Clothes do maketh the woman, but in the case of Singaporean womenswear label Josée.P, it’s more of a two-way street. We caught up virtually with the founder of Josée.P, Phua Jia Le, on how she draws inspiration from the gentlewoman’s journey of life and weaves them into feminine pieces that, in turn, inspire confidence and elegance:
Josée.P had its exciting debut launch back in July 2019. Reflecting on this, what was your journey towards the conception of Josée.P like?
Quite an unlikely journey actually! For one, I never studied fashion in any parts of my formal education. I started my career in a government organisation, looking primarily at economic and industry development. It was a completely different line!
As a working professional back then, I felt even more so that you grow your own personal branding through the way you dress, particularly in professional settings. I was looking for classy designs that could bring me from day to night — styles that were professional enough for my client meetings, but interesting enough to make me look good on a Friday night. Decent quality, but not in the high hundreds.
I realised I couldn’t find that sweet spot, and that many of my friends in similar stages of life couldn’t either. That was when I decided, together with my business experience and long withheld passion for fashion, to take a plunge and start Josée.P.
What’s the story behind the name Josée.P?
I started with deciding that I wanted a feminine name, so that it could be the embodiment of the style of the brand that I wanted to create. Eventually, I landed on Josée – a feminine name that means mysterious lady. Mysteriously graceful, classy and interesting. Well, an added bonus was clearly that it starts with the same letter as my own name! So it was something that could be personal to me as well.
We’re excited to highlight Josée.P in September with our #WomenOfStyleTheory. Can you share more about the collection listed on Style Theory and who you envision to be the Josée.P x Style Theory woman?
There are two collections currently available on Style Theory. Both collections, Stepping Out and Reflection, are inspired by the continuous journey of a woman. Hence, the Josée.P x Style Theory woman is someone who is strong, confident, yet vulnerable at the same time.
Every collection of Josée.P has a theme and a short poetic verse delicately tied to it. We’re curious: how do you draw inspiration for each collection?
The first collection Stepping Out was very much about stepping out into the world as a young professional. The second collection Reflection, with its signature reflective stud buttons, was inspired by personal reflections that help us emerge stronger. Moving on to our latest collection, Facets of Her is an ode to the complexity and the multifaceted roles that women play in society, represented by the sash details that changes the look of the design completely when worn in different ways.
Details like bows, ties, and sashes are a signature look in your collections. How did these feminine features find their way into the Josée.P look?
We are proud to show off our femininity, and it is something we want to keep close to our brand. Bows ties and sashes are some of the design elements that embody this, so we try to always showcase them in our pieces. More importantly, these are versatile elements that allow more than one way to wear our clothes. This option and versatility is what attracts many of our loyal customers too!
What stands Josée.P designs out from other fast fashion brands in the market?
Our designs are meant to be simple but enhanced by subtle details that make a difference: it could be the tiny contrast piping at the hem of a simple tea dress. Or, the ability to switch between puffy or relaxed sleeves through the use of a simple stud. Or perhaps, a versatile scarf that gives you unlimited ways to style your jumpsuit differently.
The other key difference is that we clearly have bolder colours than other brands in the market. Instead of the usual popular pastel shades, you can find bold reds, striking cobalt blues, and rich greens. We chose to keep to our signature solid block colours because we want Josée.P to be that brand you turn to when you want to stand out in a gentle yet confident manner.
Josée.P prioritises mindful quality over quantity — hence a new collection is launched just four times a year. How does Josée.P define “mindful quality”?
It means everything from design to production. What we talked about with the design details earlier is exactly what this mindful quality is about. We invest time in our design process to make sure there is always that small twist for our customers in every collection. Sometimes the twist doesn’t work, and we’d have to go back to the drawing board all over again until we get it right. This requires a lot of time, but it’s something we consciously do to make sure we retain the unique qualities of designs under Josée.P.
And of course, we produce in small quantities as opposed to fast fashion labels. I wouldn’t say we are fully a sustainable brand yet, but we believe in slow fashion, with good mindful designs over fast and mass production.
If you had to have a must-rent piece in your collection on Style Theory, which would it be?
The Stud Wrap Dress in Red. A classy staple that brings you from day to night, with a flattering feminine silhouette. Change it up as you wish with the cuff sleeves as well! You can wear it either puffed or flat, depending on which stud button you secure.
What’s your advice to the #WomenofStyleTheory looking through your collection in our Infinite Wardrobe?
Take one or two days in a week to try on a colour you usually wouldn’t — like that bold red, or that deep royal blue. You might just find something that fits you well!
What can Style Theory subscribers look forward to from Josée.P? Any exciting updates for the rest of 2020?
You will definitely be seeing our new collection next on Style Theory! Furthermore, we are also looking to explore using more sustainable fabrics where possible in some of our designs.
Rent your favourite Josée.P pieces on the Style Theory app now!
Read more of our chats with local designer labels in our Designer Spotlight series.