When the accidental modeling career of “granfluencer” Ong Bee Yan took off and assignments started flowing in, she had one idea in her head at the time: “What am I doing?”
She shared, “I thought how fantastic it would be if I could develop a collection of clothes that people my age can wear and feel comfortable, empowered, and on-trend in. I thought how great it would be if I could make a collection of clothes that people my age can wear and feel comfortable.”
Since she was scouted at the age of 63, Ong has found recognition as a part-time model and a local style icon. Her visage can be seen on many news websites as well as the covers of multiple fashion glossies.
It just so happened that she knew people in the design industry, and the opportunity presented itself in the form of Jarenis Ho, the founder of the local clothing business Yacht 21.
When they got together to talk about the potential of working on a project together as a group, they thought it would be a good idea to come up with a collection that could be worn by people of all ages and serve a variety of purposes. This collaboration resulted in the birth of the Y21 X grey evolution collection (the name of Ong’s Instagram account is grey evolution).
This capsule release fuses Yacht 21’s signature “cruise-inspired” aesthetic with elements of Ong’s hip personal style, which frequently features a lot of minimalist, layered outfits. Comprising pieces that are designed for versatility – think endless mix-and-match possibilities that suit women whether they are 20 or 60 – this capsule release fuses Yacht 21’s trademark “cruise-inspired” aesthetic with elements of Ong’s hip personal style.
Aging with style
“When I reached the age of 50, I was unable to locate clothing in which I felt comfortable. I did not want to dress in clothes that my mother wore when she was the same age as I am now, which is fifty. After everything was said and done, all I was left with were things like shorts and a T-shirt. I had no idea where to begin looking for clothing that would flatter my figure, be appropriate for my age, and still be fashionable.” When Ong was asked about her thoughts on the available options in the local fashion scene for people her age group, she responded by saying that there was “honestly quite limited,” referring to the number of options.
Ho disclosed that several of her clients are experiencing the same problem. There are a lot of women in their 40s and 50s who constantly complain to us that they are unable to locate fashionable clothing and that they wish there were more businesses that catered to their demographic. “Even if they are 50, they don’t want to dress their age,” she said. “They don’t want to dress their age.”
The notion that a woman should give up her sense of style as she gets closer to her golden years is, of course, another ridiculous idea. Ong is proof that a woman of any age can still dress stylishly while still being age-appropriate, and she does so by the way that she dresses herself.
“I believe that it is in part due to the judgment we encounter from the people around us, as well as the fear that comes along with that judgment. We have a tendency to say to ourselves, oh, we shouldn’t dress that way because people will speak about me,” and then we go on and do it anyway. On the other hand, we are also the ones who are the ones who are casting the same judgment on ourselves — for example, “I shouldn’t wear this because it’s too young for me… This is an outdated way of thinking that needs to be abandoned; why should we give society the power to decide what we should or should not wear?” said Ong.
At the same time, she emphasized the significance of finding a balance between trying out the latest trends and wearing in a manner that is suitable for one’s age. She gave an illustration of how she applied this idea to the capsule collection, saying, “For instance, you know that midriff-baring top trend that’s going around right now – you can’t expect someone of my age to wear that. I really want to wear a cropped top, but it can’t expose too much of my stomach. Therefore, for this capsule collection, we decided to go with a length that is just below the waist. This length is both flattering and trendy, and it allows you to tuck the top into bottoms if you so like. This was something that was constantly on my mind; I wanted to be hip without going overboard with individuals in my age group.”
In order to come up with the ideas for the outfits that will be included in this capsule collection, Ho and her designers “ransacked” Ong’s wardrobe. This allowed them to view and get a feel for what she wears as well as the kind of cuts and fits that she loves to wear. “She has her own style, and she doesn’t get her inspiration from just one item of clothing at a time. And as we progressed, she continued to share,” Ho remarked. After that, the designs that were produced were the result of a back-and-forth exchange of ideas between the team and Ong.
According to Ho, the majority of the garments in this collection are cut in a way that makes them loose-fitting and simple to put on because they were designed with the goal of fitting and looking good on every size and shape offered by the business. They may also be stacked and matched in numerous ways, allowing one to create multiple looks with just a single item. According to Ho, “before, we produced a lot of one-piece dresses, but for this collection, we designed a lot more separates so that the pieces could be worn in a variety of ways.”
Comfort is obviously a priority and the fabric choices are a little different here, compared to what Yacht 21 generally does. You may anticipate seeing a substantial amount of linen, in addition to cotton-linen and linen-rayon mixes, all of which are natural textiles that are lightweight and breathable.
“While we were trying to explore new fabrics, cuts, and styles with this collection, we noticed what Bee Yan hoped to bring to the table is to inspire more ladies—not just of her age group—to be more open-minded, less self-conscious, and try to experiment with their style,” observed Ho. “As we were trying to explore new fabrics, cuts, and styles with this collection, we noticed what Bee Yan hoped to bring to the table is to bring more ladies—not just of her age group—to the table And that was exactly what she wanted to accomplish in her own life – to encourage women of all ages to embrace ageless dressing by expressing their own inner beauty.“