He designed for Barack Obama, put Singapore fashion in London and New York’s luxury stores with his first fashion label Song+Kelly, and has over 20 years of industry experience under his belt. It’s Wykidd Song, and he’s making a much-anticipated comeback with AKINN — go-to pieces built for boss ladies who can command any room.
We caught up with Wykidd over a Zoom call and were blown away by his commitment to conscientious designs, his philosophy of design as a collective effort, and above all, the sincerity he pours into building timeless pieces for women.
What’s working at home been like for a designer like yourself?
I can get quite inspired working from home. I’ve got a workspace, my tailor’s dummy, fabric swatches, and mood boards against the wall. I find a view of lush greenery and the right kind of music works wonders for creativity.
What gets you out of the bed in the morning?
The satisfaction on a customer’s face when they’re pleasantly surprised that our pieces fit so well on them. It’s a sincere reaction you can’t quite replicate anywhere else. Despite the COVID-19 uncertainty and gloom, it has given me time to reset my lifestyle and reassess the values by which we measure our actions. I look forward to happier colours, more purposeful collaborations, and sustainable action this year.
AKINN launched its first capsule collection in May 2019. Designed with the AKINN woman in mind – globetrotting boss ladies with responsibilities – Wykidd combines exceptional craftsmanship, timeless design, and inspiring stories to serve up structured yet wearable pieces that will give her the gravitas she’s looking for.
Why the name AKINN?
‘Akin’ means close to you, and it captures our hope to be close to our customers. They’re extremely discerning and we learn from them as much as they learn from us. We want our pieces to pass them the energy and confidence needed for the day.
What makes your designs different from fast fashion brands?
If anything, we are ‘slow’ fashion – considered, purposeful, and timeless. I’ve always wanted my designs to transcend trends and have value with time. When you put on an AKINN design, you’re essentially wearing a piece of hard work. We don’t produce a lot of pieces per style and are sensitive to details and finishing — the inside of the garment is just as important as the outside.
You design capsule collections every month based on an inspiring “boss lady”. What has been your most memorable story?
The one of Ms Ku, the factory owner that did my first production. She started out as a young seamstress and worked her way up to owning her own business. Her passion, attention to detail, and commitment to craft still hold strong at her age. Her astute knowledge for construction, sense of proportion, and kind-heartedness truly inspire me. What an awesome woman!
How do you help consumers buy smart and buy less?
It starts with a mindset to make designs that last. I’ve had, on a couple of occasions, young women who would ask if I recognised what they were wearing — it was their mothers’ hand-me-down Song+Kelly top! Longevity has been my philosophy with my previous label Song+Kelly and it’s what remains true in AKINN’s craft and workmanship. We’re also mindful not to add to the waste — sourcing only stock ends from quality reliable suppliers, utilising what already exists in the market, and not creating virgin stock. Partnering with Style Theory is yet another way to ride on the increasing social acceptance of buying and renting preloved products.
AKINN’s pieces first went live on Style Theory in May 2020, and they’ve since been a hit with our subscribers, as evidenced by their 5-star reviews. AKINN has injected a breath of fresh air to the Infinite Wardrobe, offering a masterful balance between everyday practicality and the unique details you’ll find in every piece.
Why Style Theory?
The fashion retail landscape has changed dramatically since the onset of e-commerce. Style Theory has stepped up to be one of the pioneers in this new frontier of online shopping. We admire the growth Style Theory has made in giving fashion lovers another option to consume fashion responsibly!
If you had to choose one must-rent piece, which would it be?
Our Cocoon Shirt Dress. It’s cut with a voluminous back, giving a cocoon shape that’s really airy, comfortable and easy-to-wear. Wear it to your Zoom calls or to the office. Its viscose and stretch parachute fabrics make it crease-free all day!
What can Style Theory subscribers look forward to from AKINN?
Happy colours, sophisticated yet wearable designs, Zoom-friendly styles you can wear to a grocery run, and still be able to lounge-and-Netflix the hell out of the dress!
Rent your favourite AKINN piece – and the Cocoon Shirt Dress – on the Style Theory app.