Photos: Playhood, Jiakuma, Frill Thrill, Studio Emoi, Livlov Jewelry

1. Playhood

Playhood = denim + hand painted botanical illustrations.

Photo: Playhood

Denim may be a wardrobe staple for many people, but that doesn’t mean it has to look uniform. At Playhood, founder Sarah Lai imbues each piece of denim clothing with its own character by hand-painting botanical illustrations onto it. A graduate of the London College of Fashion who has had experience working at brands like Mary Katrantzou and Xiao Li, she combines her love for vintage denim with her artistic skills to create wearable artwork. 

Her two-year-old brand has a collection of ready-to-wear items; customisation services are also available using customers’ own denim apparel or vintage denim sourced from Japan. 

“When customising a new piece, I will research different flowers and plants and select those with meanings that I feel suit my client best, such as lilies to symbolise innocence or pansies for thoughtfulness. Getting the client involved also makes the garment more special to them as they are directly consulted in the creative and designing process of their own clothing,” she says.

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2. Jiakuma

Photo: Jiakuma

The brand was founded by Giacomo Ghelfi and Mar Cusso, an Italian-Spanish couple who used to design statement jewellery. When they moved to Singapore in 2015, they “discovered all the amazing textiles from this region”. 

It was then that they designed their eco-friendly bento bag, inspired by Japanese origami azuma bukuro bags. Says Giacomo: “We want people to have a cool bag for shopping and avoid using plastic bags.” 

The bags are made from small pieces of textile purchased from vendors around South-east Asia, and no two are alike. All are handmade in the brand’s Singapore studio. 

Recently, they added dumpling bags – inspired by the local game of five stones – and will soon roll out espardenyes shoes made with jute soles and scrap textile pieces.

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3. Frill Thrill

Photo: Frill Thrill

This one-year-old label specialises in making fun, quirky acrylic earrings that are big, loud and proud. Started by Priscilla Ong a year ago as a way to raise funds for the Cat Welfare Society, the label designs and makes the earrings from scratch. 

“Our designs are mainly retro-inspired, from an era when earrings were oversized and colourful,” says Priscilla, a graphic designer who graduated from Lasalle College of the Arts. “Apart from being able to donate a portion of our sales to the cat community, another motivating factor behind starting the brand was to offer a more unique and limited range of accessories so that consumers would get to enjoy something exclusive and original,” she explains.

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4. Studio Emoi

Photo: Studio Emoi

The word “emoi” means feelings in French. And that is what designer Laura Tudal hopes to help people express with her line of handmade jewellery. “When I arrived in Singapore a few years ago, I was looking for meaningful jewellery made in a material that could resist day-to-day life in Asia, where there’s exposure to the sun and sea. I quickly realised there weren’t many such midrange products, so I decided to create Studio Emoi,” explains Laura.

Craftsmen shape tarnish-resistant 14K gold-filled wire into words or symbols of your choice.

“A belief, a mantra, a place that we keep in memory, a nickname or the initials of a loved one – we give life to meaningful words that we will then wear every day,” she says.

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5. LivLov Jewelry

Photo: Livlov Jewelry 

For bespoke, nature-inspired engagement or wedding rings, this is the company to look up. Started by Ang Xuemin about three years ago (though her fascination with gems and jewellery-making stretches back to her teens), the idea came about while she was searching for a wedding ring that would reflect the love of nature she shares with her spouse. 

She didn’t find one. Instead, she says: “I stumbled upon the art of metalsmithing and wanted to make rings in uncommon and small sizes as most local girls are unable to find them. I wanted to create pieces that are delicate but lasting, and easy as everyday wear.” 

Each bespoke piece is designed according to the meaning or sentiment the customer wants to convey, with inspiration coming from shapes and forms in nature. “Livlov is all about embracing imperfections and the whimsies of nature. We’re big on handmade products, where every piece is a product of creativity and mindfulness,” she says.

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Grab a copy of Her World’s August 2019 issue now or download it here.