From Love, Bonito to Our Second Nature: Velda Tan’s Singapore fashion journey

Velda Tan is one of those people who makes you feel like you’re speaking too quickly. We’re in a cafe chatting about her twenty decades in the Singapore fashion scene, and while my questions are coming fast and furious, the 36-year-old’s answers are measured, and her tone is gentle and thoughtful.

When she says that after eight years of running a fast fashion business, she felt like she was burned out and needed a break, you believe her. Not because you think she couldn’t keep up with fast fashion’s frenetic pace, but because you get an impression that someone like her might thrive better in a slower and more mindful setting.

“I realized what my strengths and weaknesses are quite early on,” said Tan. “And it feels like the fast fashion model isn’t what I’m aligned with. I know my weaknesses are in things like operations and fulfillment, and that innately, I’m a creative person.”


Those familiar with the history of the Singapore fashion scene for the millennial generation and after will know that Velda Tan, along with her sister Viola Tan and friend Rachel Lim, started a blog selling their pre-loved clothes for extra pocket money in 2005, and how that grew into BonitoChico, a pioneer of local online retail.