Yesah founder and DJ Linda Hao was never going to stop at just one creative pursuit.
Born in Suzhou, China, Hao’s parents were part of the booming bridal business of their generation. She attended Temasek Polytechnic in Singapore, where she studied apparel design and merchandising.
“I was lucky enough to be growing up in a very creative, design-oriented environment. Designing with fabrics and creating art with my hands was always something that was natural to me since I was very young.”
“I’ve watched my mum sourcing for materials, and drafting in the studios since I was five-years-old. I bet she was designing a gown while I was still in her belly! But she has had an influence on my design, whether I’m conscious of it or not. And she’s my number one supporter in anything I create.”
Immediately after graduating, she set about launching her own label, Yesah.
However, there was a change in direction after Linda launched her ‘Tibet Dreaming Collection’ in the fall of 2015.
“Yesah is still in operation today, but I’m not producing any new collections. Due to personal reasons, I had to stop and really ask myself what it is I wanted to do in life. And I stopped believing in fashion. Not art, or design, or the skills involved. Just ‘fashion’ as a term and what was associated with it.”
Linda then turned her attention to music – which has always been her best companion, and the source of much of her inspiration.
“Music gives me space to imagine in my head. And through nature, I found my own voice and direction. With these two hand in hand, it inspires me to create with no boundaries. It’s a very liberating experience every single time. It allows me to just be.”
And for creative souls like Linda’s, nothing could be more important than freedom.
“After I made the decision to leave that industry, I was experiencing a huge transition. I’m not aiming at anything career-wise, but I’m not stopping myself from learning and dreaming big. A career can often short-change us and limit us in certain ways. I’m still young, and hungry for more skills and knowledge about things that I never had the time to learn. So currently, I’m on a serious journey of self-discovery.”
It isn’t just in her professional fields that Linda is finding herself, either. After moving to Singapore at a young age, she often struggled with her cultural identity.
“I didn’t like to identify myself as Chinese when I was young. Living in such a foreign landscape was difficult to me as a child. I was often judged as a ‘P.R.C’ (a label of mockery for mainland Chinese people in Singapore) and many people avoided getting close to me because I was different.”
“I’m grateful now for having had that experience, because it made me stronger. Any time I face difficulty in life, it motivates me to do even better. So here I am, a real survivor. And now, growing up and truly acknowledging my roots, it brings me a lot closer to my identity as a Chinese person.”
While Hao embarks on this journey of self-discovery – it is her parents that continue to encourage this expression of artistic freedom.
“They have always loved the fact that I’m creative. And they’ve been very open-minded about me wanting to try different things in life.”
“To truly be creative, one needs space and allowance. And I believe anyone can be creative if they’re allowed to be.”
You can follow Linda on her Instagram.