I have a confession to make. A lot of people I know love wearing their new clothes at the earliest chance they get. I, on the other hand, have a habit of keeping my new clothes in my closet for as long as I can, until there’s an occasion that calls for some fresh threads. This printed shirt that I got from Harajuku in Tokyo has been hanging in my wardrobe for the past one and a half years, waiting patiently to be worn. That opportunity came around recently and it felt so good to have it on!
I love the llama print and it felt right to pair it with an equally fun make-up look. I have Fenty Beauty’s Mattemoiselle in One Of The Boyz on my lips, and Match Stix in Unicorn across my cheekbones. I’m also wearing a pair of Alta earrings in Ultraviolet by madebyhazymomo, lovingly crafted by my friend Haz. You can check out her other designs over on her Instagram if you’d like. Happy browsing!
This past Saturday, I dropped by the Public Garden for the first time. It’s a showcase of local and regional independent brands and their work, and I was glad that I finally got a chance to attend after always hearing about it from friends and social media. Here’s my loot from the market. (Coincidentally, all three buys are from brands based in Indonesia!)
The first is a pouch by Kamarasan. They had their clothing collection on display, which featured ethnic-influenced prints. This design concept extends into their pouches that came in different sizes and styles. I got one as a case for my headphones, but I do wish that I got more because there were quite a number of prints that caught my eye. Next time, then!
My next find was a pair of earrings from Ansy Savitri. Their latest collection is inspired by Qashani, which is a form of Persian decorative art used in tile work, and can be found in mosques or buildings in Iran. The blue roses you see on the leather base of the earrings is handpainted, taking cues from the floral motifs that can often be found in their design inspiration. The finishing touch? Beads that take on the shape of leaves and a stem, completing the flowers. They came in several colours, with different finishes on the beads. These stood out the most for me because I love how vibrant they are!
My last buy was a pair of earrings from sadhu. Their brand signature: Woven accessories using rattan handcrafted in Bali. The owners of the store shared that they also source their components from Japan. On top of that, according to the little note that came in the box, they use re-purposed clam shells sourced from local clam farms. I absolutely love that sadhu works together with local businesses and Indonesian craftsman to create these works of art.
On display were rattan earrings in all sorts of shapes and sizes, in both symmetrical and asymmetrical styles. I picked out this pair from the lot, which is from their Chinese New Year collection and named “Purnama”, which refers to the full moon in both Malay and Bahasa.
What are some of your favourite independent fashion brands?
Nothing quite like a celebration of local talent to make a Saturday night. On a hotel rooftop, no less! The lovely people from the Singapore Fashion Runway invited me down for their SG50 runway show on the 29th of August at klapsons, The Boutique Hotel. It was a memorable evening and I was especially thrilled to see models of diverse backgrounds and age groups walking the runway. This made it extra special as it proved to be an inclusive, community effort, as it was to honour 50 years of fashion in Singapore. It was great to see fashion through the years come to life on the runway, from 60’s fashion all the way to 21st century eveningwear!
Among the labels showcased that night, BATUA by Barsha caught my attention. Founded in 2012 in Mumbai, BATUA by Barsha started out specialising in designer bags (‘batua’ being the Hindi translation for ‘small bags’) but had started developing itself to include clothing for women. The collection featured at Singapore Fashion Runway was inspired by Singaporeans’ appreciation for traditional Indian wear as observed by designer Barsha when she shifted here. This triggered the idea of creating fashionable Indo-Fusion looks with easy-to-drape sarees and slip-ons for the modern woman.
(Photo credit: Singapore Fashion Runway)
(Photo credit: Singapore Fashion Runway)
Barsha believes in a incorporating blend of Indian ethnicity and Western attitudes in her designs. This was evident in an eye-catching saree-inspired gown, one of my favourites of the evening. This piece was designed as a way of converting the traditional saree into a single dress form, allowing it to be more easily donned yet having it maintain the essence of traditional Indian wear. In line with her label’s identity, Barsha incorporated geometric prints and cuts as the design’s Western elements to create the Indo-Fusion look that formed the backbone of the collection. This Indo-Fusion feel made another appearance with a red and white gown, another favourite of the evening. Barsha designed this piece following a special SG50 theme, having it bear the colours of Singapore’s national flag. The white embroidery against the red fabric coupled with the subtle use of pearl created a classy, understated elegance that allowed the gown to make a statement without being too overwhelming (as some evening gowns can be).
Yard Yarn was another favourite label of the evening. Naturally, my love for statement jewellery drew me to this collection, which featured a mix of hardware parts and leather textile as inspired by fusions between living organisms and still life. The label was started a year ago by founder Gin Tan, who felt that there was a demand in the local market for affordable designer jewellery (I totally agreed with her on this point). Since then, she’s been pouring her heart and soul into Yard Yarn, a brand designed for the modern hippie crowd who enjoys and celebrates eccentric mix.
Besides the boldness and eccentricity of her designs, I also loved how versatile they could be. Each necklace had a pair of lobster clasps where the design and the chain meet. Should someone want to shorten or lengthen her necklace to match her outfit, all she has to do is unsnap these clasps and snap them onto the chain with the desired length. This makes for more customisable layering and flexibility to create the looks that you want. I don’t know about you, but I’m all for added versatility!
Special thanks to Singapore Fashion Runway for the great night! It’s always fun discovering new brands and these platforms are so important in helping local independent designers reach out to other like-minded individuals, as well as allow unique international labels make their presence felt in such a saturated market. As Gin from Yard Yarn mentioned to me that evening, it is so important to have creatives in the local industry support one another and I was glad that I was part of this opportunity!