Growing up, Hanya Seah was inspired by WWF American pro wrestler Lita. “She wasn’t just another pretty face or a trophy valet. She had a distinctive Y2K, punk, loud, masculine tomboy style that went against the stereotypical WWF vision for women wrestlers. She wasn’t afraid to stand up to the guys,” she says.
“Her attitude and style really resonated with me as a kid, and it definitely played a huge part in shaping who I am today,” shares Hanya, who is the co-founder of jewellery brand Chez G and a content curator.
Her Instagram feed reflects that carefree and rebellious spirit – think 2000s-inspired outfits with lots of cute colours and a play on textures. “I’ve been through many style changes over the years, and I am still evolving with time and changing trends. I started off with OP tees, board shorts and Converse sneakers as a kid, then went through a feminine local blogshop phase as a teen. Later, I returned to my borderline masculine-feminine roots with the discovery of sneakers and streetwear brands.
That experimental attitude was what led her to design jewellery and launch her fine jewellery brand Chez G in 2016 after a semester abroad in Montreal. There, she was exposed to hip-hop culture, and noticed celebrities wearing mouth bling in music videos. Owning a set of grillz (decorative covers made of gold, silver or jewel-encrusted precious metals that snap over your teeth) was a big trend. “Seeing how dope they were, I wanted grillz for myself,” says Hanya.
The lack of access and knowledge available to customise teeth jewellery in Singapore led Hanya and her business partner to teach themselves how to make grillz via Youtube and Instagram. “No one wants to teach this skill openly – they’ll be risking their own rice bowl,” she shares.
From making grillz, Hanya has delved more into jewellery making, which intrigues her with its ever-changing techniques to create beautiful pieces.
“Local jewellery brands are either offering demi-fine plated sterling silver or solid 18K gold jewellery. There is a lack of options between these two extremes,” says Hanya, who is currently working on a 14K gold jewellery line that is contemporary, feminine and affordable, yet made of real gold.
And she’s making sure that they are durable too. “I test wear sample rings from upcoming collections and put them through the harshest everyday activities to see how they fare,” she says. So, if you ever spot Hanya on the streets, be sure to check out her bling.
3 Singaporean fashion brands that are “killing it”, according to Hanya
1. STORE UNDA
“Feminine sophistication with a touch of edgy detailing. Designer Valerie Wang’s designs are unique and different from what our other local e-commerce labels offer.”
“Playhood stands out boldly for its playful grunge and Y2K aesthetic. Designer Sarah Lai illustrates and executes her floral designs on satin Hawaiian shirts, board shorts, bucket hats, T-shirts and more, including a full range of knitwear recently. She’s also doing a range of baguette bags with her illustrations. I don’t think there’s another local brand that’s as experimental in pushing illustration design boundaries.”
“My favourite local activewear/athleisure brand for its functional and stylish sets. It knows exactly how active millennials and Gen Zs want to look when working out.”