Created by brother and sister team Cherin and Clarence Tan, Laark is the latest fashion label to launch onto the Singapore scene. Described as creating unity through contrast, “all at once masculine and feminine, soft and hard, relaxed and edgy”, Laark’s first collection offers up wearable layers for the urban woman.

Cherin Tan is an award-winning interior designer who works with Singapore design powerhouse Asylum, and her brother Clarence is a quantity surveyor consultant. Both are members of what they call the “black-collar” part of working Singapore – the artists, designers, architects etc – and it’s for this group that the creative siblings have created their new label Laark. 

Laark collection tank and dresses
Laark collection cardigans and dresses
Examples of the new Singapore fashion label Laark. Images: Styling: Darren Lee from UNIFORM, Photography: Oyster, Makeup: May Tay

Produced mostly in monochrome shades of grey, black and white, the collection also features a few muted colours – navy and olive – and a simple polka-dot print. Made of sheer, light cotton jersey, these androgynous “basics” are perfect for the Singapore climate.

While the shapes can be simply described as t-shirts, tanks, long tee dresses, tights and shirtdresses; this simplicity belies the quirks inherent in Laark’s collection.

The t-shirt is voluminous enough to be dresses with tightly-fitted sleeves and a wide, almost flared bottom, turning it into a draped dress. The tank is a double layered top with cut-outs, or actually a multi-style “interchangeable” swing dress; the long dresses are super simple in their straight, free-size cuts, but endlessly adaptable, light enough to be worn layered over or under each other.

Laark’s shirtdresses are particularly versatile. The button-down batwing dress can be worn as a tunic top, a cardigan or a stand-alone dress, as can the maxi zip-front dress. The pin-front layered dress is surprisingly sexy, its subtle tucks and folds along the front waist area creating a slimline back. Simplistic though the tunic shirtdress is, the soft-fold front pockets and the relaxed shoulders and sleeves adds interesting volume.

The pants, while certainly comfortable-looking, are perhaps not the most flattering of shapes – the drop-crotch and harem pant does nothing for anyone, not even models look good in these styles – but the polka-dot culotte looks very wearable with its mid-calf length right on trend.

Where Laark has succeeded beautifully is in its “outerwear” – although in Singapore this is more like “innerwear” in that it’s needed for all our air-conditioned buildings.

The series of cardigans, capes and vests are voluminous without being overpowering; you can tell they would look awesome over a stiff white shirt and skinny trousers. Laark’s “Raw Neck Crop Crew” is an incongruous name for a piece that looks somewhat like a poncho but in a soft cotton jersey is much more flattering, and again, would look great thrown over a more fitted dress or trousers.

Laark also has a few accessories to set off your new wardrobe. Its Be-jewelled Felt Necklace is particularly striking, and looks wonderfully soft and easy to wear as its felt backing conforms to your body shape.

All in all, Laark’s first foray into the Singapore fashion scene is an accomplished collection of wearable pieces. Designers Cherin and Clarence have successfully created a range for the “black-collared” of Singapore; their stated aim.

The complete Laark collection is only available online at www.thelaark.com, although a selected range is also available from Front Row at Raffles Hotel Arcade. Prices are fairly reasonable. The tank costs $60, dresses range from $70 to $170 for the interchangeable swing dress, cardigans and capes cost between $60 and $130 and the lovely Be-jewelled Felt Necklace is only $40.

With prices like these, it’s well-worth visiting Laark for yourself, get in on the ground floor of a new Singapore fashion label at prices you can afford; while you can.

Laark’s debut collection is available online at www.thelaark.com. Singapore orders are shipped within three working days Monday through Friday excluding weekends and public holidays – so if you want something before Christmas get in now. Packages are sent via registered mail with a flat rate postage charge liable for each transaction and you can use Visa, Mastercard or Paypal to pay. Laark also ships internationally via Singpost with a 7-14 day delivery time or you can contact them for faster delivery but, obviously it will cost more. Go to www.thelaark.com/customer-service for more details. A selected range is also available at Front Row Singapore, Raffles Hotel Arcade #02-08/09, 328 North Bridge Road.