uglypretty : making imperfections a trendy aesthetic

by Haida YusofJune 29, 2019

Look around you and it is hard not to notice that we are jammed with images of perfectionism; females in perfectly set hair and sculpted bodies, frilly dresses and cute totes on IG that is a magnet for followers to stalk and enthusiastically push the like button for approval.  Enter UglyPretty, an Instagram page in the midst of the polished, Staud-bucket-bag-toting crowd stirring the idea of how flaws, the weird and unfamiliar could also be considered attractive to the eyes too. Here to shake-ff your one-dimensional standard of beauty, we talked to the founder and page-runner of the new fashion label, Daren.

Hey Daren, so tell us a little bit about you to our readers!
Hey! I’m Daren, I’m from Penang, and I studied Fashion Design & Pattern Making with Esmod Kuala Lumpur under The One Academy. I’m currently running my own fashion brand on Instagram, it’s called UglyPretty.
So why did you start UglyPretty and how did it came about?
I love fashion, and I love designer pieces, but I can’t afford any of them. So I started thrift shopping. I love the victorious feeling of coming out of thrift stores with cool new pieces after having spent a few hours flipping through hundreds of clothing. Also it’s cheap haha! You’d also be surprised as to what wonderful things you can find because one mans trash, is another mans treasure. I eventually got bored of my old clothes, but I didn’t want to throw them away either — so I started reworking them, not really giving it much thought. It really kickstarted when my friends started complimenting my clothes, asking me where I got them, and surprising them even more when I told them it was my own designs. So I thought, what if I sold my designs, and see if people would like it or not.
What inspired you to start UglyPretty and  walk through with us on how you aim to subvert the context of beauty in today’s standards?
When I started UglyPretty, I wanted people to know that fashion isn’t just about wearing expensive clothing. You don’t need a lot of money to be fashionable.
As to why I named my page as UglyPretty? The word “pretty” is always, and has always been too definite. Who’s to say what is ugly and what is pretty. Beauty, is so subjective, and to me, is definitely in the eyes of the beholder. Some people find my work ugly, some otherwise. So why not just join them both, right?
Everyone’s talking about sustainable fashion and upcycling is trending, but what are your thoughts about that?
It definitely started off as a trend (especially 70s 80s fashion trends are making a major comeback) but I’d like to think it’s for the right reasons and not just another bandwagon that’ll be forgotten in a few years. It needs to be brought to attention as to why fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, especially fast fashion. The overproduction of clothes is damaging the environment. Buy clothes that you’ll actually use more than once — buying second hand clothing doesn’t necessarily mean you’re leading a sustainable lifestyle. Yes, you’re minimizing your carbon footprint, but if you’re going to over buy, then it completely defeats the purpose. We live in a period where it’s absolutely necessary for us to be wary of the damage that we’re causing our environment.
Do you have a favorite Insta page you stalk yourself?
My faves are @ryon01, @cupidsvault , @sakuran_is_ , @ballballchiu , @sinsingchow and @hatti_rees
Do you have a muse in mind when you do your designs?
Yes! Lady Gaga is and has always been my muse since I started creating. I’m too, also obsessed with Comme Des Garçons. Rei Kawakubo is my ultimate favourite designer. Her odd silhouettes, unfinished raw edges and deconstructed looks play a heavy influence on my work and is the reason why I love avant garde fashion so much. She’s got a brilliant mind and I’d love to meet her someday.
What’s the future like for UglyPretty?
I know it might sound weird, but I hope people don’t just see UglyPretty as a fashion brand. It’s a small platform for me to express myself, not just through fashion, but also anything that’s related to the arts. I’d like for UglyPretty to collaborate with local artists and designers in the future.