Love ‘em or hate ‘em, flea markets are the best places to marvel over cute trinkets, score a great deal by haggling and buy pieces you won’t find on other people. After attending Public Garden flea market which prides itself on “being an alternative to big-box retail” on June 1, I’m happy to share some of the cool independent vendors whose stuff I loved.
K-Pop geek that I am, I zoomed straight in on the cheeky handmade “Oppa!” decals (Oppa is the honorific term a woman uses to address an older man in Korea) and of course, the “I (heart) BIGBANG” one, both of which are now stuck proudly on my laptop. One of the owners gave me a great deal with three for $12 but informed me that the K-Pop decals are only available when they set up shop at flea markets. However, the online store features plenty of other different-sized designs you can customise, along with art cards and t-shirts. They’re also offering free registered mail delivery for a limited time.
Go to www.artitude.com.sg
The selection’s small at this multi-label online store but it’s full of sophisticated and simple pieces – I like the backless dresses and deceptively simple white blouse. What drew my attention at the event was the sleeveless nude top which comes with a detachable cape, great for days when the weather blows hot and cold.
Go to irui.com.sg
Chainless Brain makes both cute and cool designs, like a necklace chock-full of charms, and bracelets made up of a variety of metal chains. The store has expanded to include a collection of collars and affordable imported apparel.
Go to www.chainlessbrain.com
HER SWEET EMBRACE
This sweet little shop, run by designer and crafter Melanie (in collaboration with her mum too. Aw.), sells handmade accessories featuring adorable embroidered or cross-stitched designs. I love the cheeky cross-stitched “diamond” ring.
Go to www.hersweetembrace.com
WAY OUT CANVAS
Way Out Canvas is another multi-label shop, but this one stocks foreign labels like Blair Ritchey, with her sophisticated yet fashionable leather clutches, Catherine Ivins who makes accessories out of recycled and sustainable materials and Zelia Horsley, whose edgy jewellery has won her places at London and Paris Fashion Week. Prices aren’t cheap but these are definitely worthy investments as fashion statements.
Go to www.wayoutcanvas.com
LITTLE JAM JAR
The Little Jam Jar has notebooks made from scratch – that is, paper sewn with thread and needle and stamped with whimsical designs, from umbrellas and raindrops to words like “Happy Thoughts” (for your always optimistic friend) to “Evil Plans” (for your boss, perhaps?).
Go to www.littlejamjar.com
THE LITTLE HAPPY SHOP
This is the perfect shop for last-minute present shopping for friends or colleagues or when you need a cute pick-me-up. Really, who can resist a Shinzi Katoh tin of tea leaves, a Babar the Elephant metal lunch box, or a bag with Alice in Wonderland prints?
Go to thelittlehappyshop.com
WISHING WIFFIE TRINKETS
You’ll find charming, handmade vintage-inspired necklaces and lace-covered rings at Wishing Wiffie Trinkets. The owner also has another online shop at www.etsy.com where she sells nifty pouches and clutches.
Go to www.etsy.com/shop/wwtrinkets and www.etsy.com/shop/wishingwiffie
Looking for a bag with heart? Uyii sells handmade bags in all sizes, from backpacks to totes, featuring quirky fabrics and up-cycled materials. They usually produce only ten to twenty pieces of each design so originality is guaranteed. For those feeling crafty, you can sign up for Uyii’s beginner sewing classes ($260 for seven lessons). Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Go to uyii.com.sg
Student Visakan Veerasamy’s project started with a few notebook sketches and it has evolved into one which he does to “make people happy”. And his t-shirts with very Singaporean slogans like “please revert.” and “uh uh siol” and phrases which can’t be repeated here, certainly do. My favourite: “i’m on the way”, for the perpetual late-comer.
Go to www.facebook.com/statementSG
Started in 2009, this fashion label has been a pioneer in the local sustainable clothing scene. It uses organic cotton and recycled materials for its pieces, but don’t expect crunchy hippie wear. Instead, at Etrican you’ll find flirty minidresses, skirts and cardigans that prove being green doesn’t mean lowering the style quotient.
Go to www.etrican.com
Log on to www.public-garden.com for more information about Public Garden’s flea markets.