I Read Books Like I Devour Ice Cream


Ethel's ideal morning would consist of a MacDonald’s breakfast in one hand and a book in the other. And the way to her heart is definitely through books. As Ernest Hemingway puts it, “There is no friend as loyal as a book”, and here she reveals to you some of her loyal friends that have inspired and shaped her life:



1. The Holy Bible

The bible was pretty much my bible when I was working on my fashion collection for my Final Year Project back in 2009. I’m a Christian and I find myself always drawing parallels between stories in the bible and real life. The inspiration for my menswear collection came from the story of The Prodigal Son. I realised that although the story is centuries old, it is ageless and reflects the modern day us. The modern day us who participate in capitalism and commercialism with no resistance; who live life trying to fit in and chase frivolous pursuits without really living 

2. Turn Left, Turn Right by Jimmy Liao

I am always inspired by books that make me think (which is astoundingly rare in today’s age of the Internet) and am a sucker for romantic happy endings – therefore I was easily won over by the cute and dreamy illustrations and the theme of hope and love in this book. A man and a woman meet and fall in love, but fate deals them a cruel hand and they end up separated and un-contactable. However, because of their love for each other, they eventually find each other again. This made me realise how hope springs forth when we have love in our hearts (not necessarily only confined to the romantic kind) and that we are never really alone!

3. Illustration School: Let’s Draw Happy People by Sachiko Umoto

Although I graduated from design school, I’ve never really had a flair for drawing and thus have always been insanely envious of people who do. I remember gritting my teeth and forcing myself through many classes of 2D drawing which did nothing for my battered ego when I compared my works to my friends’. However, when I chanced upon this book, I realised that it wasn’t so tough after all but that it all boiled down to this top secret which I am about to reveal to you: Learning begins by imitating and it’s all about practice, practice and practice.  


4. Elle Girl Korea April 2011

I have been a magazine junkie since time immemorial and part of my fashion style is influenced by magazines. This particular issue of Elle Girl Korea takes the cake though, as almost every fashion spread in the magazine screams ‘me’. I can flip through this magazine again and again and still my interest never wanes. Whenever I’m in need of some style inspiration, I will reach out for this mag and voila! fresh inspiration hits me.


5. Fashion Now 2 by Taschen

This book was my fashion bible for three years in design school. If you want to know the who’s who of fashion, then this is the book for you. This book consists of a selection of 160 important fashion designers and is so thick that it can choke a donkey. It was this tome that equipped me with the fashion knowledge that was needed and schooled me in the ways of the creatives which inspired me and influenced me as a designer. - Ethel Wee