Updated: Apr 21
Vivian Singh - BREAKING BARRIERS WITH CONFIDENCE AT 73
By Natalie Messina
During her time as President of the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI), Canada, in 2019-2022, Vivian Singh initiated a weekly virtual Coffee Connect where Image Consultants from all over the world were able to come together over a cup of coffee and stay connected. This international network of professional Image Consultants proved to be very popular.
“It was at the beginning of the pandemic, when we were all uncertain of what was happening, that I, with my board of directors, invited Image Consultants online to share feelings and ideas to stay connected and feel supported. Webinars were offered that helped them carry on with their business to the best of their ability. “We have created quite an international (virtual) network of professionals,” Vivian said. She has had her own business, Haute Image Consulting, for 13 years and has done a lot of traveling to theCaribbean for image consulting. Now, the global community of Image Consultants are looking forward to meeting in person in June 2023, at the AICI international Conference in Punta Cana. Vivian has continued to be very actively involved with AICI Canada, as Past President on the board of directors.
Through her Presidency at AICI Canada, one of Vivian’s goals was to engage AICI Canada in
philanthropy. She connected with a women’s shelter in Mississauga called Armagh House, a transitional, supportive housing facility offering a safe and supportive environment for abused women and children.
“We have started to work with these women to help them become more confident in themselves. It is such an important part of what I do. I believe that building their confidence through learning how to dress to bring out their true essence, is an essential step in helping these women to get on their feet again. The other shelter that is close to my heart is Covenant House which supports homeless teenagers. That’s another place where you can find my support,” she said.
As an Image Consultant, there’s one thing that Vivian always uses with her clients: a personality style analysis. It means whatever you wear, your personality style needs to shine through. “The outfit that I chose for the Chaarmz Magazine cover shoot speaks about who I am. I believe it is elegant, alluring, and dramatic. Those are the personality
styles that I combined in that outfit,” she said. Vivian also loves colour. “I brought some scarves along to infuse that pink colour into the outfit. It’s about putting it all together and shining with confidence from the inside out – that is my mantra when I work with my clients. You’ve got to show who you are on the inside by the clothing you wear,” Vivian said. She really believes that gives you the confidence to be who you want to be.
Vivian’s roots are in India. Her great-grandparents immigrated to Guyana where she was born. Her family immigrated to London, U.K. in 1963. She attended high school there, got married soon after graduating, and moved to Canada. Vivian’s education didn’t end there.
After having her first two children, she enrolled at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario where she completed her B.A. Hons in French and the Master of Arts in French, followed by a B.Education at the University of Toronto. After over a decade of teaching, she was promoted to a Vice-Principal and then a Principal. Vivian retired in 2008 and then trained to become an Image Consultant.
Vivian has many fashion inspirations that developed her confidence and style. When she was very young, her mother used to sew her own clothes. “I was just so impressed with some of the beautiful styles she made which would actually be in fashion today. I remember my mother wearing stiletto heels to go out on special occasions – she was definitely my first influence,” she said. The other influence she had growing up in the 1960s in London, England, the centre of the fashion world, was the fashion inspired by Twiggy, and Mary Quant and the rise of the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Those were the style icons she grew up with as a teenager. “Living in London and seeing those fashions on TV, in the streets, and in the shops – I’ve always been conscious of what I’m wearing,” she said.
When it comes to today’s fashion and image consulting, Vivian shares her insights on breaking barriers with confidence. She is reading a book called, ‘In Our Prime: How Older Women Are Reinventing The Road Ahead,’ by Susan J. Douglas. “In that book, Susan Douglas talks about all the stereotypes that you experience when you retire. It recognizes that older people are active in the world and we feel younger than our age,” she said. “As Baby Boomers, research shows that we feel very different from the stereotypes that have been associated with us. At 73 years of age, making a debut like this on the cover of a unique, luxury magazine, would have been unimaginable in the past! It’s very humbling for me to have been selected as the winner of the Chaarmz cover contest, especially considering the charm and the excellence of the other contestants. Within the last five years or so, I’ve really had the confidence to accept who I am. I can say, ‘Yes, I am beautiful,’ without feeling that I’m being conceited. That has really come through my business as an Image Consultant – embracing my age and not even thinking about the number. You have to love yourself and have that confidence,” she said. “If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love others. You need to have those good vibrations. You need confidence in yourself. You need to have confidence in your walk. Once you know who you are on the inside then you will have that confidence to evolve into the person you are today,” said Vivian.
Vivian was once working with a client who had just turned 40 years old. They were clearing out her closet and she had just pulled out this very alluring and beautiful dress. The client’s mother had told her that she shouldn’t wear that dress because she was too old. Vivian said, “Excuse me, I would wear that dress and I’m over 70! There’s no reason why you can’t wear that dress. Age does not matter, it’s about dressing to suit your personality style and feeling confident in it!” In the final analysis, Vivian advised that the same rules apply to everybody. “Be true to yourself. Ask yourself, who are you, and what is it that you are willing to give? It is not about being coerced into doing things that you don’t want to do. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you can wear whatever you want.”
Vivian is a mother of three and grandmother of five amazing children. At age 73, she’s an
inspiration to all of us to shine with confidence regardless of our age!
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