Out of My Closet: Ren Wan

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 October, 2012, 2:58pm

"I'm not a fashion lover - it's part of life," says Ren Wan, the founder of Jup Yeah, which organises events at which people can swap unwanted belongings. Her apartment is small, but has all the essentials for working, relaxing and eating. Wan's a strong supporter of sustainability and is keen to share her personal ethics.

"We're living in a mass-production era," she says. "Despite the acceptance of variety, people still hide themselves in the mainstream. Going for what you like, rather than how others want you to look, is important. Fashion is the loudest manifesto of personality."

Through Jup Yeah, Facebook fans and blog followers can post unwanted items to give away - money doesn't exchange hands.

"I want to combat the soulless lifestyle contaminated by overconsumption," Wan says.

This is reflected in her minimalist wardrobe. "I do have a few pieces from H&M and Zara, but they last just seconds. Vivienne Westwood was right when she said, 'People have never looked so ugly. We are so conformist, nobody is thinking.'"

Rich glamour doesn't inspire the down-to-earth Wan. "I like minimal, independent designers because they're thinkers with stories to tell. Their art lies in the details," she says.

Her favourite brands include Acne and Swedish brand House of Dagmar: "Details like a double-breast pocket or a clip for a bra strap on a loose vest are so useful."

She describes Something Else by Natalie Wood as a feminine choice.

But her absolute favourite is Complex Geometries. "It makes loose, sculptural, pieces in plain colour. "Sometimes you can wear them in more than one way."

Wan's favourite shops include places that stock more Nordic labels such as Whyred and Noir, which work with fair-trade cotton workers in Uganda. "I go to St Francis Yard for those, but I like the small shops on Wellington Street and Yiu Wah Street." Wan also found a new spot close to her home in Tai Hang.

"An Odd Morning, on Leighton Road, stocks 5Preview and Cheap Monday. Those brands are casual, fun, and care about corporate social responsibility," she says.

But it's not all serious. Wan still has a girlish side. "You get a cosy experience at smaller shops, you can chat with the girls there and have fun," she says. "It's a kind of warmth that you miss at larger chain stores. Fashion is a happy thing, isn't it?"

Wan, 27, says age has led her to put comfort first, and be less eccentric in her choices. Gone are the days of trying lighter colours - black is a new favourite. "I used to be experimental. I was influenced by Japanese magazines, and I would try any style spotted in FRUiTS magazine," she says. "But black and dark shades are wearable, versatile and safe. Black brings me solace."

Despite her love of minimalism, Wan likes to accessorise. "I used to be obsessed with bold necklaces from markets in China," she says. "But now I love rings. They're never too flamboyant." Some of her favourites came from Jup Yeah, including a ring from Net-A-Porter.

"It's my lifetime goal to collect the most special rings," she says. "It requires superb craftsmanship to make a beautiful piece."