Would You Dress Up To Stand Out?

Multi-hyphenate Bobby Luo embraces his weirdness and turns it into an asset.

Would You Dress Up To Stand Out?

Bobby Luo is a party organiser, set designer and boutique owner whose motto to “give yourself over to absolute pleasure” manifests in his wardrobe of campy outfits and outlandish masks. Luo, who also co-founded The Butter Factory (the homegrown nightspot that shuttered in 2015) added another feather to his multicoloured hat recently with Freakdom, a photo art book of 365 different ensembles through which he comments on art, fashion, politics and contemporary socio-cultural phenomena — Comme des Garcons founder Rei Kawakubo had her copy signed.

How do you deal with the attention?

It’s not that I stick out; it’s that everyone else wants to look the same. That’s terribly boring. I’m used to stares. Some people who don’t get it go, “Is it Halloween already?” but I think it’s the only way they can process the “ridiculousness”. But this is how I express and stay true to myself, and that means I’m in a happier place than most people.

Has your dressing style ever landed you in trouble?

No. It’s fun and harmless. Dressing up could be what’s keeping me out of real trouble, unless you mean financial trouble — my bank account so hates me these days. Dressing up is an expensive habit.

Your last attempt at blending in with the crowd?

All the time. In my “day” drag, I’m a jeans-and T-shirt guy!

You rebranded your boutique Superspace into Super Freak. How do you think it will impact the local style or retail scene?

My partners exited the business but I wanted to continue exploring the direction of statement dressing. I’m embracing my weirdness and turning it into an asset. Super Freak will be a boutique, gallery, gift shop and thrift marketplace all rolled into one. I hope to include art books and prints, as well as incorporate music, fashion and indie culture. I also want to collaborate with local creatives on small capsule collections of statement pieces and haute costumes.

If you could, what rule would you change to make Singapore a happier place?

Repeal 377A. Another person’s sexuality and who he or she sleeps with is none of your business. Love is not a crime.

This story first appeared in the October 2019 issue of A.

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