fashion . Interview

Check Out These Stylish Reimagined Occupation Wear For Women

Slaying it at work

Fashion is more than just aesthetics. It can also be a reflection of the changing times For instance, the ubiquitous white tee was once considered a manly man’s workwear but is now worn by almost everyone, even touted as a fashionable piece today.


At the same time, fashion can also be an agent of change. It can uplift our mood, influence our perception and, in some cases, signal a new era. This is what Singaporean designers Lynn Chua, Florence Ang, Fan JingHan, Josephine Ho, Alan Tan, Mahesi, Sylvia Lim had in mind when they reimagined several occupation wear for women.


Reimagined Occupation Wear For Women NTUC


Showcased by the Women and Family Unit of Singapore's National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) to highlight that women can set out and excel in their chosen career pathway, these fresh designs were created to empower women in professions generally regarded for men — plumber, security guard, crane operator among others — whilst sending the message that they are open to women too. Ahead, take a peek behind the scenes and learn more about each piece from their designers.


Reimagined plumber workwear by Mahesi


Plumber workwear by Mahesi


Why did you choose to redesign this particular occupation workwear?


I was inspired by the story of an 80-year-old lady plumber in Singapore. I wanted to design a comfortable yet very useful and functional outfit that suits the hot weather conditions in Singapore.


Why do you think there is a need to reimagine occupation workwear?


Reimagining (the workwear) opens new opportunities for women and encourage them to go into new professions.


How does this redesign aim to empower women in this occupation?


The redesign will be an eye-opening experience for women. By seeing and hearing about real women in these uncommon professions, it will definitely empower those who are seeking new opportunities.


New look for the Retail Assistant by Florence Ang


Retail Assistant workwear by Florence Ang


Why did you choose to redesign this particular occupation workwear?


I feel that it is quite relatable (to me) as I’ve been working part-time jobs in a similar industry. Hence, I think I can understand what is needed and preferred for this industry.


Why do you think there is a need to reimagine occupation workwear?


I believe that women’s outfit can be more towards the feminine side instead of always following the male’s garments. Like the pockets (for example), female’s pants pockets often have smaller capacity due to their size and for trying to make them look slim, but for this reimagined retail assistant workwear, I’ve added a larger pocket bag to have a bigger capacity and it still looks slim and fitting.


How does this redesign aim to empower women in this occupation?


Having a mix of Oriental and Victorian style at the neckline, it shows a more feminine style. Why should the majority of the uniforms be more male-oriented when they can be feminine too, right? Also, the redesign allows the ladies to be more comfortable with the coverage while boosting their confidence in what they wear to work each day.


Redesigned service crew uniform by Fan JingHan


Service crew uniform by Fan JingHan


Why did you choose to redesign this particular occupation workwear?


I feel that most of the uniforms in the food and beverage industry are either too formal or too boring. For example, you always see them wearing t-shirts, polo tees and formal shirts. I want to make it a little more fashionable.


Why do you think there is a need to reimagine occupation workwear?


To stand out from the norm. I once went to a restaurant in Singapore, the interior was well designed and it gave off that Southeast Asian vibe. I was greeted by a manager wearing clothing from the late 80s and it felt very welcoming. It’s the garment that makes it special and unique.


How does this redesign aim to empower women in this occupation?


This redesigned workwear is specially designed for women, to make women look good, feel confident and be fashionable at the same time. Inspired by the French 18th-century fashion which is well known for its elegance and sophisticated style, I’ve added gathers and puff details to give the garment a more feminine touch.


Refreshed security guard uniform by Lynn Chua


Security guard uniform by Lynn Chua


Why did you choose to redesign this particular occupation workwear?


I was given the opportunity by my company, ESTA PTE LTD, to design a female security guard uniform so I went ahead with the design thinking process and did my research.


Why do you think there is a need to reimagine occupation workwear?


To encourage more women to have the balance of feeling polished and confident in their workplace, alongside that extra sense of style and creativity.


How does this redesign aim to empower women in this occupation?


Many people might think that security officers are mostly men. Clothing is a vehicle for making humans feel more empowered and comfortable, be it at work or in daily life. Thus, I hope by redesigning the security officer uniform in a more fashionable, sustainable and stylish way, it will be able to empower more women in this occupation.

Revamped harbour pilot workwear by Alan Tan


Harbour pilot workwear by Alan Tan


Why did you choose to redesign this particular occupation workwear?


Most of the time when women are in harbour pilot uniforms it’s always boxy and shapeless. When I did my research, the uniform women wore is practically the same as the men’s uniform. Thus, this made me want to redesign the typical uniform look for the women working as a harbour pilot.


Why do you think there is a need to reimagine occupation workwear?


We are in a modern society where I see men and women have equal rights and opportunity to work in whichever job scope they are in. Thus, why should the women’s uniforms be so unflattering and not stylish?


How does this redesign aim to empower women in this occupation?


Long gone are the days when women are always at home or behind the scenes. With this redesign, I hope to create a more stylised, lightweight and easy-to-move-around comfortable uniform for the women working as harbour pilots.


Improved workwear for female crane operators and technicians by Sylvia Lim


Female crane operators and technicians workwear by Sylvia Lim


Why did you choose to redesign these occupation workwear?


I chose to redesign crane operator and technician uniforms because both occupations are probably the most masculine on the list. This means that the scope of designing can be fun, interesting and revolutionary.


Why do you think there is a need to reimagine occupation workwear?


There is a need to reimagine occupation workwear for women, because if you google search the workwear for a female crane operator and technician, one is presented with a repertoire of masculine silhouettes, boxy cuts that are not flattering on a lady’s silhouette. If we are encouraging more women to assume these jobs, the uniforms cannot be gender-neutral, less so masculine. We spend an average of 50 hours a week at work, so the prerequisite for her outfit ought to appeal and be comfortable enough to stand the test of long wears.


How do these redesigned pieces aim to empower women in this occupation?


To empower is to transfer that power and authority. The brief that I gave myself was to create an outfit that brings out confidence in the wearer. For the crane operator’s outfit, I designed a short jacket/top with a peplum silhouette with matching jophur pants. I flatter the silhouette further with colour blocking in fuchsia pink on quilted detailing at the waist. The jumpsuit designed for the technician has a cinched waistline and a play on colour blocking in grey and fuchsia which brings out the femininity of the wearer.

Feminine makeover for urban farmer and confinement nanny workwear by Josephine Ho


Urban farmer and confinement nanny workwear by Josephine Ho


Why did you choose to redesign these occupation workwear?


Both occupations remind me of the two people who are very close to me. The urban farmer reminded me of my mum. She has been into gardening for more than 30 years, and I must admit, she has very good “green hands”. From a small corridor outside her HDB unit to now having a small plot of land in a community garden given by the government, she has grown wonders. From basic plants like money plant, cactus, chilli to organic greens like winter melon, kale, butterhead, kangkong, it’s really amazing. And I picked confinement nanny because it reminds me of my mother-in-law. She had taken great efforts in handling the confinement for both my first and second sons. She has great experience in handling her own children and she is really good at whipping up nutritional and healthy confinement food.


Why do you think there is a need to reimagine occupation workwear?


The urban farmer works with nature, growing greens in nature, using ways that are not harmful to the environment, doing their part by leading a sustainable lifestyle. So I want to do my part by producing sustainable workwear for them by using eco-friendly organic cotton and upcycling. As for confinement nanny workwear, mummies definitely want their newborns to be in an environment as safe as possible, so having the confinement nanny wearing organic cotton attire is the best way to assure the new mummies that the babies are in good hands.


How do these redesigned pieces aim to empower women in this occupation?


I hope that with our eye-catching, comfortable and fashionable workwear, we could inspire other women to step up and get back into the workforce. I want the women who wear these to feel feminine, yet look smart and important in their workwear, giving them great confidence while carrying out their duties.


Seeing these redesigned occupation wear, we are reminded of fashion's power to make subtle yet impactful changes. A new, more comfortable silhouette can give someone the freedom to move better and accomplish their job with ease. Giving a uniform a more fashionable flair can uplift the wearer's mood. And giving workwear a feminine touch communicates an inspirational message that women are welcome.


Which reimagined occupation workwear is your favourite?


Next, learn how to dress for a job in fashion.