Singaporean Club Kid Aaron Han

Aaron Han is a Singaporean club kid.

With a shaved head and black spectacles, Aaron looks like any other Singaporean Chinese male in the day. When night falls, Bruce Wayne turns into Batman; but nobody knows what Aaron will transform into.

The 32-year-old channels his creativity into creating outrageous looks to party in. “[Being] fabulous is a full-time job,” he explains. 

“You never know when you’re gonna meet an enemy on the street; it’s better to look amazing than horrible.”

What is a club kid

The club kid movement began in the late ’80s in New York City. They were a group of partygoers who dressed outlandishly, usually creating characters through their costumes.

One might mistake them for cosplayers, except they don’t reference commercial characters that are well-known.

They are also commonly mistaken for drag queens, due to the popularity of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Aaron explains the difference:

“If you are a drag queen, there is a degree of showmanship, you do perform.” Being a club kid is also “not tied to being female or male.” 

The term ‘kid’ is used because it is not specific to gender and he invites anybody, regardless of their gender, to express themselves through their fashion.

Using clothing to express his “oddness”

Aaron explains that he always felt odd growing up. “I always felt different, not different because I was queer or anything, but why are people so repressed?”

He elaborates that in Singapore, there is a pressure to follow a certain set of norms and people with alternative views tend to be sidelined. “What I’m doing is telling people that you don’t have to box yourself in, you don’t have to fit into societal norms.” 

Something in him clicked when he met Bobby Luo and Ritz Lim, co-founders of the now-defunct club Butter Factory, who also weren’t afraid to deck themselves out in outrageous ensembles. 

Their looks showed him that he can be unapologetically himself and inspired him to create showstopping outfits for himself. 

“It’s the process [of creating looks] that’s very exhilarating and is very energising for me. And when I do that, that’s where the satisfaction comes from.”

Also read:

Singaporean Drag Queens: This Fashion Photographer Takes 5 Hours To Get Dressed

Being catcalled 

Of course, walking around wearing demon-like horns with a green wig and a faux pearl and rhinestone turban has gotten him some negative attention.  

“There will be people who give you looks, catcall but not really nicely.”  

People also frequently ask him, “Oh is it Halloween?” or “Are you trying to be Lady Gaga?”

He sticks to his guns and just brushes negative remarks away. “Why pay attention to that when there’s so many other things to pay attention to?”

“Put your best foot forward and wear your biggest headdress!” he advises.

Being queer 

Aaron identifies as being queer and has never been discriminated for his sexuality.

During his national service, his camp mates were extremely respectful toward his sexual identity. 

“I wasn’t called out [for] being queer, I was called out for having this accent.”

Aaron speaks with a slight British intonation and doesn’t pepper his speech with lahs, lehs, and lors like an average Singaporean would. 

His father always expected him to speak clearly and enunciate properly. Moreover, he grew up watching many animal documentaries narrated by David Attenborough while growing up, which might be why he speaks the way he does. 

While he feels accepted by his straight friends, he wishes they would fight more for LGBTQ rights. 

“If you love your friend and the person is not accepted as a full member of society, your silence is the worst possible thing ever. Silence is the worst death… so why then are you not stepping out and supporting them? 

Singaporean Club Kid Aaron Han Dresses To Impress—Himself

I ask Aaron if he is always decked out to the nines when he leaves his home. 

He explains that when he does “menial chores” like getting groceries, he is usually seen in a black t-shirt and shorts. Even club kids need to have their off-hours. 

Aaron recognises that to be able to shrug off his outlandish looks can be a privilege

“There are people who are not able to take off a persona; if you are effeminate, if you are a transgendered person, if you are a person of intellect, these are things you cannot take away and blend in, and this is our way of saying that it’s okay to be who you are and hopefully inspire people.”

If you feel inspired to dress up and party, Aaron says they are always happy to welcome a new club kid in the scene. 

“There’s no membership, you just have to be you. There is no entrance fee. There is no gift basket.”

Also read:

RuPaul’s Drag Race Taught Me How To Deal With Bullies And The Importance Of Self-Love

Zula photography by Sebastian Tan

Cover images and other photos courtesy of Aaron Han