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A Thread in Time

Some call it divine appointments. Some call it serendipity. Some call it fate.

When life slips you a pleasant little surprise, it’s something to treasure.

Over the last two years, I’ve been experimenting with fashion photography. Planning for my trip this April to Perth, I asked my friends and family if they knew anybody who would like to collaborate on a photo shoot. None? Fine. I headed to Perth anyway.

Who would have known that I would meet Chloe Smith, a talented and versatile fashion design student? I signed up for an arts workshop and when I was there early, I spotted Chloe and boldly asked if she would be keen to collaborate. I was half expecting her to say the dreaded ‘No’ but she said ‘Sure!’ instead. It was a Wednesday afternoon. We met that Saturday.

The dark clouds loomed, then it started drizzling. Weather reports predicted it would rain. My mind was racing for plan B – indoor shoots. Thankfully, when we met at Gino’s, Fremantle, the weather calmed down. I was actually glad for the weather as it was cool enough to move around with and there would be minimal glare and harsh shadows.

We had a blast at the shoot, shooting in the vintage Atwell Arcade, outside a graffiti wall and anywhere interesting enough. Occasionally we had to dodge the rain and had to race to finish the shoot at the Graffiti wall before the floodgates opened again. Chloe was really good at creating looks and even outfits! The raincoat she was wearing was something she took apart and contemporised. I remember that she had on a Peter Pan collar necklace that she had made herself when I first met her. Talk about creativity!

As she’s a fashion student who creates fashion and lives fashion and naturally I wanted to find out more about her and her views.

What describes your style?

Chloe Smith: I would say protean, quizzical, droll, whimsical, messy, catholic, vaudevillian, confused. It’s kind of like if Samuel Beckett wrote a play set at Harajuku station or Cory McAbee directed the film version and collaborated with Melt Banana composing the original soundtrack.

What are you working on?

CS: Being better at life, mostly. Fashion wise — I am constantly learning new skills and tricks and techniques everyday. Presently, I am lessening my dependence on patterns and free forming my creations, approaching dressmaking like sculpture. At this very moment, I am weaving a netted dress onto my own body, and just finished a thirty meter inflatable, purple plastic scarf for a photo shoot.

What makes you happy?

CS: All these: learning, seeing others realise their potential, experiencing lucidly the kaleidoscopic nature of existence, passionate histories, exquisite literature, textures, colours, shapes, sounds, smells, art in every sense, and of course, kittens.

What are the serendipitous moments in your life? 

CS: The universe is always on my side, as long as I try my best. I love how special friends continue to stumble upon one another on the dusty trail…when a kindred individual charms your soul intensely just by existing- meeting those ones are my favourite serendipitous moments. Plus finding treasures that you just know were made for YOU, they’re especially fun also.

What about fashion you love most? 

CS: Like myriad other art forms, it can communicate ideas, inspire, astound, disgust, and bewilder. It can also alter perspectives, and affect how people see themselves within different contexts. I love how fashion can make a person feel special things, if they want to feel pretty, or brooding, dynamic or magical, fashion has the power to change your own little world, and if you’re really good, the world we share.

– Jael Chng

For more of Jael’s fashion lab experiments, they can be found here.

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