Interview x Ewen Woo (Creative Director) | DEFY Empire Streetwear | Singapore
We recently had the chance to interview Ewen Woo, Creative Director of the Singaporean-based Streetwear & Eyewear Company “Defy Empire“.
1. What is the start-up story behind your brand?
I have been a sunglass collector for almost 20 years. I have owned hundreds of pairs and I know what people really dig and what they want to. I also love streetwear and collecting sneakers. Enough from following the trends, I realized it is time to start my own eyewear label, to fuse streetwear and eyewear together.
2. Describe your visual concepts, what is it like? What are three words that best define it?
Street + luxury + robust eyewear
3. In three words, characterize who you are.
Positive / Passionate / Relentless
4. What’s something that’s always running inside your mind lately?
Conjuring thoughts of DEFY EMPIRE sunglasses being sold in major streetwear shops worldwide, and DEFY EMPIRE getting the stamp of approval within the streetwear industry.
5. Being in your position, I’m sure it can be overwhelming with the workload. How do you achieve balance in life?
Always remember family first, stay healthy and happy
6. What’s one incident that would serve as a turning point to your life?
When my ex-boss told me that I was useless and good for nothing and tried to put me down. I was depressed and had been drinking heavily. One night drinking, It came to mind that no one could tell me that I was lousy and I was determined to turn the situation around. I started to plan what to do, quit the job, start a business, start the brand.
7. What three pieces of advice would you give to others when it comes to life & career?
– Be grateful and humble
– Be hardworking
– Be compassionate
8. What’s a typical day in your life like?
– Keeping fit/work out
– A good meal to kick off the day
– Meetings with team
– Meetings with associates
– Engaging with customers
– Dinner meeting
– Rest and relax at home (checking work emails from the comfort of home. Work never stops!)
9. What’s one of the highlighting moment in your career? Why is it so?
When a customer walked into our retail shop asking for DEFY Empire sunglasses and said he saw his friend wearing them and he thinks they are dope and want a pair himself. This story happened many times over, I am talking about hearing it the first time, it really made our day.
10. What stops you from throwing in the towel and giving up during those frustrating days of being in this industry?
I am not a quitter to start with. I chose to follow my dreams so the only way is forward.
11. Biggest risk ever taken?
Selling off all my assets to the very last dollar, to invest in the business
12. Who has influenced you most and been your greatest inspiration?
My Dad. At a time when the whole world didn’t believe in me, my dad did and gave me his support.
13. How do you go about marketing your business or yourself?
Mostly been word of mouth and some social media
14. What has been your most successful form of marketing?
15. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Semi-retired but still enjoying creating products and talking to customers, spending quality time with family and giving back to society
Retired, I hope I can be part of a system to help many unfortunate and also to conduct classes or give talks to aspiring entrepreneurs to inspire them to follow their dreams.
16. What’s the first thing you would say to the world if all attention was on you right now?
Dare to Dream, Dare to Defy
DEFY EMPIRE – What we do in life, Echoes in Eternity
For more information, make sure you guys check out the following pages to get in touch with DEFY Empire!