Chasing Her Dream

For many, switching careers is a daunting move. For Chew Yixin though, her decision to switch jobs could not have been more drastic. Having managed acquisition projects in the government sector prior, Yixin decided after five years, that she was going to realize her dream of becoming a fashion designer.

YiXin_005 Yixin explained: “I’ve always been interested in fashion, from the garment construction point of view. From Rei Kawakubo’s  deconstructed garments toHussein Chalayan’s  innovative pattern cutting, fashion has always excited me. I see it as the architecture for the human form that combines both art (design), and science (construction).

After spending five years in project management, I thought it was time for me to chase my dream. For me, it was now or never.”

The First Steps

In order to facilitate her switch to the fashion industry, Yixin began searching for suitable fashion design courses online. She then chanced upon a three-month full-time diploma course in Fashion Technology (Product Design & Development), offered by the Textile & Fashion Industry Training Centre ( , and decided to enroll.

On her studies, Yixin said: “Personally, it was a humbling experience to switch from engineering to the arts and design field initially, I had to learn everything from scratch again.”

During the three-month full-time course, Yixin had a lot to learn as she came across a wide variety of subjects and lessons that would equip her to become a product developer/merchandiser.

From learning about fabric identification to quality inspection and control as well as product development among other things, she was well on her way to picking up all the tools of the trade.

Dreams Versus Reality

Although Yixin was thoroughly enjoying the pursuit of her newfound education and career switch, not everybody was so sure about her choice.

She said: “My parents and peers were not very convinced that it was a wise decision at the start. It’s a general sentiment that a career in the creative field is rather challenging and might not be as rewarding, in the monetary sense.”

Yixin was determined to succeed. Her breakthrough came as she persevered, with her husband also encouraging her on. It was not too long before things started moving forward.

Seeing Results

In September 2011, Yixin emerged as second runner-up in the inaugural Fashionably Sustainable Competition, jointly organised by WDA and

Her winning entry, titled ‘Rei’, explored how consumers; fashion consumption behaviour, could be more socially responsible, through the engineering of apparel design and construction.

On hindsight, Yixin believed that it was her passion that saw her through the tough times. Upon completion of her diploma, she had to take up internships at various retails and fashion related companies for almost six months, before she landed a buyer’s job with Zalora, an online fashion retail website.

“It has not been an easy switch, as I don’t think any career switch is. But the experience at certainly prepared me on the expectations in this field. And I was able to apply some of the things I’ve learnt at my internships such as quality inspection, fabric identification, basic drafting and sewing skills. So nothing was wasted.”

Living The DreamYiXin_003 

Currently working as a junior buyer with Zalora, under the ladieswear team, managing both local and regional brands, Yixin is certain that she has made the right decision in switching careers and following her passion.

She said: “It has been great despite there being ups and downs. I always believe that it’s the passion that takes people to their maximum potential and I’m happy to be working towards my dream.” 

And coming from someone who has taken such a big leap of faith, Yixin has the following nuggets of advice for those who are thinking of switching careers or industries. “Be prepared for the change, learn as much about the new industry as best as one could, and keep an open mind.”

As the second runner-up of the Fashionably Sustainable Competition, Yixin won an entry pass to the prestigious Paris Fashion Week . Read about her experience at the Paris Fashion Week here.

The Skills Training for Excellence Programme (STEP)  is designed for Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs) to their update skills, knowledge and expertise so that they can remain competitive and employable in today’s fast changing workplace.

Please click here  for more information on the Textile & Fashion Technology WSQ Programme.

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Posted by WDA Singapore

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