Singapore’s signature fashion design competition Audi Star Creation has announced its winners for 2014, but despite there being three entrants from Singapore the prizes went to designers from South Korea, Hong Kong
and China.

Why were there no Singapore winners at Audi Star Creation 2014 DECOR SINGAPORE DESIGNERSSingapore’s three entrants in the Audi Star Creation 2014 fashion design contest: Leong Yaowen (above far left); Angeline Oei Shoo Jun (above centre) and Keh Min Chloe (above far right). Each designer’s collection had strong points but none of them managed to tick all the boxes of the judging criteria.
Images: Audi Star Creation

Here’s my entirely personal opinion as to why there may have no winners from Singapore this year, and also why it’s relatively difficult for emerging ‒ and in fact, even more established ‒ designers and fashion labels from Singapore to succeed globally.

The reason I decided to write this blog is because as I was leaving the Audi Star Creation 2014 runway show and announcement of the first three winners, I overheard a number of Singapore fashion students bemoaning their, presumed, lack of skill … “If he entered and didn’t win, then I’ve got no chance” was one strongly expressed opinion I heard.

When it comes right down to brass tacks, my opinion on the central reason why the non-Singaporean designers won is because they were generally just better. They had better, more fully thought-out concepts; better, more fully-realised collections; and better, much better, quality of production and finishing.

In the first instance, Singapore designers can compete ‒ they just have to refine, refine, edit, refine and edit again … Repeat, and repeat again. They need to be ruthless in casting off ideas that are clunky, that don’t work or have been seen before or are too “conceptual” to be realistically worn by ordinary, non-model, individuals.

My personal plea to emerging designers: Please edit! And don’t just listen to what your friends and family say about how good something is; get an unbiased opinion of your work from an industry insider you respect before diving into production.

In the other two instances, however, Singapore designers are at somewhat of a disadvantage. Singapore, unfortunately, does not have a well-developed garment, accessories or fabric manufacturing industry. You can’t nip down to a local sample factory and get four pairs of experimental shoes made, for example, as you can in Hong Kong, Korea and China.

It’s necessary to keep in mind that the Audi Star Creation contest has a strong commercial element as part of its judging criteria, therefore collections that are “retail ready” ‒ ie. would be easily able to be put into production and sold almost immediately ‒ do get strong marks when the contest is being judged.

So, while the disadvantage of restricted access to quality manufacturing and production continues to exist, Singapore designers have to work harder to compete against those from countries with stronger manufacturing industries; but this doesn’t mean they can’t compete on the level of concept.

Singapore designers simply have to work harder from the perspective of design and concept to distinguish themselves from the herd of hundreds of thousands of young people around the world all thinking they’ll be the next “Alexander Wang” or “Yohji Yamamoto”.

Don’t be too discouraged though, it can be done. You just have to be hungry enough to want it and work hard. Good luck!

For more details about Audi Star Creation 2014, go to the event’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/StarCreationSG.

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