Launched just in time for National Day, this special piece is inspired by Singapore as a melting pot of different cultures woven together to form a unique fabric. Lo went with heritage-rich Peranakan tiles as the basis of her design.
But she also updated the idea with contemporary elements such as lightning bolts, auspicious symbols, and even dollar signs. And that’s what makes this watch extra meaningful.
As an outspoken Singaporean, Lo adores many quirks about our Little Red Dot—just scroll through her Instagram account to find them. There's a reason why the five stars of the Singapore flag are arranged in a straight line here.
They represent the core values of our country but also our eternal obsession to be World Number One in anything and everything. So it's like a five-star rating. Five stars! It’s the best you could possibly get.
Esquire Singapore sat down with Sam Lo to find out more about the watch, her views on the local art scene, and why the Singaporean identity is so hard to define.
On the Casio G-Shock
ESQ: Casio is a brand almost every one of us grew up with. What was your own journey like?
SAM LO: The first watch I ever had was a G-Shock. I got it when I was 17. Back then I was a server. I saved up my first pay check for the watch. I always loved the design. I find it very edgy, bold, goes with everything I wore. The best part, it was tough. You can drop it and it remains intact. It really made sense to me back then. I’ve always been quite practical in a sense. But now what makes it better is that G-Shock has always worked with different artists and creatives, and that made me appreciate and love the brand even more. Till now, my own journey with G-Shock continues. I’ve always worn a G-Shock. Even now, painting murals, it’s very physical… I would wear a G-Shock. It’s my companion.
ESQ: Why did you come up with this design?
SAM LO: This is the very first G-Shock I designed. The symbol on top is my logo. There’s also Majulah on it, and the five stars. The five stars is where we start, as in the five stars on our flag. We think about the values they represent. Yet when I think about Singapore in today’s context, Singapore being a first world city and all, we are always striving for perfection and excellence. That’s why I rearranged the stars to form a line, so it’s like a five-star rating.
ESQ: What about the rest of the strap?
SAM LO: I think about the new values that shape us today. We see culture is always evolving because ideas are always evolving. We’re always trying to stay relevant, right? In this pursuit of excellence, we adopt a new set of values and different influences affect the way we live. That became the next part of the idea. There are five different patterns on the strap inspired by tiles because when we think about a visual language of culture we think about tiles. Tiles document a time. I wanted to take that concept and marry it with modern elements to show that this culture is constantly evolving.
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JUST DO IT:: NIKE X SAM LO It is with great pride that I share with you the massive collaboration with @nike I worked on for their @jewelchangiairport store. Looking to create hyperlocal artwork for their biggest SEA outlet, the brand invited yours truly to inject a Singaporean touch to their store where I had a lot of fun marrying local influences and the brand's ID through the many specially created designs in-store- from the permanent murals to the custom designs at the Nike By You booth. I learned a lot along the way and cannot be more grateful for the love the team has shown. Thank you Nike Singapore and Global for this honour to play a part in your story, for believing in me and most importantly, embracing Singapore culture ??
ESQ: How have you done so?
SAM LO: The first pattern shows surveillance and a smart nation, that’s why there’s a camera lens and all these different things around it. There is also a comment on power because when we think of Singapore and how it’s a strict state, power comes to mind. You see heritage because even though we’re a young country we are always looking back, thinking about where we came from. There is the dollar sign symbolising the economy. If there’s one thing we’re really known for, it’s our economy. Then there's our auspicious beliefs. If anything, we’re damn pantang right? So I started with these five values and went on from there.
ESQ: How do you feel about joining Casio G-Shock’s portfolio of international artists?
SAM LO: Very honoured and privileged. The fact that I grew up with G-Shock and now have my very own is surreal. And it's a National Day watch no less. It’s amazing. I’m really happy to share this space with other creatives I look up to. It’s a big honour.
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COMING SOON: RIDE THE WAVES WITH KANOA IGARASHI ??♂️⠀ -G-SHOCK proudly presents the exclusive collaboration piece endorsed by pro-surfer Kanoa Igarashi. Besides featuring moon data and tide graph functions essential for surfers, Kanoa's signature can also be found inscribed across the semi-transparent, mirror finish face G-LIDE GLX-5600.⠀ -⠀ The limited edition G-LIDE will be available at all G-SHOCK boutiques (except IMM outlet) soon. ⠀ -⠀ #gshocksg⠀ #absolutetoughness ⠀ #hypebeast⠀ #hypebeaststyle ⠀ #hypebae ⠀ #highsnobiety ⠀ #streetstyle ⠀ #streetwear
On art in Singapore
ESQ: What are your thoughts on the local art scene?
SAM LO: I think it’s growing. We definitely have more festivals for people to be exposed to local art, and also international art. It’s good. There are more artists entering the market as well. But I feel more can be done in terms of creating a nurturing environment for artists to really thrive, not just artistically but also financially. It’s really very hard to survive. I’m privileged enough to work with different commercial projects. That’s how I earn my living. But at the same time it can be very challenging. More can be done to support local artists. That means buying their work, engaging them for projects, supporting them.
ESQ: Lately there’s been a profusion of local collaborations happening across numerous sectors. What do you think this means? Are people really embracing the Singapore identity now or is it just another means for companies to promote themselves?
SAM LO: With every trend or movement there are always two camps. There will always be opportunistic moments and those who genuinely want to express something. It’s up to the individual to discern. I see both sides in that sense but what we can all see is a movement to really embrace it [the Singaporean identity] more. That definitely says something about our society in general, that we’re really embracing the fact that we’re "damn Singaporean".
ESQ: What’s the gist of Singaporean art?
SAM LO: That’s very hard to answer. And that was what got me started on the culture and identity thing. I’ve always wondered what makes something distinctively Singaporean. When I first started RCGNTN I was documenting Singaporean artists. Now eight to nine years later, we still don’t really have an answer. And we shouldn’t rush for an answer, because we’re still learning and we’re still young. We may not have a distinct look but what’s the hurry? Maybe what we’re already seeing now is in fact the Singaporean art. We negotiate our identity together with all the things we’ve been exposed to and learn. That is a unique point of view.
ESQ: Singaporeans are a quirky bunch. What do you like best and least about being Singaporean?
SAM LO: I really like how adaptable we are, how resilient we are. But at the same time I don’t understand some things, like, how do you get off the escalator and just stand there? [Laughs] Also maybe how we tend to avoid eye contact. We have a lot of quirks, many of which I find are funny, so I won’t say I dislike them. Except the escalator thing.
ESQ: Favourite National Day song?
SAM LO: The song that Kit Chan sang called Home.
ESQ: What are your plans for the upcoming National Day-Hari Raya Haji super long weekend?
SAM LO: I’m going to stay at home, chill, be with my cat, watch lots of TV, eat lots of food. Recalibrate. It’s been a really crazy year so far. A really crazy journey. I want to re-centre, take the time to do all of those things, and watch the NDP.
The Casio G-Shock X Sam Lo GX-56BB is limited to 300 pieces and available exclusively in Singapore for National Day 2019.