EUGENE IS THE FOUNDER of local start-up clothing brands, Less Than Positive and Superwhite. His design background stems from him being a communication design student from an Australian university. While he humbly professes that he was just an average student with no particular works to highlight during his student days, his venture into making prints and designs has been lauded by many.
Eugene states that there was no particular source of inspiration but his love and passion in retro design and product packaging has moved him forward in expanding his two brands. When asked to highlight a particular product that he liked, he chose his ‘We Hate Mondays’ T-shirt.
Starting Less Than Positive was through his accumulation of negative emotions about confines of working life and the constant need to remain politically correct. Eugene describes his first label, Less Than Positive, to be of more subversive in nature. His second label, Superwhite, was formed through a playful conversation of substituting vulgarities with Chinese words. Incidentally, Superwhite plays on the pronunciation of a particular Hokkien vulgarity.
As for his Superwhite brand, Eugene expresses his idea of creating a retro design as the name, Superwhite, had given the image of a detergent brand. He highlights that debut Detergent Box T-shirt was exclusively made to be 100 in black and 100 in white. Although there had been many requests for him to bring back the product as it was completely sold out, Eugene states that it will forever remain limited edition for the first 100 customers of Superwhite.
Like all business owners and product makers, Eugene does hope to see his venture taking off into a physical store and has since been consigning his items into various shops.
Eugene describes having a bit of subversive art and culture would allow many of us to re-examine or laugh at ourselves or even to look at things from a different perspective. In the past, you would hear parents telling their children to become engineers or doctors or to focus on English, mathematics and sciences to ace examinations and being creative used to be frowned upon. However, he proclaims that this is no longer the case as he feels that parental mindset have changed over the years and more parents are supporting their children pursuing a more creative path in their lives.
Although he is not a formal arts practitioner, Eugene feels that the art and design scene can only grow stronger as a whole. With a multitude of creative talents in Singapore and the growing support for local artists and designers, he observes that this growth could be due to various factors such as mass immigration and the loss of local landmarks, such as places we used to treasure or familiar ground. While the social and physical landscape around us are changing at an extremely fast rate, he credits the use of technology, such as social media, being a platform for boosting awareness and getting amazing talent out on to public ground, regardless of them being local or international.
All in all, while he expresses a possibility to expand his design career overseas, Singapore is his ultimate focus for now. Complementing his unique designs and prints, Eugene’s word of advice for many of us would be to “Just have a laugh. Take things with a pinch of salt.”
Less Than Positive and Superwhite can be found in stores such as The Corner Shop at Far East Plaza #03-16 and The Redundant Store at Block 5 Everton Park #01-22.