Thursday 9 February 2012

Next big thing? The Singapore labels who hit the spot at Parco next NEXT

One of the great things about fashion is that nothing in the industry stands still. There is always something and someone new to discover and potentially fall in love with!

Yesterday was one of those days where I get to do what I love best; meeting new emerging designers and previewing their maiden collections which will only hit Parco next NEXT store in April.

Naturally the mood at these events is super exciting and optimistic and from talking to these talents, I can sense that the fact that they are finally doing what they always wanted to do is satisfying enough for them. Regardless how the business side of it goes, at least they are getting the chance to live the dream.

All the new designers from Parco next NEXT seemed optimistic and eager to
show the crowds what they've got.

And despite the difference of their approaches and inspirations (they varied from the visually impaired to Robin Hood and Architecture…), they all share one thing in common: the hope of reaching like-minded people who understand and appreciate their work.

In total, the third batch of designers emerging from Parco’s incubator program consists of 18 labels who meander from minimalist to practical to dreamy and ambitious. From the ubiquitous black and greys to explosions of colours. I can definitely see more variation in the approaches and styles this time around and I have to say I was quite impressed by some of them.

To review them all and compare them in this post would be unfair and hasty especially as most had only a handful of samples to showcase. But from their lookbooks and sketches I can see they are a work in progress. So instead I will tell you about the three new labels that blew me away.


I'm still swooning over this gorgeous outfit from Lion Earl...

The details are all hand made and took the designer 40 hours of work!

By far and away the most gorgeous piece of the day (and in a long while really) was a black structured ensemble from
Lion Earl’s collection, which didn’t so much grab my attention as kidnap it, take it to an isolated hillside location and demand a significant ransom. Taking their inspiration from architectural forms, Lionel and Hariz have put in place the foundations for a serious career.

Besides the coherent theme and philosophy which you cannot ignore, the execution of the pieces is immaculate and so sophisticated that I bet every local fashionista worthy of the name will be queuing up for their custom-made designs very soon!

The talented duo behind the label, Lionel and Hariz

Creating unique yet flattering cuts which combine elegance with rough edges and stunning details (working on one skirt took the designers 40 hours!), their pieces are closer to ‘couture’ than ready-to-wear. I personally cannot wait to see the whole collection and if I can fit this sample, I’ll be begging to borrow it for one of my events bearing in mind that you need to order the pieces a couple of months in advance. Totally worth it though!


MASH-UP were not afraid to stand out with their playful and colour-rich designs

OK back down to earth, more specifically the street. Next up on my hot list is a playful and fun streetwear label MASH-UP.

I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes when I caught a glimpse of their off-the-wall designs. I almost had to pinch myself to believe this was indeed a Singaporean label!

I love the young and energetic feel of their ‘Totemania’ collection which takes a lot of inspiration from Native American tribes in terms of patterns and forms yet maintains an urban feel with denim and patches of neon hued fabric.

Sounds interesting right?
Daniela and Nathanael, 2 of the designers of MASH-UP wearing their creations

MASH-UP which is a ‘mash up’ of three designers, Nathanael, Daniela and Shaf offers something new and original in Singapore. The DIY spirit of the collection which they reinforce in their blog ( injects even more fun to daily fashion.

My favourite piece from this unisex label has to be the denim dress adorned with colourful patches. Come mid-April I’ll be popping past to grab it. I’m not entirely sure how well they will go down in Singapore but we’ll have to wait and see.

I love this denim dress with all the sewn in details...
All the patches are from recycled fabric as well.


Is Singapore finally discovering its colour palette? If some of these designers have their way then the monotones are on their way out.

But RÊVASSEUR is totally unapologetic with its explosive colour and pattern combinations. It’s sending a clear message to Singaporean women. STOP WEARING BLACK.

Tucked in the corner, RÊVASSEUR's designs were way more colourful than everything
else around...

The designs owed more to Tokyo than Singapore, so it was not a surprise when I learned that Gilda Su, the designer, went to fashion design school in the Japanese capital.

She then jetted off to NYC to study at Parsons and intern at the legendary stylist of Sex and the City Patricia Field’s boutique. Now that’s what I call a serious fashion upbringing.

The influence of all these experiences on RÊVASSEUR (daydreamer in French) is obvious, yet the collection is very unique to the designer herself who made me look pale in comparison!

Gilda, the designer of the label is not afraid to stand out as well

It is avant-garde, sweet, bold and intense all at the same time. The silhouettes are playful and crafty yet retain some sharpness which makes them stand out as statement pieces rather than costumes despite their ‘out there’ patterns and colours.

Talking to Gilda, I instantly bonded with her over our shared love for colour, OTT patterns and light-hearted fun approach to fashion. And if she stays true to her word, you’ll soon see some collaboration between us on this blog! Beware though, if you’re not used to this much colour, we advise you to put on some shades before viewing ;-)

Note: I will be reviewing more of the new designers in my next post so watch this space!

Standing next to Gilda, makes me look pale for the first time in Singapore!