By NASA MARIA ENTABAN
Photo by ONIN LORENTE
AFTER 10 years in the fashion industry, fashion director and Hanger magazine editor Sueann Chong feels like she is right where she should be.
For the past year, she has spent her days doing exactly what she loves – running Hanger, an unconventional bi-annual fashion magazine.
The 30-year-old animation graduate has gone from lugging piles of clothes around malls to use at photo shoots to conceptualising, planning, and directing her own shoots.
“Hanger is different from your regular fashion magazine. It’s not just about street fashion, not just another guide,” says Chong. “It’s youthful, playful, not serious, and I like to think that it gets people thinking when they read it. I like the fact that it doesn’t take fashion too seriously.”
The almost 200-page magazine is a pretty ecclectic mix of fashion categories, and doesn’t quite play by the rules. Almost everything can be found in it, streetwear, high street, avant garde and even couture are thrown into the mix to create unique styles that may be, at first, a little difficult to digest for regular folk.
Chong believes in the idea that fashion and style are very personal, and that the rules of mixing and matching, as well as sticking strictly to current trends – should no longer apply in today’s world, to today’s youth.
“In places like Japan, people can dress and wear whatever they want, no one will think it’s ridiculous or weird, but when someone does something quirky here, it’s a different story,” says Chong, who began her career in fashion as a “fashion assistant”.
“Everyone has to start somewhere with fashion, who are you to judge what is wrong or right?”
Having worked at a variety of publications including Cleo, OK! and Prestige magazines as well as style website Tongue In Chic, Chong’s experience includes fashion and beauty writing, styling, directing as well as conceptualising themes for fashion shoots.
The fashion enthusiast has come a long way from the days when she used to walk through malls carrying heavy shopping bags around – none of which belonged to her!
“You learn how to be careful with other people’s things. You have that fear of losing something or getting robbed,” says Chong, laughing. “It’s even quite embarassing to be walking around with all these designer bags but its not your stuff!”
Although she admits to being a bit of a chatterbox from an early age, one of the most valuable lessons Chong has learned over the years was interacting with different people.
“In OK! magazine I was a fashion and beauty writer for three years, and it was different because we had to do photoshoots with more personalities,” she explains. “There was the lookalike page, which was fun to do, because you’re dealing with emulating someone famous’ look.”
“Models are so easy to dress – they’re easy to borrow clothes for, they know how to pose and they instantly feel comfortable in front of the camera.”
Where regular people being featured in the magazine were concerned, a different sort of approach was required, one which Chong mastered almost instantly.
In the makeover sessions, I learned how to talk to people, get them comfortable. There’s a lot more interaction that goes on, they need that coaxing and boost of confidence, but once they start warming up, it’s quite cool to see how they change,” explains Chong, who also judges fashion shows and gives talks to fashion students.
At the moment Chong is putting the finishing touches on the next issue of Hanger, and making sure the rather ecclectic content and concept of the magazine remain balanced.
“You want to include different facets of fashion. You can’t have too much of one thing that would then steer it in a particular direction. You have to keep your people who like streetwear, couture, one of a kind pieces happy.
“We’re sort of like a jack of all trades trying to be master of all,” she says, grinning.