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S'pore fashion survivors: Womenswear brand Y21 sets sail in new direction
For the last 10 years, womenswear brand Yacht 21 sold the allure of dressing for beachside holidays and resort getaways. When the pandemic put an end to travelling, founder Jarenis Ho, 37, knew she had to quickly shift gears. As part of a rebrand this month (September), which includes a new name Y21, she will slowly phase out the travel-themed collections and busy prints Yacht 21 had become known for.
Inside Retail Asia: Singapore's Yacht 21 rebrands with a new label and purpose
Singapore fashion label Yacht 21 has been renamed Y21, changing its logo and purpose in response to the change in fashion after the pandemic. Founded in 2009, Yacht 21 was known for its travel-friendly and resort collection inspired by Scandinavian designs. As international travel has been put on hold and will not be possible for a while since Covid-19, Yacht 21 has decided to shift its focus to functional, fuss-free and seasonless pieces for women to adapt to the new normal.
CNA Lifestyle: How 4 Singapore fashion brands grew stronger during the pandemic. The founders of Love, Bonito, The Missing Piece, Yacht 21 and Ong Shunmugam shared how they pivoted and stayed on top of their game despite disruptions
An urban resort wear label for work and play, with four retail stores and two stockists in Singapore, Yacht 21 started with physical stores in 2009 before going online in 2013 as demand for their easy-breezy holiday dresses and comfy workwear grew. But with everyone’s travel plans cancelled for a year and a half now, founder Jarenis Ho explained that her brand had to move away from promoting travel-friendly collections meant for vacations and pivot to designing functional fuss-free pieces to help their customers adapt to changing lifestyles.
8 DAYS: Local clothing brand Yacht 21 will open its stores for the first time in two months, and gives us a sense of what a shopping experience would be like in Phase 2.
As with everything, there are risks involved. If you want to be 100 per cent safe, stay home. But if you think it's okay to indulge in some physical retail therapy while taking every necessary precaution, this is what one local clothing brand, Yacht 21, is doing to ensure a safe experience for its customers.
8 DAYS: 11 Shops We Can't Wait To Check Out At Jewel Changi Airport — And What's Special About Them
Go on a beach holiday with Yacht 21's resort within the airport - Homegrown urban resort wear label Yacht 21 celebrates 10 years of helping women to dress like they are on holiday everyday with a new flagship store in Jewel that's created to "feel like a resort built within the airport, fusing nature and art," with natural oak, vintage rattan, travel-inspired drawings by local illustrator Sabrinah Rahim and plant installations by local botanical stylist Charles Loh (@mossinggarden). It's all designed to make you feel like you've just stepped into Bali or some other dreamy resort destination, and if you're stopping by the shop just before you fly to actual Bali, all the better! Coincidentally, they're launching their latest collection, inspired by the lush landscapes and culture of Bali, at the new Jewel store. Heart eyes!
Had Jarenis Ho decided to complete her studies at Nanyang Technology University (NTU) in 2005, the 35-year-old may not have become the founder of successful homegrown fashion label, YACHT 21, today.
At 34, Jaren Ho has been running her own businesses for 13 years. The founder of local label Yacht 21 tells us how she went from reading engineering in university, to hawking knick-knacks at school bazaars, to setting up a wacky traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)-themed label, then a shop called Hurs, before she finally founded Yacht 21 and fine-tuned the formula for its success.
Her foray into the business world started in university when she sold handmade traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) accessories to keep her cancer-stricken best friend from dwelling on the disease. Jaren Ho, now 32, realised she was a natural entrepreneur and started her own cruisewear label Yacht 21 in 2009.
What started as a retail dream has turned into an omni-channel retail. With the rise of mobile e-commerce, YACHT 21 managed to capture the heart of many customers by channelling their brand online. In addition, re-creating the boutique at Wheelock Place gives customers a brand new shopping experience.
Ms Jaren Ho, 34, the founder of apparel brand Yacht 21, said the GSS was not doing enough to attract the millennials via social media such as Instagram.
“You look at the crowd going to Art Box. GSS or not, people still want to shop, come out and spend money, but the concept needs to change. Renaming the whole thing might help. Or use another approach,” said Ms Ho, who suggested taking a “more lifestyle approach”.
I was the ordinary ‘girl next door’ who grew up in an average Singaporean family, went to school, and hung out with friends. Nothing special. I grew up following the system because that’s how things work, right?
I was someone with no passion. Most of the decisions I made growing up were not what I wanted, I just followed what I was told. I did not have the courage to fight for what I love or want in life. That was until I turned 21 in 2005.
It was a sudden ‘oh crap, what am I doing with my life’ moment that finally pushed me to leave my comfort zone. It was a scary decision to make, but I decided to quit engineering school to embark on a path less travelled. My parents were mad that I gave up my place in a reputable local university to pursue my dream job in retail and fashion.
As I went on in this pursuit, I found my passion in life and for life. I was no longer living in the shadow of other people, but living my own life to the fullest. My passion for fashion began to grow as well. I saw the need to differentiate my business by creating in-house collections, so I taught myself to become fashion designer.
Today, I’m running my own fashion label YACHT 21, with a team of young passionate ladies. Like me, they started from scratch without any fashion background, creating magic with me every single day.
Many of us have big dreams that we end up never chasing, only ending up finding a job that matches our degrees, then getting married and building our own families. Conventionally, this is ‘the path to happiness’. But as a business owner, I can hardly keep up with that belief when most of my time is spent hustling.
Not ‘conforming’ to the conventional path to happiness has made me question what happiness is sometimes. It’s hard to see what happiness is when there are no other ‘examples’ out there. And we fear the unknown because what we don’t know, we fantasize. And what we fantasize scares us even more. And perhaps it’s the underlying fear of being unhappy that scares us away from our passion and dreams.
It’s almost like there’s a ghost within us. A ghost that scares us into following conventions; that stops us from living life to the fullest. But everyone has their own unique path to happiness. We just have to deal with the ghost within us."
___________________________________8 Days: 4 Ways To Feel Like You're On Holiday Every Day
TODAY: What are the differences between millennial and traditional leadership?
Change is what makes millennial generation and traditional leadership styles different. I respect traditional leaders for their authenticity because many of them set the standards and built a system from scratch. Jaren Ho tells TODAY.
Caption: Young local designers are making waves and getting a lot of attention for their quirky designs with a local twist. Born &Raised Founder, Watson Lee shares about his efforts to showcase the work of local designers and artists with founder of Yacht21 Jaren Ho and Alvin Chan, founder/maker of Concrete Everything. They talk about the efforts of young Singaporeans to find a niche of their own competing with commercial clothes, bags and accessories from around the world.
Caption: Womenswear brand Yacht 21's Jaren Ho believes that having creative concepts can help the label stay afloat.
Asian Entrepreneur: Callum Connects with Jaren Ho, Founder of YACHT 21
A self-taught fashion designer, Jaren Ho is now designing classy, yet casual cruise wear.
Caption: Check out Yacht 21 Singapore, which has anchored themselves in Wanderlust Hotel, from 25-30 July 2014.