Live And Let Live

Text and interview by Annabelle Fernandez
Photography by Jovian Lim

When you’ve chosen to follow the path that leads you to do what you love, honing your craft is a seamless—and essential—part of how you work, play and live. And when that craft is your passion, the thing that drives you through the day, there’s no distinction between work and play. Similarly, if there was one fabric that could transcend time, place and occasion, allowing its wearer the freedom to partake in all the activities following his or her heart entails, denim would be it.

Inspired by the myriad of stories shared by their customers about what they do—and have done—in their Levi’s, Live in Levi’s celebrates the real-life moments, the times when you really live; and how even as you go through the ups and downs of the roller coaster of life, one thing remains a constant—the authentic right to individualism and self-expression through your choice of clothing.

With that understanding in mind, three creatives—each of whom have chosen to dedicate their lives to pursuing a different craft based on their individual passions—were invited to customise Levi’s 501 jeans based on their personal experiences with the brand; the unique quirks that come through while they are immersed in their craft; things they might not even realise are happening, but occur while they are living life as they know it.

Telling tales of jeans that have taken them through periods of self-discovery, of finding out where their chosen paths lie; and of the things that both ground them as well as spur them to keep dreaming and creating; experienced through that most democratic of fabrics and clothing, we see the results of what happens when you work, play and live your craft.

Whether you’re a barista lovingly brewing a cuppa, an illustrator sketching a scene from the depths of your memory, or a programmer developing a software you know is going to change the world as we know it, you’re doing what you love; working, playing and living while safe in the knowledge that your constant companion, the Levi’s that have seen you through it all, are going to be part of that story.

Here, we unveil the stories told by our chosen creatives—Jacky Lee, Jerry Goh and Tan Zixi—via the always-ready-to-be-customised canvas that is Levi’s 501 jeans. Read on to find out more about their inspirations on these pages, and interact with the personalised pieces in real life by checking out the creative installations on exhibit at selected Levi’s stores.

OF DIRTY HANDS
Illustrator Tan Zixi (better known as Messymsxi) turned a naughty habit into something beautiful.

let and let live levis

Please share with us what you do for work.

I work independently as a full-time illustrator, on commercial projects like advertisements and children’s books; and creative projects with museums and fashion labels.

Once a client hands you the brief, what happens next? Please describe your creative process.

The first thing I do is research. Research opens me up to new ideas, and narrows down the perimeters of how I’d like to develop my work. Thereafter, I do up a mood board to assist the client in visualising my direction and concepts.

What helps to get you inspired?

I find beauty in the vernacular, I find misadventures intriguing and I enjoy watching documentaries on modern issues. I am intrigued by one’s (sometimes my own) unusual experiences or even mishaps. There is always something quirky within these incidents that informs the stories in my work. Being able to laugh about an unfortunate incident helps me make life that bit lighter, especially when I address serious topics.

OF REMNANTS OF OTHERS
For creative director Jerry Goh, the left-behind sights, smells and sounds eventually become part of him.

let and let live levis

Please share with us what you do for work.

I am a creative director at Hjgher by day, and Underscore by night.

Once a client hands you the brief, what happens next? Please describe your process.

We sit down with the client for a therapy session, finding out the needs and wants. Back in the studio, extensive research is done before everyone addresses the brief with their own interpretation. There is no hierarchy at Hjgher—finding a solution is a collective effort.

What helps to get you inspired?

Inspiration comes to me most when I am in solitude—reading, listening to music, or travelling. Sights and sounds that I consume, encounters I have on the road, they become ghosts living in me; manifesting in the “inspiration” drawer inside my head.

OF FIRST TIMES
Director Jacky Lee reaffirmed his love for film, music and the city of Melbourne.

let and let live levis

Please share with us what you do for work.

I’m an independent filmmaker and an adjunct lecturer at Temasek Polytechnic.

Once a client hands you the brief, what happens next? Please describe your process.

I brainstorm and settle the pre-production logistics. If everything is done properly in pre-production, the production phase is usually the easiest.

What helps to get you inspired?

Travelling helps. I often find myself attracted to how a city is built and lit—I would say I’m inspired by architecture and light, both natural and man-made.

Read more in The U Press N˚7 (Singapore edition).