People

FIELDTESTED | Delphne Tan

When we first began, we knew that we wanted to celebrate people and provenance. That meant having products that were not only bold and filled with stories, but they also had to be unisex, and inclusive to fit multiple sizes. Two years into the journey, we realized that our dreams were bigger than our business and it was not operationally possible for us to continue to offer a multitude of sizes in all of the styles. Now that we’ve grown, we’re doing what we wanted to years ago – committing to a range that celebrates multiple sizes in our community. It took us a while to get here, but we added some of our signature prints and styles to our Petite and Size 3 range. To celebrate these new sizes, it seemed befitting to ask our #mattertribe to join the photoshoot and be a part of this feat. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Presently, I am a English Literature and Language teacher at a local school in Singapore. I love and treasure my interactions with students and watching them learn and grow. When not educating my students, I am devouring a novel of some kind. I also find great joy in meeting with friends over coffee (or gin) to talk about life and faith, or hiking in nature. Of course, like any student of the arts, I am passionate about music and I come alive watching performances at the theatre.

Share a story that inspires you.

Not so much a story as a person. My best friend truly inspires me. She has gone through so much in life, but fights to live each day with strength and grace. She is always ready to listen, despite her own struggles and exhaustion. And she always speaks life where there is fear and frustration. I always am amazed by her strength and encouraged by her unwavering faith. She teaches me to love family and friends, to be faithful in the ordinary, and to trust God. She is an inspiration and I am so thankful that I can do life with her.

What is the relationship you have with your clothes?

Due to my larger size, I have always struggled with clothes. While it was easy to find items that I liked, it was a challenge to make these items fit. I grew up to the refrain of “sorry, this is the largest we have.” My greatest fear as a dancer at school, was costume fitting. In 2014, at my slimmest in my adult life, I struggled with finding costumes that fit me for a dance recital I had. It didn’t help that I was dancing to a Beyonce song, and it involved mesh cropped tops and short shorts. While I have learnt the importance of health over looks, it still sometimes is a struggle to be confident in my size.

Right now, I believe I have a rather healthy relationship with clothes. If it does not fit, it is not any fault of mine. It just does not fit. I do not compromise style over fit. If it looks good on me, hooray. If not, next.  

What does the way you dress say about who you are?

I love comfortable clothing. I don’t have a particular style, I just wear what I find aesthetically joyful. This is mostly black coloured clothing, but occasionally a spontaneous bold print. Which is probably reflective of who I am, now that I’m thinking about it. While I like being in a comfortable place, I don’t necessary seek out a specific way to live life or follow the trends of others around me. I do what brings joy to myself, and hopefully, others. And if it doesn’t, and I can change it, I will. Occasionally, I like to do something adventurous to spice things up, like trekking in Nepal or volunteer for a Matter community photoshoot!

What item of clothing makes you feel most like yourself?

A nice comfortable well-tailored pair of trousers (with leather oxfords).

What does sustainability mean to you?

It means change. In the culture of throwaways and fast fashion, I think sustainability means a change in one’s lifestyle. Away from what is fleeting and thoughtless, towards quality and mindfulness. I’m only just beginning to understand the impact of my existence on the earth and on people groups who are exploited for my gain. I am making an effort now to reduce my waste and shop with eco-conscious brands that are committed to reducing their impact on the environment and paying fair wages to their employees. (Shameless plug: Shop at UnPackt, Singapore’s first zero-waste grocery store!)

#ChangeBeyondTextiles is…

About educating consumers and broadening their minds to firstly, understand the impact of their consumerism on the environment and the invisible workers behind their purchases, and secondly, make a change, however minor, to alleviate the situation.

What is one thing you stand for and believe in, and why?

That all humans are equal in their value and should have equal opportunity to achieve their fullest potential. I feel strongly about the presence of modern day slavery, that more than 40 million people to this day, are trapped in slavery. With the affluence and comforts that we enjoy, it is ludicrous that people are still forced into slavery due to poverty and lack of education. We can, and we must, do what we can to contribute to ending slavery.

How would you like to be remembered?

As someone who invested in lives, who build people up to understand their true value so that they in turn can do the same for others.  


We are proud to have Delphne as a Fieldtester, a group of inspiring individuals that test MATTER products in their everyday journeys of passion, to help us improve durability and design. Delphne is 170 cm and usually wears US 12, for MATTER items she’s in between a size 2 and 3 for tops, and wears size 3 for pants. She is wearing our Lounge Lunghi + All Eye Charcoal and matching set of Button-Back Top and Classic Wideleg + Leharia Charcoal in Size 3.

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