It bothers me from time to time that I don't blog more about designers and brands from Singapore - and it's not surprising I guess, since you don't read about them all that much and the shops I favour tend to be international labels. It started out that way because local shops, even now, hardly carry my size. They do that S, M, L thing which is fine for tops, but sucks ass for bottoms.
Local designers also seem to favour lots of flaps, frills, and other extraneous things which I aesthetically don't favour. And when I touch a piece by a local designer, I'm not at all attracted to it because the fabrics are so-so - they don't justify the cost. I don't mind paying good money for clothes, but at that sort of prices, they can't look too amatuerish. If you want people to spend on you instead of affordable (but quite lovely) clothing from mass-market labels like Zara and Topshop et al, it has to look a little more convincing and enticing.
Most of all, they seem to lack a point of view. The best designers, in my opinion, design with a clear vision in mind, whether it's a woman, a concept of fabric, a colour, a landscape. When I look at a skirt by Nicholas, I wonder which woman would wear that.
I'm talking about this because I was reading in the latest Newsweek about how Alldressedup by Sven Tan has been picked up by Saks Fifth Avenue, and possibly Lane Crawford. That's good news, because I assume that means someone is finally making clothes that can stand up to being displayed next to other fine offerings from designers.
Alldressedup isn't bad - it's priced sort of like labels like 3.1 Phillip Lim (cheaper actually) and while I've never tried on the clothes, they pass my tactile test and seem charming and nicely made -
It's nice to see local designers get some publicity - one thing I feel bad about for them is the lack of attention they get. And Singaporeans are terrible about local talent - we all seem deeply unconvinced that anyone here can achieve something noteworthy. We're afraid to dream, and we tend to put down others for trying.
Anyway, here are some other designers who showed some noteworthy looks at the Singapore Fashion Festival in March. Harry Halim (who won the Singapore Fashion Designers Contest and the Asian Young Fashion Designers Contest) showed a short body-con silhouette that's very of the moment and increasingly popular with the younger set these days -
Not my style personally, but I like the colours, and like I said, I like a point of view.
Baylene of Baylene Gallery appears to have streamlined her look somewhat and her clothes now are more sophisticated and definite somehow. Her tailoring, while inspired, could use some work -
But she does seem to have a knack for dresses -
The eWomb collection by K. Mi Huang has some great polished, sporty looking separates it's the sort of well-done urban clothing that's relaxed enough for our climate and casual-dressing mentality -
If only there were more pictures.
By my usual rules for clothing, I should hate the Woods and Woods collection by Jonathan Seow, with features the sort of flapping bits that irritate me, but I have to say that his collection was the most polished and confident of the lot.
The clothes are actually pretty wearable when you take them apart. I do rather covet the last dress.
All in all, I think we do have a pretty diverse range of talent, and personally, I would love to hear their thoughts and struggles - where do they buy their fabrics? who sells their clothes? who do they want to see wearing them? - and I hope in time to see more profiles of them being carried in magazines and papers.
I wouldn't say their designs are amazing, but some of them actually make me want to try them on, and I think that's a good sign. I'm definitely keeping an eye out for them.
Pictures from http://flickr.com/photos/youthsg/sets/72157594583749053/