so much?
I like the rocker chic look because it looks unpolished. And I like that in fashion today, you can go for an unpolished style and still look presentable.
I also love wearing leather and bright colours - the extremes of stuff. Give me the full Met Gala leather or Chrome Heart looks, I love it. More is more.
How did the collaboration with G-Shock happen?
We (the team at Surrender) have worked with the G-Shock team before and I had attended some of their events in the past. The G-Shock team reached out to me and told me about this campaign they were planning to do, which was to work with an artist and design my own G-Shock watch. I was down to do it because it was a rare chance to work with such an established company, especially since the campaign worked with local artists and people to create global products.
How does G-Shock fit into your personal style?
Comfort and versatility. I am constantly on the move and carrying things so I like that the watch is durable as well. My watch with ClogTwo is more everyday street style but as compare to another favourite from Casio (a full steel watch from the Full Metal 5000 series), I could wear it with diamond bracelets and cocktail dresses for a black tie event.
What is your favourite Instagram photo, and what does it mean to you?
My favourite is this (pictured above) taken outside this club Berghain in Berlin, Germany. I love it because the photo looked so cool and it was taken in the spur of the moment while my friends were drunk (which explains the blurry image). Berghain was part of my bucket list and we looked like kids from Berlin.
We love the red hair - why did you change it back to brown?
I love the red hair so much! Call me crazy, but a lot of things went bad for me after I dyed my hair red. These included ending the relationship with my ex boyfriend, people threatening my job and sending me malicious mails and even bird poop landing on me, and these instances happened within three days of me dyeing my hair.
I lived in that Harajuku, anime-looking, punk Paramore phase for a week, did a photoshoot to commemorate it and went back to brown. And immediately, all the bad things stopped. I believe in energies and I felt like the red hair attracted too much negative and unlucky energy.
What are your views on social media and the impact it has had on the fashion industry?
Social media now is definitely something you can’t take out of any fashion business, and it’s like a base form of marketing and advertising now. Social media has proven itself to be the best platform to reach an infinite amount of people.
What are your views on fashion in Singapore?
I am actually very happy and excited about the fashion developments in Singapore. Streetwear I feel, changed the concept of what fashion is and what it means to take care of yourself. Fashion is now a statement, representative of who you are and what you want to say - you’re responsible for what you want to buy and wear. People are starting to care about their fashion choices and styling which I feel, shows that more people are taking care of themselves.