Telum Talks To… Ian Lee, Editor-in-Chief, L’Officiel Singapore

Telum Talks To… Ian Lee, Editor-in-Chief, L’Officiel Singapore

Congratulations on the 13th anniversary of L’Officiel Singapore! What has been your proudest achievement so far?
There have been many highlights over the two and a half years I have been Editor-in-Chief - our recent Hommes edition with Harry Styles; our breakthrough cover with virtual influencer Lil Miquela; having A-list personalities from all over the world (such as Thanaerng, Peggy Gou, Alaeli May, Ni Ni and Mae Tan) grace our covers... I think the proudest achievement though, is the 13th anniversary issue itself, which has been the team’s labour of love - an issue full of optimism during this time.

How did you decide what should go on the cover of this special 13th anniversary issue of the magazine?
There are two things we wanted with the issue. The first is to show unbridled optimism at this time, which the cover does. And while we are postponing our annual anniversary party to a later date, we wanted to send the message that our readers and friends can, for now, still party in spirit with us, day or night. That day / night duality is summed up in the issue - and the concept of day is summed up perfectly with this cover. 

How has the magazine grown and where do you see it in another 13 years? Has there been any shifts in focus in terms of content for the publication?
In the past two and a half years, we have sharpened the L’Officiel Singapore identity through collaborating with personalities who we think are cool girls of substance - people whom our readers should know more about and look up to. The themes of the issues have also been sharpened to reflect the personalities we work with as well as what we think interests our forward-thinking readers now. Of course, our approach now is almost always 360 - shoots are conceptualised not just for print, but often also with Instagram, Facebook and our website in mind (sometimes with additional components such as different video formats). 
As for the last part of the question: L’Officiel is a global brand that has been around since 1921. We are stronger than ever with a recently launched US edition, and with Stefano Tonchi who has joined as Global Chief Creative Officer. There are also many exciting projects in the pipelines for 2020 - so having said that, L’Officiel Singapore and L’Officiel as a whole will most certainly be accomplishing a lot more in the next 13 years.

Any special things for readers to look out for this year?
Each issue will continue to be themed and unique - with the music and art issues coming soon. Our visuals will continue to be bold and striking. Expect special booklets covering watch and jewellery, accessories and men’s fashion. Finally, we’ve doubled daily content on - so there is indeed a lot more fashion, beauty, watch, jewellery and lifestyle content for our readers to look out for every day. 

Do you think local fashion media have shone enough spotlight on local designers? What are the challenges in doing so?
Of course, there’s always more that can be done, but I believe that fundamentally, the local fashion media have a keen interest in showcasing local talents - whether they be local designers, or emerging singers, actresses and personalities. For proof, one can look to the pages of L’Officiel Singapore’s February and March issues. Local names are always a part of each issue we do.

What is the one skill you wished you’d learned before becoming the Editor-in-Chief at L’Officiel Singapore?
I think I have been lucky to have been trained adequately in several areas over the last 12 years - whether it be news reporting, writing about men’s and women’s fashion, styling, and PR. And I would not change the experiences I’ve had or the mistakes I’ve made in the past as they’ve helped me to develop over the years. Having said that, digital is a quickly changing area that everyone is learning more about every day. 

What are some misconceptions about the luxury fashion editorial industry that you would like to clarify?
I think the question I get most often from non-industry friends is: what exactly do you do at work? It’s always hard to give a short and succinct answer to that because this is a multi-faceted job. These days, my reply is just: “a bit of everything, really.”

Who are the style icons that you would say have had the biggest impact on who you are today?
I don’t think there have ever been icons I wanted to emulate. I think it’s important to just be myself. In terms of style, I’d say it’s more of what I’ve learnt along the way. Having done research for stories and styled pieces at shoots - one has a deeper appreciation for fashion, and develops his or her own taste. The main thing for me is to feel comfortable, yet look polished. 

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