The very first time I heard of Amanda, I heard of her through a song. It was Lupe Fiasco‘s “Paris Tokyo” hit playing on the radio with Lupe rapping, “Amanda and Le Messie wanna know when we going there…” And when you find yourself attempting to rap the verse in your head, you end up on Google asking, “Who is Amanda and Le Messie?”
In a nutshell, they are the duo behind FALSE, an independent, ‘anti-fashion’ clothing brand that comes out with the most highly conceptual and subversive imagery from Singapore. After launching this brand over 10 years ago, they have built a repertoire of rebellious brands under their online store Anti-Anti, where they produce up to 90% of the items in-house.
When I was still living in Singapore, I was fortunate enough to work part-time under their roof for one year, absorbing Le Messie’s philosophies and witnessing Amanda’s strong work ethic. Being around them has influenced me to think independently, strategically and most importantly, without limits.
I already interviewed Le Messie, the visionary behind FALSE, plenty of times in the past. Now, I’d like to you to meet it’s High Priestess, Amanda.
1. Hi Amanda, tell us a little bit about where you are from and what you do…
I am New Zealand born, Singapore-raised and am one half of the FALSE duo (the other half being my partner, husband and creative director Le Messie), we are the original Hand-Screen duo and are sometimes most known for starting the brand Better Off Dead, the originator and influencer of High Fashion Satire.
2. You and your husband, Le Messie, are so hands on with your business. Can you tell us what inspired this dedication to your craft?
Initially the inspiration was the way we could focus on the little details, we were hand-screening, washing and hand distressing each shirt, hand stitching labels and releasing ridiculous limitations of 10 per design, our passion was intense and the response was equal.
As time went on we had countless opportunities to contract the work out but we were relentless with the control we had over the production of our own product and when push came to shove, we constantly took the path of dedication to our craft, because even when we found ourselves tired, the passion kept us going.
3. When I was working for you, I noticed that you really love all the meticulous details of the process. Why do you think you are so attracted to the smallest parts of the project, whether it be silk-screening labels on your t-shirts or making pins?
I feel like it comes down to the nature of who I am as a person. I enjoy doing things for myself, accomplishing these little tasks of physical feats that get pushed aside so easily in today’s world. I want to be a part of the process, I want to be responsible for how a person feels about the product they part their hard earned money for, whether they know it or not.
I want to be a part of the process, I want to be responsible for how a person feels about the product they part their hard earned money for, whether they know it or not.
4. Whether you had back pains or midnight sewing machine accidents, I never saw you complain, but only focus on getting things done. How do you keep up this positive “work warrior” attitude?
I am self-reliant by nature, I was raised by a mother who taught me I had to do things for myself, no one owed me anything and I was capable of accomplishing what I wanted if I applied myself. I have my moments of weakness and self defeat but at the end of the day, I know my limitations live only in my mind and if I allow myself to find the balance between hard work and quality rest, I can push through & complete what I set out to achieve.
5. You once joked that you love to do things ‘the hard way’ or ‘be extreme’. What are the good or bad sides to that? Does being extreme ever become too extreme?
Hahaha. I like to do things the hard way and Messie likes to be extreme, together it’s like extreme hardness… I chalk it up to being too independent. I don’t necessarily feel like there is a good or bad side, it just is what it is and we roll with the dice. I think it’s natural to become too extreme, that’s the beauty of creativity and feeling like limitations live only within your mind. If no one ever took risks the world would be pretty boring.
6. Growing up, did you always find yourself attracted to creating hand-made products? What were some of the other ‘crafts’ you were into?
Absolutely, my mother was a huge inspiration in that regard. Growing up, she hand painted clothing, sewed my ballet recital costumes, made raffia sun hats, stained glass pieces and more prominently she was a folk art painter and teacher. Everything she applied herself to, I mimicked. We used to trawl markets for hand made crafts and we were always inspired.. I like to think that I am still in the beginning of my craft journey and I will apply myself where the winds take me on this journey.
I like to think that I am still in the beginning of my craft journey and I will apply myself where the winds take me…
7. You also bring this “working with your hands” concept to other areas, specifically to juicing. How did you get into this?
A couple of years ago we watched a documentary ‘Food Matters’ and I went out and bought a Slow Juicer, fast forward about 2 years later we watched the documentary ‘Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead’ and I was astounded at the dramatic health benefits of a 60 day Juice Fast / Detox / Cleanse / Reboot.
I woke up on Jan 5th 2013 and decided I was going to dive in and try it for myself and that was the beginning of my passion for juicing and I am a far better person for it. For me the preparation is part of the process and I enjoy it as much, if not more than the actual juice itself. The clean up isn’t all that fun, but I apply an ethos of caring for my equipment will mean it will take care of me.
8. What are some of your favourite juice recipes to share?
I love sharing recipes! Here are a couple and each should yield approx. 600-800ml of Juice, don’t be afraid to top it up with some filtered or distilled water.
- Super C: 2 Grapefruits, 1 Lemon, 4 Oranges, (Optional, add a bunch of Mint leaves)
- Red Juicy Passion: 1 Grapefruit, 1 Red Bell Pepper, 1 Red Apple, 1/4 Red Watermelon
- Wake Me Up: 3 Apples, 3 Oranges, 1 Lemon, 1” Ginger, (Optional, add a bunch of Mint or Basil leaves)
- 6 A Day: 2 Apples, 2 Oranges, 1/2 Lemon, 1″ Ginger, 6 Carrots, 1 Beetroot
- Green Monster: 2-3 Green Apples, 1 Head Broccoli, 3 Stalks Celery, 1 Green Bell Pepper, 1/2 Lemon, 1-2 Cucumbers
- Protein Packed: Massive bunch of Spinach, 1/2 Lemon, 3 Green Apples
9. What are other areas that you are passionate to learn more about?
10. Tell us about your tattoos…
I have 4 at the moment and each of them holds a story to a chapter of my life. My first tattoo was my conscious act of rebellion, it is a Zebricorn (Zebra-unicorn) growing mushrooms off its back and is representative of being a free spirit, that I am and always will be unique and I am responsible for my own happiness.
The second is my surname, it was the tattoo I always wanted, I didn’t grow up with my father and I always felt that having my surname inked on my skin made me feel more connected to my paternal roots.
The third is the ‘Eye of Independence’ and its a re-appropriation of the Eye of Providence more commonly seen in the U.S dollar bill. Where the Eye of Providence is a a representation of the few dictating the many the Eye of Independence represents the many dictating the few.
The 5th has not been inked yet but it will be a Māori Tā Moko piece that I have been waiting over 4 years to get and that will serve as my connection to my ancestors (I have māori ancestry) and will serve as a cloak of protection on my journey in this physical body.
I have 4 [tattoos] at the moment and each of them holds a story to a chapter of my life.
11. Do you have a personal mantra?
I recently experienced a traditional Māori healing ceremony and the mantra that was suggested to me was “I am the light, I hold the light, the light is always with me”. A month on, I find myself repeating this daily, it’s on my vision board and it inspires me and has absolutely become my personal mantra.
12. What’s next for you?
Health, happiness and family 🙂
Interview by Victoria Herrera / Photos courtesy of Amanda Scully