Savina Chai, founder of local womenswear label Eight Slate, wanted fashion career at 13

Savina Chai's style varies from sleek to street grunge.
Savina Chai's style varies from sleek to street grunge.ST PHOTOS: FELINE LIM

Singapore womenswear label Eight Slate's founder Savina Chai has a weakness for footwear


Savina Chai, 23, founder of local womenswear label Eight Slate

How would you describe your style?

My style varies according to my mood and the weather. It can be sleek and tailored one moment and street grunge the next. When did your interest in fashion start?Growing up, I watched my mum dress up. Fashion was my first and biggest love. At 13, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in fashion.

Who are your favourite designers and what are your go-to brands?

I love designers such as Phoebe Philo and Nicolas Ghesquiere. My go-to luxury brands are Celine and Balenciaga. For good basics, I'm a huge fan of Uniqlo.

Who are your style icons?

My style is driven by stylish fashion editors such as editor of Vogue Australia Christine Centenera.

What are your favourite pieces in your wardrobe?

One of them is this studded jacket (photo 1), which was a gift from American womenswear brand LPA. I love collecting statement jackets and the founder of LPA, Lara Pia Arrobio, is effortlessly inspiring and stylish.

I'm also fond of this Louis Vuitton Twist Bag (photo 2). I saved up and worked hard for the bag - it took me a year, but I did it.

I fell in love with the bag when I first saw it on the runway in 2015. Louis Vuitton launched an advertising campaign with Swedish actress Alicia Vikander to promote the bag and she did a twist dance with it.

Another of my favourite pieces is this Eight Slate Jehare Skirt (photo 3). This skirt, which costs $189, is from my label's debut studio line - it's one of the label's key looks with bonded satin.

Lastly, I love these Celine shades (photo 4), which I got for $350. I wear sunglasses when the sun's out to protect my eyes and this is one of my go-to pairs because it suits my face and is extremely chic. What are your weaknesses when it comes to shopping? Outerwear and shoes, of which I have a huge collection. I can't resist a good jacket or a pair of shoes. I can't sleep if I can't find those items in my size.

What is your favourite splurge piece?

My two-tone monochrome vintage Chanel bag (photo 5), for which I paid $3,000. I've always wanted a two-tone Chanel bag and when I was looking at vintage Chanel pieces, this one came up and my heart skipped a beat.

Is there a purchase you have regretted?

I don't think I've had regrettable purchases because I'm cautious about how I spend my money when it comes to fashion. Each purchase is carefully thought through.

My friends call me crazy, but I work hard for my money.

What is your most recent fashion purchase?

Mules from Balenciaga's pre-fall 2017 collection (photo 6). I scoured multiple boutiques in London to hunt down a pair in my size. Although this pair isn't in the colour I wanted, I was lucky to score a pair. I paid $800 for them.

What is the best shopping or style advice you live by?

When buying a luxury piece, I will consider if it is worth investing in. I refrain from buying key seasonal pieces as they're not practical - it's difficult to keep up with trends in this manner.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2017, with the headline 'Shoes are her Achilles' heel'. Print Edition | Subscribe