Four stylish women share why they are ardent supporters of our home-grown fashion labels, clueing us in on the up-and-coming Singapore brands that we should check out.
A true believer in dressing for herself and not one to conform to the “expected”, Parveen Hassanbhai is certainly no cookie-cutter when it comes to her personal style, citing iconic Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons as her fashion icon. She’s also a big supporter of local fashion and, in particular, Beyond The Vines, which was founded by Rebecca Ting and Daniel Chew in 2015.
“After their rebranding in 2020, I am even more drawn to their designs and philosophy,” says Parveen who has been in the public relations business for close to a decade.
Some local fashion labels that I love include… Pyar jewellery, Esse for my everyday wardrobe staples, Rawbought for its super soft and comfy pyjamas, and In Good Company, which has become a new-found place to shop for me and my parents!
When shopping for local brands… I love visiting physical boutiques. I like to get a feel of my clothes before purchasing them.
Parveen is wearing Beyond the Vines, a multidisciplinary design studio that focuses on minimalistic design sensibilities.
The prettiest local boutique in Singapore is… Indie lifestyle store Cat Socrates. It’s got a quirky vibe, and stocks lots of cute local books, toys and knick-knacks.
I dress for… Comfort most of the time, but when I’m travelling overseas, it’s definitely for fashion.
When faced with a fashion conundrum… I will look for a great pair of jeans and a white shirt. Sweats and sneakers work too!
What’s new in the local fashion scene is… Due to the influence of social media, I’ve noticed that Singaporeans are early adopters of “trend-based” clothes.
The best thing about supporting local brands is… The price point – you can get a pair of welltailored trousers for under $200 at Beyond The Vines, Rye, and In Good Company. The quality comes a close second.
Pyar is a handcrafted jewellery brand that champions sustainably sourced materials.
Looking through Salina Chai’s Instagram feed, you’ll see that she has a keen eye for fashion and styling, having been art directing, styling, and doing photography and video production for fashion and beauty clients like Chanel and Louis Vuitton since she was 21 years old.
Salina likes to keep her wardrobe filled with lots of neutral colours, everyday basics, and a few key trendy pieces. “Many local labels offer essential pieces for your wardrobe, and I stick to those few that I know have great quality pieces,” she says.
One of her favourites is Kay-Jen at Erskine Road, a local bespoke tailor established in 2012. Says Salina: “I love its signature aesthetic of soft tailoring and elegance. From fitting to finishing, meticulous attention is paid to the craftsmanship and quality of the end product. It’s my go-to place for shirts and anything custom-made!”
Some local labels that I love include… Womenswear brand Rye for its take on classic wear. It has a great range of basics at really affordable prices – muscle tanks, shirts, tanks etc. These are must-haves in your wardrobe for dressing up or down! I go to Store Unda when I am looking for something edgier and different, think gingham prints, funky corsets and multiway tank tops.
I’ve always been a fan of… The Paper Bunny. I love the creativity, originality and the concept of the stationery brand. I grew up journalling and writing cards for my loved ones – that’s why the brand’s philosophy resonates with me.
The prettiest local boutique in Singapore is… Definitely the newly opened Rye boutique at Cluny Court. I love the clean contemporary design of its interiors, which pay close attention to furnishing and details.
Salina is dressed in Kay-Jen, a local bespoke tailor she goes to for anything custommade.
A recently discovered local label I’m crushing on is… Fashion brand Michmika. I love its concept of duality. Launched in 2020, the brand designs pieces with a feminine and masculine flair.
I dress for… Both comfort and fashion. Well, it really depends on the occasion.
When faced with a fashion conundrum… I think the easiest pieces to put together are a classic tank top, trousers, and an oversized jacket or crisp white shirt.
What’s new in the local fashion scene is… Singapore brands are finally getting some “credibility” and confidence from local consumers these few years, and it may be because of the circuit breaker period [when most turned to online shopping] and the rapid growth of digital media.
The newly opened Rye boutique at Cluny Court.
This American fashion model-turned-photographer may have moved back to her hometown in Vermont, USA, last month, but when Sabrina was living in Singapore for the past six years, she was a huge fan of many Singapore labels. She describes her style as “relaxed” glam, although she confesses to being overdressed most of the time. She also enjoys accessorising, and has amassed a huge collection of earrings, bracelets and necklaces from local labels such as Boheme and Lustre Jewellery during her stay in Singapore.
Sabrina in Nika by Nikasha – a brand she recently discovered at Design Orchard.
Some local labels that I love include… Maisha Concept. The clothes are slow-made using organic cottons, and the designs are handcrafted with block printing in India. I also love Konacoco. Founder Jessica Broughton designs dresses and separates using sustainable materials and deadstock fabrics. Her designs can be washed and worn straight away – perfect for travel.
I’ve always been a fan of… Boheme for its intricate jewellery designs. I always get stopped when I’m wearing its pieces – the brand designs great conversation starters.
When shopping for local brands… Tanglin Mall is my favourite – go to Simone Irani or Badger & Fox. Joo Chiat is also a great place [to find local designers]. There is Tiger & Arcadia, The AC Boutique, and Crane Living.
The prettiest local boutique in Singapore is… Design Orchard. It’s a bonafide treasure trove bursting with local label love. I never leave there empty handed!
Handcrafted gemstone pieces by Lustre Jewellery.
A recently discovered local label I’m crushing on is… Nika by Nikasha at Design Orchard. I really appreciate all the stunning craftsmanship from the brand.
I dress for… Comfort, although it still needs to be fashionable. I’m all about long glamorous dresses that I can actually breathe in!
When faced with a fashion conundrum… I will throw on a bold coloured maxi dress and loads of jewels.
What’s new in the local fashion scene is… This is not exactly new, but it’s been revived again (after the circuit breaker in 2020). All the many pop-ups like Boutique Fairs, and many others all around the island, are honestly one of the best ways to discover local brands.
The best thing about supporting local brands is… There is something for everyone if you spend the time browsing and shopping around. I’ve seen African waxed prints, Indian block printing, upcycled creations – all done by local labels like Olive Ankara and Ashepa jewels.
Tiger & Arcadia is an eclectic lifestyle boutique in Joo Chiat.
When Monica Lie started The Ordinary Co. in 2014, her vision was to make beautiful everyday jewellery affordable for everyone. You can find pretty ear studs at $25 and gold vermeil necklaces for under $60. Today, it’s one of the pioneering independent online jewellery brands specialising in minimalist and classic pieces.
After launching a refreshed website design earlier this year. Monica now has her hands full working on content for her personal Instagram account @luxmondi, and on an upcoming collection for Ordinary Co.’s demi-fine range A Little Less, which incorporates materials such as gold vermeil with micro-pearls.
And like her brand, when it comes to her personal style, Monica gravitates toward a minimalist aesthetic. She loves browsing for fashion inspiration on Pinterest, and is also a big advocate for local brands that champion sustainability like Esse, and Fluff and Fields, which utilise uncommon materials like ramie, a linen-like fibre that is said to be twice as strong as linen.
Monica in one her favourite local labels Her Velvet Vase, a womenswear label known for its feminine and wearable designs.
Some local labels that I love include… Esse, a conscious and sustainability driven womenswear brand. It recently launched a new initiative called Wardrobe Heroes, which is a made-to-order platform specially customised to your body, height and styling preferences. I also own many pieces from Her Velvet Vase – a womenswear label known for its floral prints, and maxi and midi dresses – as I find its designs to be very feminine and womanly. Of course, it helps that they are well-made and reasonably priced too. Dresses start from just $38! From There On is another great label that has timeless and minimalist pieces that can be worn over and over again!
When shopping for local brands… Many of their online stores have very favourable returns policies, so I don’t have to worry too much about the fit, or if a design doesn’t work for me!
Sustainable local brand Esse recently launched a made-toorder initiative called Wardrobe Heroes.
A recently discovered local label that I’m crushing on is… Terrablush. The prints are just dreamy and all proprietary to the label. The cuts are also very flattering. The brand really epitomises slow fashion, taking the time to conceptualise the story behind each collection.
When faced with a fashion conundrum… A well-cut and oversized crisp shirt elevates any outfit.
What’s new in the local fashion scene is… The creation of original prints among local designers such as Minor Miracles and Binary Style. I think it only happened in the last few years ,and it’s great to see that the market is big enough and that people are receptive to these special capsule collections – almost like collectors’ art pieces. It’s definitely a testament to the online scene evolving!
The best thing about supporting local brands is… We have very attractive price points, speed of delivery and localised styles.
Her jewellery brand The Ordinary Co. has a new demi-fine collection that incorporates materials like gold vermeil and micro-pearls.