Monday 7 May 2012

Threadbare & Squirrel: Haven for Singapore Designers

From the strapline of my blog, you would have guessed that Haji Lane is one of my favourite parts of town. No, not because of the sheesha cafes but the cool independent shophouse-boutiques which give this tiny alley its quirky and laid-back atmosphere – unlike lookalike malls-infested Orchard Road.

But despite the street’s unique indie character, I was disappointed on a recent visit when I saw more boutiques selling generic blogshop-type clothes than the local designers and unique finds, which made this street popular in the first place.

Only a handful of shops remain true to what this independent shopping heaven stands for – one of them is Threadbare and Squirrel, a multi-label boutique which has recently relocated to the adjacent Bali Lane to distinguish itself from the clone shops which are increasing day by day on the stretch of Haji and everywhere else in the city.

Display of the newly-stocked local labels at Threadbare & Squirrel: A.K.A. Wayward,
LION EARL, Primary and ZAAK.

Last week, Threadbare & Squirrel held a private preview of the new brands they started stocking, and among them is the newly launched (and of course a favourite of mine!) LION EARL, in addition to another Parco-launched label A.K.A. WAYWARD and local labels Primary and ZAAK.

Speaking to Adrian Ang - who along with his wife Val own and run the boutique - about how and why they chose these labels, he explained that quality and uniqueness are key in picking any labels to stock at Threadbare & Squirrel. For example, A.K.A. Wayward’s tailoring and subtle details like pointed collars, 5-hole buttons and the use of an unusual mix of fabric make it interesting without being overly complicated.

Adrian with Lionel of LION EARL at the event

A.K.A. Wayward's collection for men and women is all about fun and unexpected details

Love this dress, also from A.K.A. Wayward

As for LION EARL, the contrast of fluid forms and structured ones in their cuts and use of fabric are aesthetically pleasing as well as extremely flattering and feminine. Their concept of combining architectural thinking and forms into clothes gives the pieces a whole new refreshing dimension to fashion.

Primary and ZAAK are two labels from the same designer- but they cannot be more different! While Primary sticks to a fully black palette and edgy cuts, ZAAK plays on bright colours and quirky styles which are playful and strong at the same time. No doubt I was in love with ZAAK especially the bright orange and fuchsia ensemble which would look right at home in my technicolour closet :-)

LION EARL is all about the perfect dress structure

Primary's collection is all in black with cool cuts like this dress

Love this Primary skirt!

ZAAK's collection is striking and colourful, perfect for Summer!

In addition to these newly-stocked labels, most of the other brands at Threadbare & Squirrel are quite interesting and vary a lot style-wise. The reason is, as Adrian explains, the desire to have something for everyone and every taste, be it edgy (ex. they stock DEPRESSION), girly, chic, or quirky as long as it is up to the quality and design standards which the relatively sophisticated customers of the boutique are used to.

DEPRESSION duo Andrew and Kenny were also at the event. Have you checked their
latest collection yet?

Will Threadbare & Squirrel keep its identity as in stocking these local labels and other international unique labels and resist turning into yet another generic store? Adrian assures me that it will and I cannot but love and support boutiques like this which are what make Singapore – and places like Haji Lane - a unique shopping destination.

Threadbare & Squirrel is located on 660 North Bridge Road, on the entrance of Bali Lane.

More accessories at Threadbare & Squirrel...

Lionel with Mun Foong, the designer behind A.K.A. Wayward

With Hariz, the other half of LION EARL