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Five Life Lessons from JOTEO designer, Joash Teo

Born in Singapore to a family of Chinese descent, Joash Teo’s love of fashion was discovered at a young age, displaying a natural talent for sewing and drapery of couture garments. His manipulations, techniques and sculptural forms extend the boundary of the body, focusing on elements that convey a mature perspective on elegance, tailoring, architecture, fabrication and above all, the silhouette. Joteo tempers a drive for innovation with a respect for traditionalism, a ballet of conceptualism and realism, presenting its own “Avant-Casual” flair. This exciting designer has won many awards from his home in Brisbane, Australia and is growing his elegant, sustainable brand through collaborations with high-profile artists and many made-to-order requests.

Ensure your craft serves you

Good artists don’t starve. While you have duty of care to your clientele, remember that you have a responsibility to yourself. Your craft and talent are meant to serve you as well. Sustainable fashion, which is growing and heavily supported in Australia, is only sustainable if the creator thrives in this space.


Use failure to motivate you

The fact that you failed does not matter, it’s what you let that failure do to you that does.


Embrace your community

Brisbane, Australia is my home and it’s a creative and diverse city on the rise. What’s really special though is the community that we have here amongst our locals. It’s a beautiful and loving space, with the most sincere generosity that I’ve had the privilege of receiving. Going forward I hope our younger generations don’t lose that sense of community spirit. Yes, technically we are all competitors, but there’s more than enough room for all of us, young and old, established and upcoming, high fashion or streetwear, so why not be there for each other when you can? At the end of the day, there is no one else that can understand a designer’s struggle better than another designer, so embrace your community.

Stay curious

As artists, we are very reactive to the world around us; art, music, history, film, even politics, there is so much in this world to learn and experience for expanding your horizons. Be curious of them, engage with them, just as it is in fashion, it’s the little things that make the biggest impact and the archives of humanity are full of them, waiting to be rediscovered and built upon by new generations.

Vulnerability is the greatest strength

I am reminded of this quote by Theodore Roosevelt, as paraphrased by Brené Brown; “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

There will always be inspiration in the prospect of indestructibility, but there is a greater strength in baring your scars in empathy and connection with your fellow creatives.