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ROOM DIARIES: Arissa Cheo Gets Down To Business

The budding entrepreneur spills the deets on her upcoming labels, Arissa X and AxJ BEAUTÉ.

You can tell a lot about a person by looking at her room. For Singapore-based entrepreneur Arissa Cheo, it’s a reflection of her interests, influences and experiences. Framed childhood photographs, prints of animals both real and mythical, unicorns of various forms, shelves of books and rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia fill her cosy purple and black-themed room. There are racks of shoes and clothing, too, of course, right alongside a sizeable trove of accessories and makeup. It’s a bit of a Wonderland of sorts, with interesting bits and bobs lurking at every corner. It’s got a real personal touch, which may explain why we felt so comfortable while raiding her room.

In a similar way, Arissa’s soon-to-debut ready-to-wear and beauty lines, fittingly named Arissa X and AxJ BEAUTÉ, are a reflection of who she is in terms of style. Scheduled to make its big reveal at Singapore Fashion Week in October, Arissa describes her label as “tough yet luxe, hardcore girly infused with a little rock ‘n’ roll”. Excited yet? We’ll leave the rest of the talking to her. (Ahem, ahem, we also managed to get a first look at her upcoming accessory collection. Lucky you.)

First things first – what’s with all the unicorns?
I’ve always been enthralled by mythical creatures like unicorns, mermaids and fairies. It also stems from my fascination with fairytales when I was a child.


That’s a huge shoe collection. Which pairs are your go-tos?
Currently, my go-to shoes are sneakers from Saint Laurent and Converse. My staples/must-haves wherever I go are always platform booties.


You’re quite the beauty junkie. What are the beauty products you swear by?
YSL’s Touche Éclat and mascara, Giorgio Armani’s Luminous Silk Compact Powder, Chanel’s Kohl eyeliner and a pink-nude lip colour, and Clé de Peau’s Refining Press Powder for touch-ups when I’m out.


How about your all-time favourite lip colours?
For pink-nudes, Tom Ford’s Blush Nude or YSL’s Rouge Pur Couture in 06. My favourite red lip colour is Unicorn Blood by Jeffree Star.


You’re influenced by rock ‘n’ roll. What’s always on your playlist?
Besides rock ‘n’ roll like Def Leppard, Guns N’ Roses and David Bowie etc. I also listen to all kinds of other music like Goldfrapp, Late Night Alumni, Muse, some French music like Jane Birkin and Vanessa Paradis, as well as some hip-hop and R&B. My all-time favourite artistes are Aaliyah and Michael Jackson.


Tell us a little bit about your brand, Arissa X. What can we expect from it? 
It’s very much based on my personal style and the things I love, but conveyed with my own take on it. I’ve always been inspired by everything around me, from icons like Michael Jackson, Brigitte Bardot and Aaliyah to fashion and popular culture, as well as my travels around the world. While translating all those elements into the brand, however, I made sure of making the pieces wearable and versatile because the Arissa X girl is all about comfort and looking casually put-together in mixing up the looks.

My brand is about knowing what’s up with fashion, but not taking it too seriously. And, in that same vein, sticking to contradictory themes – tough yet luxe, hardcore girly infused with a little rock ‘n’ roll, silhouettes that are slouchy but somewhat structured.


What about AxJ BEAUTÉ? As a beauty junkie, creating your own cosmetics must be quite thrilling.
It’s still in the works and my partner Julie and I are first going to come up with a capsule line of rock ‘n’ roll lipsticks. The beauty industry is very much like fashion, whereby trends come and go really quickly. Previously, I was content with just the basic everyday cosmetics that the average girl uses, but since starting AxJ, I’ve been keeping up consistently with what’s new via YouTube’s many beauty vloggers. It’s amazing to see how creative these people can get with makeup. Needless to say, with the amassed knowledge of cosmetics, it has simultaneously expanded the size of my makeup collection.


How has the process of creating your own label been?
It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I’ve dabbled in it before with Carte Blanche X, but it’s on a much larger scale this time as I’m focusing purely on my own brand. Previously, we mainly brought in other brands and only produced basic apparel and accessories. There’s a lot more to consider now with clothes, like the cut, construction, fabrics and colours.

There were many times when we wanted to achieve certain things but were unable to as it didn’t work as a collection, or it’d be too expensive, retail-wise. While creating Arissa X, we were determined to make the collection affordable as well. We had to make those decisions of excluding certain details or using different fabrics so that the collection stays within a reasonable price range while not compromising the quality of the pieces. I’ll also be venturing into eyewear and footwear with Arissa X. The stakes are high, but it’s definitely been an eye-opening and rewarding experience.


Why now?
Before, I would always talk about it and take little steps to get to a destination where it seemed I would never reach. At the start of 2016, I made up my mind to just plunge into whatever I set out to do as life’s too short to procrastinate and not take risks. Also, the time seems right and the appropriate platforms presented themselves. Hence, I decided to go all out with my brand this year.


Finally – when will the first collections for Arissa X and AxJ BEAUTÉ be revealed?
We will be debuting the first ready-to-wear line, Arissa X Collection N° 1, at Singapore Fashion Week this year, but a capsule collection of accessories and bags will be available soon on ARISSA-X.com. Same for AxJ BEAUTÉ.

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