What happens when Buro 24/7 Singapore gets their very own pop-up store? We support local talent by bringing together three Singaporean designers under one roof.
After a month of planning and numerous meetings, we are proud to present Elohim by Sabrina Goh, Matter, and Arete Goods as our first three homegrown labels to be showcased in our pop-up at Scotts Square. From limited-edition shirtdresses (designed in collaboration with Buro) to a delicately woven green Jamdani scarf (yet to be officially launched), we've curated our favourite pieces for your shopping convenience.
Buro 24/7 Singapore speaks to the designers behind the brands to discover more about their latest collections and, what will surely become hot sellers, their exclusive in-store pieces made just for us.
1. ELOHIM BY SABRINA GOH
What's the inspiration behind the FW15 collection?
Sabrina Goh: When I was in New York to showcase my collection at the New York Market during SS15, I had a chance to visit the American Museum of Natural History where I was inspired by sedimentary rocks. I was particurlary inspired by the Danxia mountain in China. I found the natural red minerals that form the entire moutain simply stunning.
What excites you about the pop-up with Buro?
SG: Collaborations are always a good way of fostering new ideas and fuelling creativity that I otherwise would not have thought of. Collabs forces you out of your comfort zone and makes you think out of the box. I also love the idea behind Buro's endless support for local talent. If not for that support, we won't be able to grow as a brand and in the industry.
What is your favourite piece from the FW15 collection?
SG: My favourite piece is actually the neoprene coat. It's actually Diane Von Furstenberg's favourite piece too. She personally picked out that coat during our one-on-one session when she was in town for Singapore Fashion Week and the Fashion Futures programme. It's also a coat from the first full fall/winter collection I designed to internationalise the brand.
What styling advice do you have for people who would like to wear your printed pieces?
SG: It really depends on one's individual style. I have customers who are confident enough to wear the same print from head-to-toe. I remember Tracy Phillips wore the Danxia pullover and Gia asymmetrical skirt in the same print during Singapore Fashion Week and pulled it off so well.
WHAT'S IN THE STORE:
MATTER's latest launch is a special collection in collaboration with a few Asian designers. What's the story behind the Then & There edition?
Renyung Ho: I've always wanted Matter to be a collaborative brand — that's why it's called Matter. It's a thing that connects all of us. Collaboration with designers is what will help make rural textile artisanship sustainable. When we first launched last year, we had one collaboration with local designer team, Fictive Fingers, and it was from there we decided to push it further this year. Matter focuses a lot on Asian artisanship and one of my strongest passions is to elevate the value of Asian heritage craft by means of a collaborative effort with Asian designers. For this collection, we looked at different countries in Asia that were design capitals as well as regional craft centres. So that's why we have Philippines, India, Indonesia and naturally Singapore because we are based here.
Whenever we go to a certain place, our goal is to discover the country's cultural heritage and history in the form of prints and motifs in that particular location. So the concept of the collection was to design something about Asia and the threads that connect us. We told the designers to think about a culture motif that represents their country and tells a story through that print. For example, the Singapore print is the kopitiam tiles because the coffeeshop is the centre of Singapore's melting pot. It is there where different ethnicities come together over good food and to hang out.
MATTER is launching a special scarf collection called Jamdani. Tell us more about this collection.
RH: Jamdani was brought to us by a designer called Sonica Kapur who also works with us as our production manager in India. When I first started Matter, she introduced me to this new weaving technique called Jamdani, which actually means flower pot in Bengali. It's an extremely fine weaving technique from Habipur. She explained to me that Jamdani is one of the most at risk craft in India because of the difficulty and intricacy of the technique. It's different because it's a chambray weave together with motifs.
What is your personal favourite piece from the Then & There collection?
RH: I really like the Modern Monpe in Singapore Stone. Firstly, for its boyish cut. Secondly, the print is a story about Singapore that I'm personally attached to. Thirdly, Yah Leng Yu from Foreign Policy Design Group is great to work with, so it's a great relationship there. Lastly, the fabric. I've never worked with incredibly soft khadi cotton before. It's entirely hand-spun, hand-loomed and hand blockprinted fabric which makes it a very luxurious yet meaningful product.
Any style tips you can share?
RH: Most of the people who buy Matter are confident enough to experiment and style it in their own way. So like the Monpe for example, some will do it with a drapy soft silk top or you can do it with a structured shirt. The way I've seen people wear it is so varied and that's why I think people love it. They just style it however they feel most comfortable.
WHAT'S IN THE STORE:
BURO EXCLUSIVE: The Jamdani scarf in green and grey is pre-launched and sold exclusively at the Buro pop-up.
3. ARETE GOODS
Tell us the story behind Arete Goods.
Geraldine Goh: The idea for a new business started with a common problem between me and my business partner, Diana. Both of us could not find good quality, comfortable and well-priced ballet flats. I have rather large feet and the flats that are available in the market though comfortable, were exorbitant. They could only last a month or two because they are fabric-lined plus I walk plenty. Also, having worked as a luxury buyer, I could see how prices get marked up multiple times before the product reaches the end consumer. I was certain we could do better!
Diana Chan: From many years of walking in high heels that were too narrow, I'm plagued with bunions on both feet. So I began searching for a shoemaker who after making several pairs of flats for me fell into poor health and retired. I decided to take matters into my own hands by looking for a manufacturer. One thing led to another and since I was already sewing clothes for myself, it was a natural progression to start creating clothes for women.
So when we sat down one Saturday afternoon discussing the pains of buying shoes, the idea of Arete Goods was born. Beyond footwear, we hope to bring to the modern woman, well-made, timeless and affordable wardrobe staples that have beautiful form but more importantly possess great functionality.
Why shirt dresses?
DC: Having been in the menswear industry for four years now (with my other endeavour being Vanda Fine Clothing which creates handsewn men's accessories), I look at our womenswear line with a menswear perspective. The way men "geek" over the smallest of details in their limited choice of garments and accessories is really fascinating. Therefore, what better way to highlight these uncommon details, like mother of pearl buttons, single needle stitching and french seams than putting them on a very simple shirtdress pattern?
GG: To launch our first collection in May, we wanted a clothing piece that is versatile and suitable for summer weather especially in Singapore. Our shirtdresses are no-fuss and easy to wear. It's definitely a reliable piece that can be styled in any way you like.
What excites you about the pop-up collaboration with Buro?
GG: Because we look at product details and construction very closely, the pop-up is a useful opportunity for us to educate the audience personally about the quality and fit of our products. Buro has picked some really interesting fabrics and collars for the exclusively designed Buro x Arete Goods collection which we've never thought of before. So it was really fun to experiment together! Buro has garnered a global and digital-savvy audience who appreciates in-depth content and quality brands and in return will also be interested in what we have to offer.
What is your favourite piece from the Buro x Arete Goods exclusive shirt dress collection?
GG: I love the club collar style in grey seersucker. The fabric has a unique texture and the dress exudes a sporty yet elegant feel. You could dress it down with white sneakers or dress it up with espadrilles for a holiday getaway!
DC: I like adding a pop of colour to an otherwise plain dress, so the plain white twill shirtdress with the band collar is the perfect blank canvas.
Do you have any style tips on how to dress up shirt dresses?
GG: I like neutral colours such as navy, black, white and cream so I usually wear my shirtdresses with a leather belt, a dainty short necklace, my Vera ballet flats in Midnight and the sleek Penta Tote in Noir. On some days when I feel like colour, I'll tie the Pezuri silk sash around the waist.
DC: I'm dressed casually most of the time, so I would wear my shirtdresses over a pair of torn jeans. With either our Calla or Vera ballet flats of course, as I stand all day so comfort is key.
WHAT'S IN THE STORE:
BURO EXCLUSIVE: In collaboration with Buro, Arete Goods has designed three exclusive shirtdresses — the Marui seersucker, the Surudo blue zephyr and the Bando white twill — only available at the Buro 24/7 pop-up store.
To shop the collections and Buro exclusive pieces, visit the Buro Pop-up store at 6 Scotts Road, Scotts Square #01-06 (open daily from 10am to 10pm) from now until 29 November.
SATURDAY SESSIONS WITH THE DESIGNERS
Come down to the Buro pop-up on 28 November, Saturday from 2-4pm to meet the designers in person along with workshop activities and shopping privileges.
Photography: Vanessa Caitlin
Sittings editor: Norman Tan
Fashion direction: Dora Aljoofri
Makeup & hair: Ira Tedja using Make Up For Ever
Styling assistance: Andrea Sim
Lighting: Elinchrom, available at Cathay Photo