In the third, and final, of our interviews with the designers of the three Singapore fashion labels that are showing in the Singapore Designers Showcase as part of this year’s Audi Fashion Festival which officially kicks off on Wednesday, May 16, 2012, we chat with Daniel Loh and Nic Wong, the guys behind fashion label Saturday.
A collaboration between veteran fashion designer Nic Wong and Daniel Loh, Saturday was established in 2009 and aims to celebrate “the imperfect, the impermanent and the incomplete”.
Saturday is known for its minimal shapes and a “pragmatic approach” to creating fashion, for example, taking the ubiquitous jersey fabric and making it chic.
How important are events like Audi Fashion Festival for developing fashion labels?
The Audi Fashion Festival has always been an important platform for both established and emerging brands, local and international, to showcase their creations, as well as market and promote their brands. The Festival helps put brands front and centre for the media and the public.
It’s one of the only platforms that allows emerging designers to show their work. What they can take away from this experience is the knowledge of how to put together a show should the need ever arise in the future. The Festival essentially creates opportunities for brand exposure while being a valuable learning experience at the same time.
Have you seen a change in Singapore shoppers’ attitudes towards buying local designers? If so, what? If not, what’s your position?
There have been several changes in the way people shop over the last decade. When brands like Esprit grew in prominence from the late 1990s, many local shoppers gravitated towards high street brands which offered them ‘fast’ fashion. They filled the gap between the international luxury brands and us, so it was hard for us to do what we do.
The last two years, however, have seen the rise of a group of Singaporeans that is more discerning. They are often young professionals over 25 who see the importance of dressing well for all occasions. What is great for local designers is that they also want to own pieces that are not mass produced, and value quality over price. We call them brand loyalists – customers who always come back to us for their fashion fix.
They want to express themselves in more radical ways and find that we can deliver what they desire. Service and quality are guaranteed, and with most local labels, we follow up with our customers. It’s not just about the apparel or the brand, but also the shopping experience and the relationships that are formed.
Where would you like to see your label in 5 to 10 years time?
We hope to constantly improve and fine tune the brand’s aesthetic and reach out more to local, regional and international shoppers. We have worked with Vice and Vanity (Spring 2010 & 2011), but we are open to diversifying our brand to include sculptural projects and even home ware – that was in the pipeline and still is. We’re working towards packaging a holistic lifestyle brand, taking fashion to another level, beyond apparel. We may collaborate with other players in the creative industry, both locally and internationally – but on top of that, it’s about building a network of local designers who support one another.
Do you think there is a distinct ‘Asian’ fashion aesthetic? If yes, describe. If not, why not?
Asia is a continent that has very diverse cultures, each one with a strong and distinctive flavour. So there are actually several distinct fashion aesthetics in different parts of Asia. In countries like Japan, Thailand, and Korea, this aesthetic is strongly influenced by their culture, which local designers tap into and draw inspiration from. The Asian fashion aesthetic also finds its way into a variety of designs, from over-the-top avant garde looks to the usual departmental store look that can be found anywhere.
The Singapore Designer Showcase takes place on May 18 at 5pm at the Tent@Orchard (Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza). Although this is an invitation only event, stay tuned to discover how you can win tickets to attend. Follow @AudiFashionFest on Twitter for updates on the Singapore Designer Showcase under the #SGDesigners hashtag.
To attend other AFF shows, go to audifashionfestival.com/tickets for more information. Audi Fashion Festival runs from May 16 to May 20, 2012. For more information on the complete line-up, go to: audifashionfestival.com/calendar.