Amidst the swathe of suits, blazers and monochrome colours in Parliament, Tampines GRC MP Cheng Li Hui is a breath of fresh air in her bright colours each time she steps up to speak. Even outside of Parliament, when attending events, she exudes a mighty confidence and the vitality of a far younger woman, while maintaining a relatability to her demeanour that truly makes her feel like an MP for the people. This is a woman who knows exactly what she wants to communicate each time she steps out, with a clear idea of her sense of style and who she wants to wear.
So it comes as no surprise that for this year’s National Day Parade, Cheng is set to turn eyes at the Padang as she makes her appearance in a red and white three-piece ensemble, styled by Godfather of Fashion himself Daniel Boey, who appreciates a strong woman such as Cheng who knows how she wants to present herself to the public, and for her own personal sense of style. Fully local in her outfit, designed by new generation local label Nuboaix, who has garnered a strong cult following and has shown in Paris, there’s a strong sense of versatility in what she’s wearing – a white jacket, red top and white pants that can accommodate any occasion, pairable with most accessories, and not simply limited to National Day, emphasising sustainability with its re-wearability.
Not to mention – even her bag itself, by local label theKANG, is sustainable, having been made out of plastic bags, yet re-crafted into something classy and chic! Truly then, Cheng proves herself to not just talk the talk, but also walk the walk when it comes to meaning and following through with her beliefs and statements on the importance of sustainability. It helps that she looks amazing in the outfit as well, sophisticated, bold and stylish.
We spoke to Cheng, and found out a little more about her styling this National Day, the importance of sustainable fashion, and what her fashion sensibilities bring to Parliament. Read the interview in full below:
Bakchormeeboy: What do you want your outfit to express about yourself and say to all who see it?
Cheng Li Hui: I had the opportunity to try on one of their pieces and really liked the tailoring, cut, and design, so I ended up tailoring a set for NDP. I used to work in an engineering company and wore pants every day in the refinery. Comfort is very important.
Bakchormeeboy: At events, you often come across as confident and full of life, all smiles each time you make a public appearance and essentially, the people’s MP. How does your outfit support and complement that side of you and help bring out the best?
Cheng Li Hui: I try to dress comfortably as much as possible. With or without any particular outfit, I always enjoy interacting with people and happy doing so. Maybe that’s why I’m always smiling.
Bakchormeeboy: Could you tell us a little more about how and why you decided to collaborate with Godfather of Fashion Daniel Boey as your stylist?
Cheng Li Hui: I was introduced to Daniel by Darryl David. Daniel is funny, full of energy, passionate about his work and dogs and he knows what I like.
Bakchormeeboy: Sustainability is a hot button issue right now, and you seem to embody it in your recycled plastic bag handbag by theKANG. How can fashion be both fashionable and sustainable at the same time?
Cheng Li Hui: Any form of fashion still needs a market at the end of the day. Creating fashion from sustainable materials is the work of the designers. We as consumers wield power in the choices that we make. And I think whenever possible, buying items made from sustainable materials will eventually go a long way out in fighting climate change.
Bakchormeeboy: Tell us about the versatility of your outfit, and how else you plan on transforming it for other non-NDP events in the months to come. Having seen the outfit, I can see its potential, but what do you have in mind to change it up? So your colleagues wouldn’t be able to tell that you’re wearing the same outfit!
Cheng Li Hui: No particular plans, whatever works for the day!
Bakchormeeboy: As a three-piece outfit, we can imagine there’s plenty of ways and occasions this outfit can be used or paired – with flats or heels, or separated and styled with other pieces instead. The jacket could be worm with a dress, or the pants could be matched with a long-sleeved top instead. It’s clear the tailoring is clean, and it’s a well made ensemble. Dressing in both elegance and comfort seems to be important to you – how would you say this translates into positive impacts on your daily life and routines?
Cheng Li Hui: I do not consider myself a fashion guru. Simple and comfort is important to me. I do not let what I wear affect my attitude towards my daily life and routines.
Bakchormeeboy: How do you hope fashion continues to express itself as important between other members of Parliament? Should the male members be styled just as much as the female members?
Cheng Li Hui: We already have many male members who are very well styled. Style is very subjective and of personal preference, so I don’t think there’s anything right or wrong about what we wear.
Bakchormeeboy: Is there a greater need for politicians to be aware of who or what they wear now than before in Singapore? What would you say to the average Singaporean who may instead just want politicians to focus on policies and politics and think that fashion is irrelevant to a politician’s responsibilities?
Cheng Li Hui: I do not think that it’s so much the fashion. But supporting local brands and the great work they are doing. It started out with that intention. And it’s all good fun once a year!
As National Day comes around again, we think about all that’s happened over the past year – the good, the bad, the ugly, but also the beautiful, and how all these come together, in all their uniqueness, their idiosyncrasies and their pride-worthiness, and that, is precisely what makes us Singaporean. Over this long weekend, however you choose to celebrate, be it at the Padang watching the parade, chilling at home with the family or just doing whatever you want to be doing on a public holiday like today, Bakchormeeboy wishes all Singaporeans a Happy National Day 2019.