From chic clothes to shoes, accessories, and jewellery, we’re sending a salute to top Singaporean talents in the fashion scene
Contrary to popular belief, shopping in Singapore isn’t just limited to international designer labels and high street brands in upscale malls. For retail therapy with a distinctly local spin, get clued in on these top homegrown fashion designers who are putting our little red dot on the global map.
It’s hard not to notice Aijek: refreshingly and unapologetically feminine, this label is a breath of fresh air amongst the plethora of avant-garde labels in Singapore’s fashion scene. Designer Danelle Woo seems to know exactly what women want: easy, effortless, and elegant pieces that translate from work to the weekend. Besides, who wouldn’t be charmed by sartorial stunners like this lace maxi dress or embroidered mini dress?
Aijek, available at TANGS Orchard and VivoCity, Society A, Sarah B, Trixilini, and Nana & Bird
Beyond the Vines
This contemporary womenswear label is blowing up all our feeds, and for good reason. The designs are best described as pared down essentials in soft hues and with flattering contours. Prices are also pocket-friendly for quality basics – tops are typically priced at $59 and below, while bottoms average $69 and below.
Beyond the Vines, #02-21 Mandarin Gallery; #01-08 Oue Downtown; Level 2 Tang Plaza
There are plenty of menswear stores around shelling out the same, heritage-inspired threads, but Benjamin Barker is a cut above the rest. Founded locally in 2009, the concept store gets our vote for its unpretentious yet dapper collection of dress shirts, bespoke suits, custom-made leather brogues, and handsome accessories that even the ladies might be tempted by.
Benjamin Barker, available at various locations.
If you love Japanese aesthetics, you’ll love under-the-radar menswear label Biro. Named after the ballpoint pen, the brand is home to timeless wardrobe staples made from premium fabrics sourced globally, and immaculately tailored by Japanese artisans. It’s “slow fashion” at its finest – instead of seasonal collections, expect new pieces only every few months. Everything you need is here, including silk cotton t-shirts, floral shirts, and chambray over shirts.
Biro, Available online.
Lisa Von Tang
The woman behind multi-label boutique Gnossem and the Chi Chi Von Tang fashion label has emerged with the new brand. Lisa Von Tang is all about east-meets-west style, in a reflection of the designer’s German-Chinese heritage. Blending power and sensuality, the brand champions empowered women with its cult, statement-making designs. Think drop-crotch harem pants, oriental silks and mandarin collars.
Lisa Von Tang, #01-68 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands,10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018972
Having made its debut last year at Singapore Fashion Week in 2015 to critical acclaim, COLLATE is already proving itself to be a fashion force to be reckoned with. With social media star Velda Tan at its helm, the label brings affordable luxury to today’s savvy and sophisticated set – think elegant and timeless shift dresses and luxe basics in muted hues with impeccable tailoring that won’t break the bank.
Collate, Available online
True to its name, this unisex ready-to-wear label makes no apologies for its moody and often clinical approach to design – think minimalist cuts in stark, monochromatic colours. The label is a favourite amongst edgy fashionistas and celebs such as Adam Lambert and The Black Eyed Peas, and is also stocked internationally in Italy, Egypt and the UK.
Depression,#04-14 Sects Shop, Orchard Gateway, 277 Orchard Road, Singapore 238858
Yes, batik prints can be cool too and thanks to Elnadyah, we are seeing more of these traditional prints beyond resortwear and travels; paired with everyday casual looks. We’re fans of the wrap pegged pants that go beyond batik prints and detachable skirts that you can wear over a pair of pants. Or add minor touches with batik print chokers and head wraps.
Elnadyah, Available online
ELOHIM by Sabrina Goh
Minimal, conceptual, structural: it’s easy to whittle down ELOHIM by Sabrina Goh to just three little words but make no mistake; it is so much more than that. Drawing inspiration from architectural silhouettes, the local label offers strong, sensuous designs that constantly push the envelope – be it structured slip dresses with asymmetrical hems, boxy overcoats with textural details or the perfect vermillion two-piece inspired by ancient rock formations in China.
Sabrina Goh, 13 Stamford Road, #02-14 Capitol Piazza, Singapore 178905, p. 6358 2158
Shake off that fast fashion and slip into sustainable fabrics and effortless classics that transcend trends at Esse. These lightweight and flowy pieces are made with breathable fabrics (great for our weather!) like lyocell, organic cotton, handloom tussar silk and cupro. Psst…Esse is joining hands with lingerie label Perk this August for a capsule collection, redefining innerwear as outerwear with new classics that put Perk’s bralettes at the centre of attention. You heard it first from us!
Esse, Available online
Having grown from a small multi-label boutique to full-fledged fashion brand in just five short years, it’s safe to say that exhibit is a runaway success. Helmed by fashion plate and street style star Yoyo Cao, the local label takes minimalist chic to a whole new level with runway-ready pieces that boast clever detailing and classic silhouettes for the modern woman.
Exhibit,#06-02 Central Link Building, 8 Jalan Kilang Barat, Singapore 159351. By appointment only.
Known for its sophisticated colour palette and soft lines, Ginlee creates some of the softest silk dresses we’ve ever owned. The secret? The fabric is silk habotai and handwashed for a suede effect. Expect similar attention to detail with all of its designs, like intricate two-tone embroidery and crepe de chin fabric for you to keep cool in the blistering Singapore heat.
Ginlee #03-05, National Design Centre, 111 Middle Road, Singapore 188969. By appointment only.
In Good Company
For once, a label that bucks the trend, instead of setting it. Designers Kane Tan and Sven Tan (of alldressedup fame)’s strategy is a clever one – forgo the typical seasonal dictates of fashion, and focus instead on creating capsule collections of wardrobe essentials that every woman needs. And indeed, judging by In Good Company’s aesthetic of sophisticated and classic silhouettes, which are tailored to Singapore’s weather, no man, woman or child would be able to resist snagging an IGC creation or two for themselves.
In Good Company,#B1-06, ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, Singapore 238801; #B1-65 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956; Level 2, Tang Plaza 310 Orchard Road Singapore 238864
If you’re new to MATTER, here’s what you need to know: it champions connected clothing – essentially knowing where something is made, and by whom. All of its items boast story and soul; its heritage-based fabrics are crafted by artisans in India, then finished off in a fair trade factory, where garment construction is the speciality. The brand even boasts an organic cotton line of breezy, yet structured pants, as well as ones made from biodegradable fabrics. You’ll see quite a few pairs of MATTER pants around Honeycombers HQ – it’s one of our go-to brands, and absolutely worth the investment. The brand’s getting quite a lot of traction internationally now, celebs like Emily Van Camp have been spotted in the covetworthy pants.
MATTER, Available online.
Monochromatic minimalism reigns supreme at MAX.TAN, the avant-garde eponymous label that no edgy fashionista worth her salt would ever be able to resist. Designer Max Tan pays homage to deconstruction and transformation by playing with volume, quirky cuts, and unexpected silhouettes – and the results? Refreshingly studied designs with the slightest hint of androgyny that are serious but never austere, minimal but never simple.
MAX. TAN, 29 Mcnair Road Singapore 328528 (By appointment only), Threadbare & Squirrel, and Isetan Scotts.
Our Second Nature
Yet another brand flooding our feeds is Our Second Nature. Inspired by intangible everyday moments, ONS works with a London-based designer every collection to create an original print that sets the theme for each. Our favourites have got to be the matching Lily of the Valley duster kimono and pants (pictured above), and crisp, button down dresses.
Our Second Nature, Available online.
Those familiar with the name will know that Ong Shunmugam is, hands down, one of the most original homegrown fashion labels around. Best known for creating modern, wearable interpretations of traditional wear – be it the cheongsam, sari or samfu – designer Priscilla Shunmugam is a true talent with a mission to challenge the way we think about Asia’s sartorial history in modern times.
Ong Shunmugam, 43 Jalan Merah Saga 01-76 Singapore 278115.
Rye is named after a grain, which should you an idea about the brand’s direction. The up-and-coming label puts out capsule collections of timeless classics. Aesthetics-wise, we best describe the designs as comfy chic: almost all of its dresses, for instance, are roomy and come with an oversized fit.
Rye, available online or at TANGS Orchard, Nana & Bird, and Kapok at National Design Centre
We’re still enthralled by Stolen’s debut at Singapore Fashion Week in 2016. Bucking the tradition of a typical runway show, founder Elyn Wong’s showcase was a performance art spectacle, with models switching between standing stock-still, and sprawling on chairs. The enchanting show was equally matched with breathtaking designs of neutrals and soft draping juxtaposed with architectural pleats. The designs have evolved over time, but they continue to be inspired by Elyn’s love for architecture and structure.
Stolen, Available online.
No matter how big our wardrobe, there’s that 20 per cent that we keep reaching for over and over again. Well, the folks at The Form creates pieces that fit into this criteria – think elevated classics with muted palettes and a subtle edge to let your personality shine.
The Form, Available online
The Shirt Bar
Leave it to this boutique to bring you an unlimited supply of shirts – they are called the Shirt Bar, after all. Fancy a mix of printed shirts, basics and dapper formals? You’ve come to the right place. Best you complete the look with a blazer all designed with a contrasting under collar and printed inner lining.
The Shirt Bar, Available at multiple locations including Isetan Scotts and Suntec City
Clean, modern ensembles with a side of attitude? Oh hell yes. Homegrown label Thyine caters to the well-dressed woman, with a taste for minimalist designs. What we love best about the collections is that they effortlessly set you apart from the crowd, with their flawless tailoring and fashion-forward accents. We’re currently fawning over the sophisticated jumpsuits and versatile cowl neck tops (which totally belong in any capsule wardrobe) for simple, yet elegant silhouettes.
Thyine, Available online.
You’d be forgiven for not realising that whole9yards is a local brand – the brand prefers to be described as international. Don’t expect your usual feminine frocks at whole9yards. Designer Daniel Ngoo likes his floral designs interspersed with an edge – think overlapping lace over two-tone lining and royal blue jacquard blouses with drop shoulders.
Whole9yards, Available online
Ying the Label
Watercolour paintings on your dress? Trust us, you’ll have to add a piece to your wardrobe. Ying the Label’s swoonworthy hand-painted drawings perfectly blends colours, textures and the intricacy of the brush strokes to create wearable art pieces for work and play. High quality fabrics from Japan, Korea and Indonesia are used to retain the vibrant digital prints even after several washes. Pay a visit to the newly opened boutique at King Albert Park.
Ying the Label, #01-18, 9 King Albert Park (Monday-Friday, 930am-630pm; other hours by appointment only)
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