Fashion is not the first thing that comes to mind when Singapore rolls off the tongue. The architectural beauty that is Marina Bay Sands, late night supper spots, and a wealth of sky-high bars usually take precedence. But what of local designers and fashion labels that our city has to offer? From storied textiles for the culture lover to boyish tailoring for the androgynous, city denizen, look beyond the chrome skyscrapers and you'll find the talented individuals behind these 10 Singapore brands worth discovering.
Take a glance at the decade young label and you'll glean that founder and designer Elyn Wong harbours an insatiable appetite and passion for architecture. Her talent for form and expression manifests in Stolen's arresting sharp lines, polished neutrals and the alluring trait of 'alternate sexiness' — born of Wong's design trope that celebrates the graceful curves of the female back with plunging cuts.
If you're wondering why Dzojchen sports effortlessly slick vibes accompanied by the elusive cool factor, that's because its creative eye Chelsea Scott-Blackhall has been privy to both sides of the coin. Formerly a model and now the force behind the Singapore label that's gaining traction on an international stage, here's how Scott-Blackhall's varied experiences in the fashion industry has bore fruit: In a well-calibrated mix of wardrobe staples peddling the androgynous slash model-off-duty look.
3. Collate The Label
The best part about Singapore's stash of local labels is its welcomed diversity. Making sure that there's something for everyone is Collate The Label, a brand that prides itself in fuss-free silhouettes that are easy to wear. Elevating the everyday ensemble with playful colour-blocking and asymmetrical ruffles, its founder Velda Tan has first and foremost set the brand in motion with inclusivity in mind. Here's to clothing real women.
There's more to this two-year-old label than the wanderlust it incites. Built upon the concept of travelling pants, founder Renyung Ho has brought the artistry of India — think: block printing and hand looming techniques — and the importance of provenance to our sunny shores. In the short time that Matter has sparked the travel bug in all of us, they've expanded their line of lounge trousers to include tops, shorts, scarves, jumpsuits, and eco-friendly pouches. All in signature Matter prints tinged with the colour of traditions.
5. Beyond The Vines
With Beyond The Vines, modern simplicity is its bedrock above all. Purveying a clean aesthetic executed in predominately solid hues, here's your solution to the morning struggle of not knowing what to wear. Aside from their timeless sensibilities that make for the foundation of any wardrobe, they're also always on the pulse with incorporating the season's latest trends. Stock up on SS16's well-loved slip dresses and pleated skirts here.
6. Ong Shunmugam
A young label with an old soul, founder and designer Priscilla Shunmugam offers a glimpse into culture's past. Taking the charm of eras bygone and infusing it with a contemporary spirit, Ong Shunmugam offers up more than just clothes — the designer's arsenal of storied prints and form-flattering cuts also offer an insight into Asia's rich heritage.
7. In Good Company
The brainchild of a design quartet, In Good Company is a breath of fresh air and the anti-thesis to the overwhelming sphere of trend-led fast fashion. Tipping the scales with a well-balanced focus on quality, individuality, and affordability, check them out for a refreshing perspective on fabric draping and design geometrics. Remember this: It's the details that count.
8. Biro Company
Singapore-based and Japan-manufactured menswear label Biro Company is a beacon of supreme craftsmanship. Their tight selection of staples — from collared shirts and garbadine jackets to chinos and denim pants — hit home with men that know quality best. Preferring to source for fabrics without imposing pre-conceived designs upon their canvas, the alternative approach brothers Keng How and Kage Chong have taken are perhaps the secret to their indispensible basics.
9. Elohim by Sabrina Goh
Designer Sabrina Goh is a concept-driven individual when it comes to her craft. First seeking out her inspiration and then bringing it to life, Elohim's signature bold strokes and relaxed cuts have played home to even the gradated rocks of China's Danxia landform. The result: A cohesive design voice that's both graphical and minimalistic at once. Also, a fashion reprieve for intrepid wanderers.
Experimental label max.tan is known for colouring outside the lines. Each season, its namesake designer reinvents the wheel with his innovative, new silhouettes — his perennial ode to black serving as a highlight of his creativity in cut, construction and fabrication. These memorable pieces are the best way to make a statement.