Here’s to the threads that hold us together

UNDA x Narelle ; Threads is a collab that highlights the underlinings in our lives.
THREADS works off basic, blank, black & white canvases - A shirt, a dress, a pair of pants, and of course, a UNDA & Narelle fav - the corset, served to you in all glorious basic extremes - Yin & Yang, night & day… black & white.

But look closer and you’ll see the sparks of colour in the lining - in the threads.
Narelle’s music project came in 3 parts and chronicles her emotional journey of exploring the negativity that pervades her life. Purple, that she sees as destructive feminine power, her indulgence into toxic protective behaviour ; Blue, that reflects that underlying sadness of hurt and her process of validating and accepting it; and finally, Orange, the somewhat hurrah at the end of some heavy shit. Because in the acknowledgment of extremes - life is painful, but also hilarious.

THREADS is a nod to the experiences that make us human, the experiences that forge connection, and the connections that eventually become collabs~
VW & N: We are not the type that would talk to each other all the time but we have always felt an affinity from each other. Here are little bits and pieces of our encounters in life.

VW: Seven years ago I just graduated from Lasalle College of the Arts and started my own little venture of UNDA into ceramics and leather crafting. UNDA was created with a lifestyle concept in mind and later evolved into fashion. I wanted to gift Narelle my creation because I felt like she would appreciate things without placing a value on it. She then asked me out for supper and I could remember vividly I was so nervous because I'm an introvert. She came and picked me up from my place and we went for prata at Simpang Bedok. Ended up talking for hours.

N: 4 years ago I was at ECP skating, I fell, heard 3 loud cracks and a “NARELLLEEE…?” , it was Val. Haha! She was skating at the other corner of the skate park with her friends and saw from afar how I "flew" and fell.

VW: 2 years ago, I attended a wedding of my boyfriend's friend in Pattaya Thailand which happened to be the drummer that played for Sam Willows. When I sat down, I saw Narelle at my table. What a coincidence!

N: Last year Val texted me to do a collaboration. I said: "Let's do it!!!"


VW: I have always wanted to collaborate with Narelle as I am attracted to her personality. As someone who is conservative with sharing my thoughts to the public, seeing how Narelle is always so open with sharing her views and vulnerability inspired me somehow. I am reminded that it is okay to be not my perfect self all the time. Being in this industry where everyone strives to be perfect and I’m quite the perfectionist myself, at certain point it can be very harrowing. When I listen to her song Blue sometime before Christmas last year, I got invested in it unknowingly. The lyrics are relatable, I would say it is part of the things that pushes me to persevere with UNDA. That was when I had a sudden flashing image of her in a blue dress so I immediately sent her a text to ask her if she would like to do a collaboration.

N: I was like HELL YEAHHH! I've been a huge fan of UNDA, Val makes literally all my favourite pants, I get compliments on them every time I wear them out. Style wise, it is also a perfect fit for me - just feminine just boyish just edgy enough. The kinda stuff you two people could wear and look completely different. I also thought that it would be a fun process, we have similar attitudes towards life and work and at this point in my life I really appreciate that. also.. mm.. fyi.. the blue dress never got made.
N: I wanna say too long and just long enough. We really took our time with this process. Initially, we wanted to release it together with my album drop but y'know.. covid. I'm really thankful for that because the one thing I’ve learnt these two years is.. OTOT. Neither of us wanted this collab to feel like “work” where we had deadlines to meet and to overwork ourselves for the output.

VW: I feel taking a year long to complete this collab was comfortable for us both. Personally, I don't believe in rushing into things especially when it requires a lot of emotions and thought process. We need time to absorb and for the mind to find its way. I guess that’s why the blue dress ended up being eliminated.
VW: The initial idea was to create an entire collection based on the flashing image I had and the colour scheme would revolve around different shades of blue. Whereas, Narelle felt like the song blue was created as a series with outta my head (purple) and the newest complicated love song (orange) as there was already a flow to it. I think that was a good idea, everything pieces well together.

We worked around these 3 colours for quite a while but it didn’t felt exactly right. We couldn’t agree on 1 colour for 1 design.

We decided to start from scratch again, back to a blank canvas and we took out all colours to focus on the design which led to the idea of coloured threads, subtle but constant.
N: We then restarted with the silhouettes. I wanted a dress and classic UNDA pants and of course, the crop top! We threw in a shirt because UNDA is women-centric and also catered more towards petite sizes, we wanted something that’s more open and gender neutral at the same time. The materials were my favourite part. The chiffon polyester mix was so fun, we decided to contrast that with more structured denim and I love the combo in the pants and crop top. Eventually, we decided on black and white with a touch of colour in the threading.

Describe your first clothing collaboration experience.

N: Wow I really learnt a lot. Making clothes that fit, that look good, that feel comfortable, materials, where it creases/bulges... so much to look out for to make one piece of garment. Mainly I’m glad I got to do this with Val, getting to know each other better and experiencing this empathetic creative process. This covid year has been quite taxing on me - feeling stuck and tired, but diving into a new craft is really liberating! 

V: I have always been working on UNDA's design on my own as I am used to planning things at my own pace and to be honest, I can only plan and make decision based on my own perspective. Working with Narelle who is more free-spirited on this allows me to have a new perspective on creating clothing and it was a joy working with her. That also inspired me to be more open with collaborations and I am excited to see what is in store for me in the near future.

Happy to announce UNDA’s first collab with @narellekheng.
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