The rise of Instagram has brought about a tidal wave of change in fashion. What started as a social media application that allowed users to share pictures has ushered in a further democratisation, conceding a voice to anyone with a smartphone. In the era of upended hierarchical structures, where the role of a gatekeeper rests with a select few, now stands a league of individuals who have harnessed the platform’s power to their advantage. Yoyo Cao is part of that tribe.
A street style darling, social media influencer and fashion entrepreneur rolled into one, Cao is undoubtedly one of Singapore’s biggest and brightest style stars. Her foray into the fashion industry began in 2010 when she opened Exhibit, a humble multi-label store in Far East Plaza along Orchard Road.
The venture offered a glimpse of her talents: she demonstrated a discerning eye by stocking unique and affordable pieces, as well as a clear knack for styling. She promoted the boutique by posting cleverly styled outfits on Instagram under the handle @yoyokulala. She has currently put Exhibit, which evolved into a full-fledged label with in-house designs in 2014, on hiatus with plans for a rebrand in the future.
If she had existed in fashion’s outer orbit then, Instagram soon put her at the centre of it all. From tie-dye T-shirts to frothy designer dresses, Cao’s uncanny ability to pull off a myriad of styles with aplomb quickly earned her an audience both at home and abroad.