Capturing Singapore's Diverse Spirit

An Exclusive Interview with Jillian Cheong, the artist behind our 2023 National Day Prints.

As National Day approaches, the spirit of unity and diversity takes center stage in Singapore. As a well-known tailor with a deep-rooted heritage in Singapore, we've embarked on a creative journey this year with local artist, Jillian Cheong, to craft 2 unique prints inspired by the nation's multicultural landscape. This exceptional collaboration merges tradition and modernity, celebrating the four main ethnicities that form the tapestry of Singapore's identity. Join us as we sit down with Jillian, the brilliant mind behind the artistic prints that pay homage to the nation's cultural diversity and the essence of "home", and delve into the inspiration, creative process, and significance of these mesmerising National Day prints.


Q1. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind these prints you've designed for National Day 2023?

Jillian: The inspiration behind these prints stemmed from the idea of "home." I wanted to capture the essence of what makes Singapore truly special - its cultural diversity and inclusivity. These prints are a celebration of unity in diversity, a quintessential aspect of what makes Singapore "home" for its citizens. 

The first print draws inspiration from Peranakan tile motifs, representing the different cultures that thrive in harmony within Singapore. Each tile in the first print is unique, just as every culture adds vibrancy and flavour to the nation's identity.

The second print, a simpler design, repeats the word "home" in various languages, symbolising the warmth and acceptance Singapore offers to people from all walks of life. the repetition of "home" in different languages signifies the togetherness that defines our home, Singapore.


Q2. How did you capture the essence of each ethnicity in the design?

Jillian: It was a captivating challenge to translate the essence of each ethnicity into a pattern. For the Chinese tile, delicate motifs reminiscent of traditional ceramics were incorporated. The Indian tile showcases geometric shapes inspired by rangoli art, while the Malay tile features flowing patterns mirroring traditional songket textiles. 

The English tile’s inspiration was different. Because English is the common language for all, I tried to think of a pattern that points to what we have in common across all people living in Singapore. Since the theme was “home”, it made me think of housing in Singapore and family. I drew inspiration from the idea of HDB flats and high-rise living, making the pattern from abstract angular lines to suggest buildings.


Q3. What was the collaborative process like between CYC Tailor and your artistic vision?

Jillian: My artistic background is in creating visual art, mostly through acrylic painting, drawing inspiration from my day to day life in Singapore. This is quite different from textile design. So while I had lots of ideas conceptually for this project, I did not know what would translate well onto fabric. I appreciate CYC Tailor for giving me the opportunity to explore my ideas and to hand-hold me through the various iterations of the designs. Their strong commitment to excellence in craftsmanship and careful attention to detail made the outcome so beautiful. It was a true partnership where our respective strengths complemented each other.

Q4.  How does this collaboration contribute to the National Day celebrations?

This collaboration embodies the essence of Singapore – a harmonious blend of cultures. The choice of red and white for these prints holds special significance, as these colours resonate deeply with most Singaporeans during National Day, symbolizing unity and patriotism. As citizens celebrate National Day, they can wear this fabric with pride, knowing it represents the unity that defines our nation.

I envision these prints fostering a sense of belonging and pride among Singaporeans. As people wear these garments, they carry a piece of Singapore's cultural heritage with them, celebrating the shared identity that unites the nation. I hope the prints evoke conversations and appreciation for the beauty of cultural diversity in our community.


Q5. Some CYC clients have already tailored this print for this year’s National Day celebration. How does it feel to see your creation being worn?

Jillian: It's an honour to have my art become a part of Singapore's cultural celebration, and having these prints available at CYC's Capitol store is incredibly meaningful. Capitol Singapore is a place where history, creativity, and craftsmanship converge. Tailoring is an art in itself, and combining it with my artistic expression feels like a beautiful fusion of creative energies. I’m glad that Singaporeans get to experience the magic of tailored garments infused with meaningful art. I hope this print serves as a reminder of our shared identity and the beauty that arises when diverse cultures come together. It's more than just a fabric; it's a symbol of our collective heritage.

As National Day approaches, CYC Tailor and Singaporean artist, Jillian Cheong, invite you to embrace Singapore's multicultural spirit through fabric prints that transcends textiles. This collaboration beautifully encapsulates the essence of unity in diversity, resonating deeply with the theme of "home" and the nation's cultural richness. With each stitch, the threads of different cultures intertwine, forming a narrative that reflects the heart and soul of our nation. Jillian's designs exemplify unity in diversity, capturing the essence of Singapore's shared identity.

As the nation prepares to celebrate National Day, these prints, now available for tailoring at CYC's Capitol store, offer customers a unique opportunity to wear bespoke garments that embody the beauty of our cultural heritage. Wear this fabric proudly, not just as attire, but as a testament to Singapore's vibrant tapestry of traditions and the harmonious coexistence that defines our nation's heart and soul.