Photographed by Paradigm Shift.
Interviewed by Jacelyn Teng.
Hi Katkurate! Can you tell us more about yourself?
KK: If ever asked to paint a picture of myself, it would be one of a kaleidoscope. Growing up as a third culture kid and drawing from my own experiences throughout the years, my identity contains multitudes and is a dynamic amalgamation of different parts that closely relate to one another to bring out that one ‘me’ at the heart of it all. I’m made of curiosity, love a good adventure and feel passionately about living authentically. As a healthcare professional by day, I enjoy connecting and sharing moments with others. This love naturally extends into KatKurate, a cozy yet purposeful space where I hope like-minded people despite being on their own journeys can relate, support and even empower each other through shared moments.
What an analogy. So, when did you get interested in fashion?
KK: There was no particular defining moment that sparked my interest in fashion. Instead, it was something familiar to me from a young age that I grew to love and have an eye for. My parents always had a keen eye for things, extending beyond fashion into art. They believed in self-expression and made me feel like there were unlimited possibilities to create. Growing up under such an influence has been an anchor in my own journey.
How did Katkurate come about?
KK: Katkurate was born during a global pandemic in pursuit of finding balance between realities of life and self-love. It’s a very strange time we are living in, with all that freedom taken from us. At the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak last year, I was neck-deep in work and pulling overnight shifts every other day at the hospital. My busyness reminded me about purpose and to keep my cup full – doing things that give me joy, energy and positivity while embracing my authentic self.
I enjoy curating things and experiences that are beautiful, meaningful and of value. Katkurate became a space of conscious curation that helped me to reflect and refine my own voice in a journey of constant self-discovery. In the process, I hope it could too be a space for others to relate to and maybe even find inspiration. I admit to holding on to this idea for several months before taking that leap and giving it a chance, but I’m glad I embraced this side of me to bring about change, creation and connection.
We relate so deeply with your heart here at Paradigm Shift! We're so glad to connect with you in this manner. How would you describe your style and where do you get your inspiration from?
KK: I would consider my personal style to be simple, chic and effortless. I like to feel comfortable in what I’m wearing because it gives me confidence to go about my day. There is no pigeonholing in fashion – keeping an open mind and following your heart encourages creativity and learning more about yourself while staying true to your core style. One thing that I love to do is to incorporate subtle, unique details to my outfit to make it more special. It can be in the form of anything from an interesting silhouette to a cute mini bag.
I draw inspiration from anything and everything! I like to people-watch when I travel. It’s inspiring to see what people of different personalities across cultures are wearing in real time, especially how they choose to mix and match, layer and accessorize. In this time of restricted travel, the online community has improvised to continue bringing inspiration to everyone – I really love the YouTube series on “What are people wearing in...?”. It’s raw, authentic and eclectic! Other forms of inspiration come from runway shows, art and even architecture. Each has its own story and this was the reason why I grew an interest in vintage! There is a charming quality to things that transcends the way it looks and feels – there is a story, piece of history and meaning that makes it extraordinary.
We absolutely love your style! It is quite diverse from what we see on your Instagram feed. What are some values/criteria you look out for when making a fashion purchase?
KK: I have always been particular about the quality of fabric and workmanship; it is one of the fundamental things that makes a good product. I am not a stickler for brands, so it really boils down to whether the product is well made and worth what you are paying for. I believe in building a strong foundation for your wardrobe and occasionally investing in high quality timeless staples that can be mixed and matched for endless wears. That is what clever styling is!
In a world of fast fashion, we need to slow down and be conscious about our purchase impact. Practising sustainability is a holistic approach – it is more than buying from sustainable fashion labels, but to be empowered in making informed decisions that support ethical practices and way of living. I am no expert and still learning more about what it means to embrace sustainability as part of my slower fashion journey. Thinking long term about my purchases, being considerate to the clothes I buy and how it can stay circular in my wardrobe are good consumption habits that I have been cultivating.
What is fashion to you? Please tell us why.
KK: Reflecting on this question made me realise that fashion has layers of complexities that makes it an art – what it means and brings to each of us can be limitless. Fashion embodies change and progress. For me, it began as a means of self-expression and standing for the things I value. It made me feel empowered as an individual and has become something I feel so passionate about. Living through the COVID-19 pandemic and coping as a healthcare professional sparked new perspectives and meaning to fashion. I was inspired to embrace it beyond my everyday life and started Katkurate as an outlet to connect with myself at a deeper level and with others who may be going through a similar time.
We know that you are currently taking a course on fashion design. Can you tell us more about it?
KK: I have always enjoyed the process of curating my wardrobe and personal style. Fashion is like a mirror of our times and has a story to tell. Playing with this thought, I became curious about how I can tell my own story so I decided to embark on a short course on fashion design to learn more about design development and gain practical skills in digital designing. For the first time, I created a fashion collection inspired by our local architecture. Discovering fashion is a journey; it’s about the surprise, excitement and wonder. This fuels me and keeps me going amidst a busy schedule. It has not been easy juggling school, work, relationships, new life milestones and even personal rest. I am beyond blessed to have a family who understands, supports and keeps me laser focused on the things that matter.
Do you see yourself being in the fashion industry and what is your fashion dream?
KK: For sure – I would love to see where this journey takes me next. If there is one thing the past year has taught me, it would be to embrace the current me and not to be afraid to declutter old goals to make room for new dreams to flourish. I feel so much joy in creating and sharing all things beautiful, so for me – the ultimate dream would be for my work to change the way beauty is conceptualised, created and valued.
We are so excited for you! Can't wait to see where it takes you. Keep making these positive changes through who you are and what you do! Lastly, how did you find out about PSL and what is your favourite product?
KK: Thank you! I love discovering new designers, especially ones who use fashion for good! It was such a timely encounter with PSL because at that point I had just started looking into sustainable fashion as part of my slower fashion journey and Audris had left such an impression on me with her passion to use fashion as a catalyst for change. Her fashion mantra comes across so authentically and that translates into her designs so beautifully. I wear my Abundance dress everywhere! It is simple, chic and effortless!
Aww, thank you for hanging out with us! Stay safe, stay mysterious, Katkurate!