Amanda S. is the “High Priestess” at FALSE.
Along with her partner Le Messie, the two have built an empire of brands under the main umbrella of FALSE, housing various preceding brands including ‘Better Off Dead’, ‘Fallacy Of Rome’, ‘FALSE Sounds’, and ‘Fucked Up Fiends’..
The designs created from Singapore label FALSE often presents dark tones, with designs that make you read between the lines, and strong influences to mysterious aesthetics that often draws about a deep question into the relation of Le Messie’s art and its viewer – which let’s be honest, is rather difficult to achieve.
The goods and crafts produced by the talented duo of FALSE (aka Amanda and Le Messie) should be thought of as more than just a piece of clothing or a fashion item to add to your wardrobe. FALSE hand-crafts their goods manifesting a substance and message that very few are able to achieve in the industry today.
You must own a piece to really feel and know the difference. I was given a piece from their collection late last year and trust me, the difference is there.
Get to know more about FALSE in a rare interview with the label’s co-founder Amanda S.
1. Introduce yourself.
Hi I’m Amanda, one half of the FALSE duo (the other half being my partner, husband and creative director Le Messie). We are the original Hand-Screen duo and are sometimes most known for starting the brand ‘Better Off Dead’, the originator and influencer of High Fashion Satire.
2. You have a lot of independent brands under (the) head label FALSE. Why so many, and what does each brand (including FALSE) represent?
The FALSE Brand is our passion, our past, our present and our future. It was the platform we needed to realise our creative expression as a duo and was the springboard for our follow up projects.
We never consciously decided to have a gamut of brands under one roof, but there were so many ideas we wanted to see come to light and FALSE wasn’t necessarily the right domain to house each creative project. So a new brand was born from a new creative project and when we saw that it had the capacity to stand on its own two feet, we would launch it and let it take off.
At the root of all brands they all represent resistance. Be it resistance against mainstream media, retail, thought control or manipulation.
3. What have you (and Le Messie) learnt the most about being entrepreneurs, especially in a creative field?
I can’t speak for Messie. But I have learnt that nothing is permanent, everything is connected intricately and you have to be always willing to evolve.
4. In what ways has being based in Singapore influenced your brand in terms of the creative process and designs?
Living in Singapore was initially our Achilles heel in an industry where relationships are built on face-time with respected individuals in media, retail and production. We were always so far away from the melting pot of ‘action’ at bi-annual trade shows or bumping into people at parties, launches etc.
We were forced to rely solely on our craft to speak for itself, rather than our personalities or entertainment budgets… Because of this we were forced to carve out for ourselves a craft in which we could master, something entirely tangible that would let our product speak for itself, that is how we applied ourselves to the art of hand-screening.
Creatively, being in Singapore meant Messie had fresh eyes, he wasn’t at the same parties, eating the same food, drinking the same drinks, watching the same advertisements – which means he wasn’t influenced the same way. This is why he has been able to constantly evolve his design sensibilities without losing sight of his message.
5. A lot of your designs take inspiration from various high-end labels. What kinds of things do you think led to this intersection of high-fashion and street wear?
It’s a conundrum. High Fashion was borne from haute couture and eventually transcended into pret-a-porter or ready to wear as a means of broadening their reach and finding a grasp on the upper to middle class society or the newly minted working class woman in the 50’s. The generic t-shirt and jeans were meant for the blue collar worker and this was true till the 80’s, when jeans and t-shirts became the play clothes of the ‘upper class’ and designers like Ralph Lauren, Versace, Giorgio Armani and the like capitalised on the ‘laid back’ look and made it their own.
Street wear was born from sneaker culture but in essence it was born from a culture of hunters. A group of guys hunting for that one amazing t-shirt graphic, never seen before, not in any stores, magazines, movies or seen on any celebrity. Brands started to emerge, building their niche and before long, there Messie was re-appropriating high fashion, breaking down those illusions of logos or names that hold weight.
Then, like high fashion… capitalism set in. It exploded into main stream, but not before high fashion realised that street wear was onto something. It was then brands like Givenchy and Alexander McQueen started adopting the imagery seen in street wear and applying it to their brand.
6. What’s a typical day like for you?
I wake up at 7am, swim 1km, have a shower, feed our 5 cats and dog, make my day’s supply of fresh fruit & veggie juice, and then we get to work hand-screening and it goes on till either we are done or we can’t physically keep going.
7. And what happens after 5pm?
Most days we are still printing, otherwise we are shipping orders out, replying emails or sleeping… I gotta get the proper sleep in to print the next day. 🙂
8. How would you define your approach to style?
Classic, simple, black.
9. In terms of defining eras, where do you see street culture at present?
And it is both a shame and a blessing. It’s unfortunate that the culture has blown up so disproportionately and left it as nothing much more than just regular fashion. However it is from such death that there are some true purists that keep the culture close to their chests and are slowly but surely carving out the next era of niche culture.
10. Pay it forward: What’s the best advice you’ve received that you would happily share with others?
“Who are you not to live up to your potential? Today when you doubt your worthiness, doubt the doubt!”
This has been a constant reminder to always keep trying to apply myself 100% to everything that I do with all the passion and courage I can muster.