Thursday, 18 October 2012

Bonjour Singapore is one year old today! Thank you for your support!

Bonjour Singapore is one year old today, and what a journey it’s been.

I could never have thought when I posted a polite introduction as a relative newbie to Singapore on October 18, 2011, that I would be where I am now.

What started as a way of keeping in touch with my friends, killing time while I job hunted (still unemployed BTW) and sharing my new found passion for the talented local designers in Singapore has snowballed into something of a crusade.

I always wonder if many of the designers I approached or blogged about initially thought “who is this crazy curly haired foreigner?” but they smiled sweetly and helped me out anyway. 

Now one year on I have met so many talented people, made some amazing friends and been adopted by the Singapore fashion community as one of their own. It makes me realize that Singapore is a place with so much heart and soul.

Rana Wehbe-Flinter in Pauline.Ning
One of my favourite photos of myself (wearing Mae Pang). It's my
anniversary so I'm allowed to post a pic or two of myself :-) Thanks for
John Tan of Streetpeek for the photo!!

If you’d asked me a year ago what my fashion bucket list would be I’m sure that modeling, doing a catwalk show and meeting some of the world’s top fashion icons wouldn’t have featured because it sounded too far-fetched.

But that’s exactly what has happened. There are too many highlights to begin to mention them all - from being in the look book for AllThings Green and Beautiful up-cycled accessories collection, to styling withlocal label Noel Caleb, to being recognized in the street (I still have no clue why people think it’s cool to meet me), to walking the runway for my dear friends of streetwear label MASH-UP, even acting in a small webisode alongside local stars (coming soon) and now meeting Sir Paul Smith, Patricia Field and the gorgeous Andrej Pejic as I’m about to co-host an international fashion event – it’s been a non-stop roller coaster ride. And to top it off, in one year alone, Bonjour Singapore and I have been featured in other media and style blogs, all the way from New York, Beirut and Dubai to Jakarta and Singapore... it's been an honour.

This morning I woke up and looked in the mirror and thought. This is insane.

Paul Smith and Rana Wehbe-Flinter
Me...getting to meet a fashion god? I could never have imagined pictures with
Sir Paul Smith a year ago!
Or even the most awesome stylist Patricia Field who styled my fav show
and guilty pleasure Sex and the City!!

But for all of the personal stuff, without a doubt the biggest thrill of the last year has been playing a small part in getting themany talented designers in Singapore and Asia a little bit more exposure.

I’m going to get a bit Eugene Lin here, but these guys are working away on paper thin budgets, little funding and quite often little thanks while Singaporeans flock to Orchard Road to line the pockets of global brands who are just churning out mass market fashion to ape the catwalks of Milan.

There’s something so wrong about that.

Sure, there is a time and a place for heading down the High Street, but why not combine it with pieces from designers working in YOUR OWN country and producing original products? Why not spend as much time in HajiLane or Parco as you do in ION? Small independent brands and companies are what give a city its soul. There’s enough room for both and you’ll be helping your own fashion scene develop!

Bonjour Singapore on the catwalk at AFF
Smiling way too much, but me? A model? haha! Thank you to MASH-UP
for inviting me to walk for them during Audi Fashion Festival 
singapore label lion earl
Lion Earl: One of my favourite Singapore labels

Toton the label
Indonesia's amazing Toton label. I'm so proud to have helped
get this label a little limelight 

I think the fact that tens of thousands of people have read my blog and that thousands of fans I have on Facebook (no I can’t believe it either) is proof positive that there is a real interest in the local fashion scene.

Now it’s up to everyone to keep the momentum going. To spread the word and spread the love about amazing labels that I have been privileged to write about.

Thank you to everyone who reads, comments, follows, shares, likes. Thank you to everyone who invites, values my opinion and supports me in my blog. Thank you to the designers for being so forthcoming.

And lastly Thank you to my hubby Adam who has helped a great deal (being a digital expert and ex-journalist) in this blog, and encouraged me from day one despite the fact it takes a lot off my time and it is not financially lucrative in any way.

I’m proud to say that Bonjour Singapore is advertorial-free and I’ve never been paid or even given free stuff to write about anything here. This is my space to express my passion pressure-free.

It’s one year down, and I feel like I’m just starting. There are so many talented people in Singapore and Asia to discover. Here’s to another 12 months!