We had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with Jean Danker, the popular radio personality on Singapore's Number 1 English Radio Station, Class 95FM, Pilates practitioner and travel junkie. The lovely spirit shared with KALAIA how she scored her first radio gig 20 years ago, what loving life means to her and what makes her the woman she is today.
What are 3 character traits that makes you Jean Danker?
Hardworking, loving and kind.
How did you get into the radio industry?
I've always listened to the radio as a child and loved the idea of it since then. It wasn't until when I was 17 that I sent in my demo tape to the radio station. They scouted me from there and my radio journey has never stopped since!
What does #LiveForFreedom mean to you?
Allowing yourself to pursue and accomplish everything your heart desires.
How has Pilates changed you on the outside and inside?
It forces me to slow down and breathe better. With Pilates, it's not how hard and fast you do it but making sure that your breathing is correct with each movement and that you have the correct form. It definitely calms me down and centers me a lot. Physically, it makes me feel strong and lean.
Where’s your favourite soul-searching experience/destination?
So far, it's Iceland that I feel is my spiritual home. Everything about Iceland is beautiful. I went during summer last year. You could see the skies and grassy lands everywhere with gorgeous midnight sunsets. The current population in Iceland is only a little above 300, 000. They also believe in elves - what can be more magical than that?
What makes a woman stand out?
The way in which she carries herself. Confidence is so incredibly attractive in a woman so do all you can to boost your self esteem. Feeling good about yourself is key to success in everything you do.
A piece of advice you would give your 20s self?
Go out there and have more fun! I spent all my time working hard with little time to do my own thing. That being said, I wouldn't change a single thing.
How would you describe your personal style?
I'm all about feeling comfortable and being classic. With moments of fun and bling thrown in for events!
What's your favourite KALAIA piece and why?
I love the Bolivia Salt Sky Kaftan. It's so versatile and can be used on so many occasions! Plus it's super comfortable and pretty.
“The world doesn’t need another fashion brand, and there’s no point in me doing it if I’m not providing something extra.”
Coco Mercy C is the Singaporean artist behind KALAIA Label, Singapore’s first luxury bohemian designer label which was launched in October 2015. Besides designing for and launching the label, Coco also paints, and makes her own leather bags.
The KALAIA Label is pretty much a one-woman show. From designing, to fabric sourcing, to overseeing manufacturing, Coco does it all. We visited Coco in her studio and learnt that there is so much more to starting a fashion label than meets the eye.
What kick-started your journey towards becoming a fashion designer?
I started thinking about the brand about a year ago when I was studying in London. I studied at the London College of Fashion and that was where I took a course called ‘How to Start Your Own Fashion Label’. KALAIA was conceptualised when I was tasked to pitch a brand that I wanted to create.
Where do you typically draw your inspirations?
Every piece in the first collection was inspired by places I want to travel to, such as Turkey, New Zealand, Mexico, Portugal and Greece, and each piece is named after an attraction I want to visit.
Other than that, my daily inspirations are drawn from scenery and art. Nature is important to me for it creates strong emotions in me, and often makes me wonder: “What moods and feelings can I create by wearing certain clothing?”
KALAIA is an interesting name. Is there a story behind the name and what does it represent?
It is inspired by the Calla Lily, which is actually not a flower even though it looks like one. It is an evolved leaf, and reminds me of a bohemian-like wrap dress.
“KALAIA” is a variation of the original Greek word for Calla Lily. The properties of the Calla Lily have a lot of meaning, and I feel that it really represents the brand. It can be used for both mourning and celebration, and is a resilient plant that can grow in both hot and cold climates. This is what KALAIA is about; it is a brand built for the modern woman who has a mind of her own, and is not afraid to do what she wants. I want the brand to be an enabler of that spirit within a woman, and thus the Calla Lily.
Do you have any advice for those who dream of creating their own fashion label?
If conditions allow you to do something, do it now. A great idea does not wait for you. If you have a great idea, a hundred different people might have the same idea as you do and someone is going to do it more quickly. So you should just act on it now.
As seen on: Wallflowers
As seen on iNCH: Sicily Sunset Kimono
As seen on iNCH: Bahamas Waterfall Kaftan
We are finally on this space!
After 16 months of hard work, we are finally able to present KALAIA to the world. We can't wait to share more of our story in time to come.
Here at KALAIA, we are obsessed with nature, art and exploration. In this space, we will gather new ideas, thoughts, places and writings. This blog is about sharing our inspirations and maybe even help you find your own.
It's not all fashion, it's about you, our lives and everything around that touch us.
We can’t wait to start this journey with you!