Living the Fashion Dream

That’s me chilling during hell week in school

Shared by Coco Mercy Chu, Singapore Management University, Year 4


In June, I will be embarking on one of the most exciting and meaning experiences of my life. I am set on a self-discovery journey alone to London, making way into two of the world’s most sought-after fashion schools, Central Saint Martin and London College of Fashion to study Fashion Design and Fashion Business.

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When I turned 19, I knew I wanted to start my very own business. Unable to afford 3 years of overseas education and not given a chance at scholarships, I did the next sensible thing – do a related business degree in SMU. One thing that I learnt over the years is, even when the environment you’re living in may be limiting, no one can stop you from doing what you really want to do.

I know myself and what I really want to do.

I thank God for guiding me through the journey of self-discovery that constantly challenged me in finding my own identity and working on refining it. The courage I had came from finding peace between the world and myself. While the disparity between reality and ideal seems irreconcilable to many, I sought ways to marry my passion and means of living. To find out how to be happy, successful and meaningful all at the same time, I took up 5 different jobs during every holiday possible in the last 6 years, and gave myself 15 minutes each day to do serious soul searching.

Turning 21, I found out I don’t have to make a sacrifice between what I really want to do and what I can do to earn a living. It’s all about perspectives and priorities. I repeatedly ask myself whenever I face a bottleneck, “What would I do if money was no subject. What can I do that would make me and my loved ones truly happy?”

“It is absolutely stupid to do something you don’t like to carrying on living to do the things you don’t like to carry on living, then teach your kids to do the same, who teach their kids to do the same.”

My “A” levels art work, the first fashion installation in Singapore, was awarded an A grade by Cambridge.

I know that I’m going to change my life not because of what I’ve done, but because of what I’m going to do.

As someone who’s always facinated with self-exploratoration and curiosity and asked more questions than I ever needed to (there were times I couldn’t sleep pondering the subject of existentialism). When I finally comprehended what it means to say that life is made up of choices, big and small, I knew in order to achieve what I want in this rather homogenous society, I have to be differently different.

My priorities were aligned on tasks and work that contributes to my future success. I didn’t get upset over lousy grades in classes that didn’t matter to me, I didn’t give up unnecessary weekends for projects and I didn’t waste time getting angry or making up for things people did wrong. Everyday, I challenge myself to think of different ways to make a difference in life that would translate into something bigger in the future. Often viewed as a ‘misfit’ in our society, I gave myself more license to do things off-orbit. It made me feel like I was making a difference and it made me happy like that.

‘If you’re not happy, nothing is worth it.’

I believe in what I’m doing because I believe in my motivations, goals and myself.

That is not meant to sound as complacent as it does. The truth is, I wanted a career, not a job; and I wanted to make life, not a living. I don’t want to just fit in; I want to become a successful version of myself and not someone else.

“I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul” – this pretty much sums up my life motto. I believe that everyone has the power to decide what he or she wants to do in life, and be happy in it. I also trusted myself to not let myself down, looking up to the me I aspire to become in 5, 10 and 20 years’ time.

One of my designs (both top and bottom) for an online boutique

I want to live a dream. But first, I have to create it.

The all glitters and glamorous high fashion high life is an unattainable fad for most. I came to terms that my life is not going to be a smooth sailing journey where I have the Olsen twins’ fame from birth and diamond grew on trees. But life is a fight against oddities, and I’m preparing myself for a tough, and sometimes lonely road ahead. I know that a few years of tough times before reaping the fruits of my hardship would make harvest even sweeter and utmost rewarding.

My dream is to start a fashion business, and grow it organically around my brand philosophy and consciousness. Going to summer school in CSM (Central Saint Martins) and LCF (London College of Fashion) is a new milestone towards it and I am bursting with exhilaration at the thought of endless possibilities it might bring.

– May it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid”

 Choose your game, and live in it.

Someone once said that one must be your own greatest supporter and worst critique. I can be a harsh on myself but I learnt that I must also be wise to choose my battles. Life is a game of giving and receiving. I grew to fight hard for things I really wanted, and let go of those that mattered less.

I also learnt to embrace failure, and focus on every process that makes the ultimate goal precious. In fashion and the arts, skepticism and criticism are commonplay. As depressing they may be, I think we should be humble to listen and make it a point to turn every comment into a constructive actionable. That keeps me on the game and living it.

 ‘The one option in life that is almost always the wrong option is walking away and choosing not to be in the game. And if you’re on the losing end, change the game.’

As I’m writing this, I’m also on an internship with the world’s biggest publisher for lingerie and swimwear magazines. It brings my career a little closer to the fashion industry, and my heart little closer to home.

If you’re interested to know more or want to start a fashion business, you’re welcome to write to me at


Bound by society’s expectations and perceptions, not all of us dare to pursue our passions and dreams. Are you one of these rare breed of go-getters? Share with us your story!


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