Fashion Bloggers: Uli Chan

20-year-old Uli Chan has a certain kind of spunk and attitude uncommon of someone her age. She rocks up to the interview with a snazzy haircut, black boots and her backpack and laptop in tow. The fashion blogger, who is currently a student at LASALLE College of the Arts, speaks to us in between classes.

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“Erm, I might stutter,” Uli says nervously, as we pull out a voice recorder for the interview. “I don’t know what to say!” she exclaims, momentarily betraying her too cool for school exterior.

It’s OK, we say. We’ll ask questions, lots of them. Like your blog name. Why Ulimali? It sounds a bit Indian doesn’t it?

“Well actually, it was a nickname my dad gave me,” she says with a hint of a smile. “My surname is Chan so my friends would tease me and call me Chan Mali Chan, so my dad gave me the nickname Ulimali.”

Do you think your dad is secretly pleased that you named your blog Ulimali then, we ask.

“Welllll…probably. But it’s kind of embarrassing when your parents Like your photos or read your blog, don’t you think?” she says, looking a bit bashful. “But I’m glad they’re supportive of what I do.”

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Besides blogging, Uli is also a freelance makeup artist. She started experimenting with makeup when she was younger, even nicking some of her mother’s makeup to try out.

“One time I even used a glitter writing pen as eyeliner,” Uli says somewhat proudly. “My mum wasn’t pleased though, she scolded me non-stop.”

She realised she had a passion for makeup artistry after one Halloween (“I was Avril Lavigne, so I had to experiment with eyeliner!”), and started honing her makeup skills on friends and family.

For someone who works with makeup though, her beauty routine is pretty simple.

“I hardly maintain my hair,” Uli says of her Agyness Deyn-esque haircut.”And I guess if I had to choose my essential beauty items, they’d just be lipstick, sunscreen and concealer. Oh, and waterproof mascara of course.”

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We chat a little about her style and favourite places to shop.

“I’m all about budget fashion, so I like shopping at thrift stores,” Uli says. “There’s actually one around here, you know. You should check it out, it’s called New2U.”

“I don’t have a specific style, but I’d like to think that I’m unconventional when it comes to dressing. I like mixing things up, like leather with feminine details.”

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What’s the most important thing when it comes to picking an outfit for the day, we ask.

“Functionality of course. I mean, a pair of heels can look really great with an outfit, but if you’re going to be out running errands and at class all day, do you really want to be wearing high heels?”

We like this philosophy of hers, we think to ourselves. Comfort, to us, is key.

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How about the daring haircut, we ask. Were you worried about chopping off your locks?

“It was kind of an impulse thing actually,” Uli says, looking a little pleased with herself. “I went into the hair salon and told them I wanted something like a pixie cut and it turned out like this. I’m quite happy with the results though, and quite a few readers have asked me where I got my haircut at.”

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It seems fashion blogging is trickier than it appears to be, and Uli talks to us about some of the challenges she faces.

“Of course it’s difficult getting a consistent photographer. When I first started, I’d ask my mum or boyfriend to snap some pictures, but I guess it’s harder because they’re not photographers so it requires more direction and time.”

“It’s also really competitive in the fashion blogging scene. When I first started about two years ago, there weren’t that many fashion bloggers, but today there are so many. You’ve really got to work hard to stand out, you’ve got to have an edge.”

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Say you’ve got an unlimited budget for your wardrobe, what would you buy?

“Shoes, lots of shoes!”

Only shoes, reeaaaaally? No bags?

“I’m not a bag person…but if I start I might not be able to stop,” Uli says. “I’d buy lots of stuff from Charles & Keith, m)phosis and FEIST HEIST though. I’m a big supporter of local labels.”

ON HER TODAY: Uli wears a plaid shirt from Bugis Street, a faux leather skirt from online store Of Wine And Ribbons, boots from ASOS.com, cross earrings from H&M, a vintage CASIO watch and her mum’s rings.

For more of Uli (and her rockin’ haircut), check out her blog and Instagram @ulimali.

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