SINGAPORE - Amid the uninspiring administrative work of their national service days, creative types Lionel Low and Hariz Lim hit upon an idea that has since resulted in fashion label Lion Earl.
"Being the only two in that office with an arts background, I think we clicked," says Mr Low, a fashion graduate from La Salle College of the Arts.
As he has long drawn inspiration for his designs from architecture and Mr Lim had studied architecture at Singapore Polytechnic, collaboration became a natural prospect.
"But the opportunity didn't actually come till much later," recalls Mr Lim, now an architecture undergraduate at National University of Singapore.
That came with the chance to be part of fashion design incubator project, Parco next NEXT, a joint initiative of Parco (Singapore) and the Textile & Fashion Federation (Singapore) that is supported by Spring Singapore.
Lion Earl was officially launched in April this year, part of a third batch of 18 designers to be incubated at the Millenia Walk retail space.
But planning began a full year earlier, with an initial investment of $12,500 to secure the maximum possible funding from Spring Singapore.
And the two 24-year-olds pumped in more funds along the way to bring their total investment in the start-up so far to between $20,000 and $25,000 - a combination of their own savings and family support.
"Lion Earl" actually came about as no more than a pun on Mr Low's name and the fact that he likes Earl Grey ice cream.
"But we figured out another answer too," he laughs.
"It's a play on alphabets from both our names, the "ar" in Hariz and in "architecture", and the "ion" in fashion," says Mr Lim.
That reflects the synthesis of architecture and fashion in Lion Earl's designs.
The heavy influence of urban architecture in his designs results in structured, exaggerated silhouettes, Mr Low says.