A To Z Of Singapore Fashion Designers

The definitive guide to Singapore's local fashion scene

local designers

Photo: Instagram

We get it. It’s hard to go local and support Singaporean designers when you don’t know where to start. That’s why we created this definitive guide to the local fashion scene—all the way from A to Z. From silky workwear to edgy streetwear, bridal couture to modern cheongsams, cashmere shawls to maternity lingerie, we’ve got you covered.

Biro (@birocompany)

For brothers Kenghow and Kage Chong, working with the best materials possible is their top priority. Launched in 2013, their minimalist menswear label Biro uses fabrics from Japan, and adhere to precise, Japanese-quality tailoring standards. Some of the fabrics they use come from mills that use artisanal techniques, such as one from Kyoto that uses a yarn-dyeing process that is identical to that for making kimono fabric. The end result? Excellent colour-fastness and richer colours. Most of the materials used by Biro are also woven using vintage machinery, which in turn add character to each piece of clothing. The brothers pride themselves as being able to work with some of Japan’s (or perhaps even the world’s) best garment factories and textile mills, and the fact that Biro’s products are made in Japan in order to ensure impeccable quality. Also, do check out SHOUTEN by Biro, their multi-label Japanese lifestyle store, which was built using naturally produced indigo-coated wood from Tokushima, Japan. This compact retail space stocks not only Biro apparel, but also niche and meticulously curated Japanese lifestyle items.

Price: From S$110 for a T-shirt to S$650 for a gabardine jacket.

Where: Shop online at www.birocompany.com

Or SHOUTEN (809 French Road, Level 3, Kitchener Complex, Singapore 200809)

COLLATE THE LABEL (@collatethelabel)

Launched in 2015 by Singaporean It girl Velda Tan and co-founder of another online label Love-Bonito, Collate The Label has amassed a number of fans who fell in love with sharp, chic and classic designs which can take a woman from work to play effortlessly. Before setting up Collate The Label, Tan specially took classes in fashion drawing, pattern making, and brand management courses at the famed Central Saint Martins College in London. The label’s apparel features a lot of flowy silhouettes in pastel hues, which are timeless and easy to wear. Tan also ensures that the designs are infused with a good dose of modern sensibility, in order to fit seamlessly into the everyday life of the independent working woman.

Prices: A basic cotton T-shirt starts from $55, while a lace jumpsuit can go up to $169.

Where: Shop online at https://collatethelabel.com

DEPRESSION (@depression.tribe)

Feeling “depressed” with their day jobs, Kenny Lim and Andrew Loh created streetwear label Depression in 2006, where they started off as a small T-shirt brand. Heavily influenced by punk, goth, and Japanese streetwear elements, Depression subsequently became known for their unisex and predominantly black collections featuring deconstructed design and unusual cuts. The label’s founders have been featured in Singapore’s design museum, judged fashion competitions, and were invited to show at Berlin Fashion Week and Seoul Fashion Week. Celebrity fans include Adam Lambert, the Black Eyed Peas and Kat von D. Check out Sects Shop, their multi-label concept store which stocks Depression’s pieces along with other cult streetwear labels from across the globe.

Where: Shop online at www.depression.com.sg


ELOHIM BY SABRINA GOH (@bysabrinagoh)

Finalist of the Singapore Young Designer contest in 2006 and 2007, LASALLE SIA College of the Arts Fashion alumni Sabrina Goh launched Elohim in 2009.  In 2013, Goh was invited show at Vogue Fashion Night Out Bangkok in 2013. And in 2015, she received mentorship from top fashion designers such as Diane von Furstenberg and Thakoon, under the inaugural Fashion Futures program co-organised by Singapore Fashion Week and CFDA. Known for her minimalist and structural silhouettes, Elohim is much sought after by women who want chic and fuss-free outfits with an edge. Last year, Elohim collaborated with The Walt Disney Company Singapore to celebrate Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday and released a capsule collection named the True Original Mickey Collection.

Where: Shop online at www.sabrinagoh.com

Or at SABRINAGOH Flagship Store (#02-14 Capitol Piazza, Singapore 178905) and SABRINAGOH Concept Store (#03-46 Paragon, Singapore 238859); a small is also available at TANGS.

FREDERICK LEE COUTURE (@frederickleecouture)

Frederick Lee is one of Singapore’s most recognised and sought-after couturiers and bridal designers. Known for his flamboyant and glamourous gowns, Lee is also a familiar name in the local theatre scene, having designed costumes for many productions and winning Best Costume Design at the 2010 Life! Theatre Awards. He was also named Designer of the Year at the 2004 Singapore Fashion Awards and appointed several times as the Director of Costumes for our National Day Parade. In 2013, he was also named as a member of the Asian Couture Federation. On top of national commitments and theatrical work, Lee divides his time between his fashion and bridal collections. If you appreciate the intricate details of couture, embrace diversity and individuality, be sure to check out his creations.

Where: https://www.facebook.com/pg/FLBridalSingapore ; 623, Aljunied Road, Aljunied Industrial Complex, #07-02, Singapore 389835

Prices: Upon enquiry.

Tel: 6323 4372

GINLEE (@ginleestudio)

In 2011, NAFA and Central Saint Martins graduate Gin Lee established her eponymous label in Israel, which was hardly a conventional choice for a Singaporean brand. Winner of the Emerging Designer of the Year at the 2016 Singapore Fashion Awards, Lee is known for her love of lightweight fabrics such as silk, as well as clever use of pleating to give structure and create movement. Besides pleats, Gin Lee’s designs also often incorporate the use of translucent fabrics, sheer panelling, and slits to create an airy and ethereal feel to her creations. Lee’s laidback and flattering silhouettes are perfect for both a casual weekend, as well as a sensual date night.

Where: Shop online at www.ginleestudio.com or visit their boutique at #02-35 Raffles City Shopping Centre. A small selection is also stocked at TANGS. 

Related article: 10 Local Designers Tell Us Why They Love Singapore

HEADS OF STATE MILLINERY (@headsofstatemillinery)

Singaporean Milliner Chee Sau Fen spent 15 years as a self-taught designer in the visual art and events industry before taking part in a competition for sustainable fashion design organised by the Textile and Fashion Federation of Singapore. Subsequently, she developed her own label and focused on creating handmade statement headwear. Chee constantly looks to nature for inspiration and champions sustainable fashion and fair-trade practices. She gives back to society by working with marginalised communities in the region and creating employment opportunities for them. For example, most of the millinery’s creations are made using abaca fibres, which are collected and handwoven on traditional looms by women from the Bukidnon tribe in Southern Philippines. They are then hand-sewn into hats by a group of housewives in Cebu, in addition to Chee and her two assistants in Singapore. No stiffening chemical sprays are used, and the fibres are coloured using natural plant dyes.

Where: www.headsofstatemillinery.com

Prices: Email  query@headsofstatemillinery.com for customisation enquiries.

INVENTORY (@inventory.co)

Launched in 2016, Inventory specialises in bespoke and made-to-measure for both women and men. It is the brainchild of sisters Olivia and Amanda Lin, who found their niche in the local made-to-measure market. While Olivia has a background in menswear tailoring, Amanda manages the brand as well as the numbers. Besides custom-made shirts and suits, what’s interesting is that Inventory also specialises in streetwear, which means you can tailor denim jeans, chinos, Gurkha trousers, bomber jackets and other styles to your exact specifications. So far, Inventory has collaborated with local creatives such as past President Design Award winner Theseus Chan, as well as leather goods designer Darren Loke; they’ve also dressed members of local band TOMGIRL for their gigs.

Where: http://www.inventory-co.com; atelier at 21 Club Street 02-05
Singapore 069410

Prices: A made-to-measure women’s shirt starts at $220, while a bespoke, fully-canvassed 2-piece wool blend men’s suit starts from $990.

Tel: 6208 6200

KENZILILY (@kenzililyswim)

After starting local luxury swimwear brand K.BLU in 2014, Singaporean mum Lyn Rosmarin subsequently launched Kenzilily, its younger and cheekier sister brand. Unlike K.BLU which attained success by providing Asian-centric swimwear options for working adults and mums- basically women of various shapes and sizes, Kenzilily speaks to younger and more adventurous girls by means of more vibrant hues and sexier cuts. Like K.BLU, Kenzilily aims to provide Asian women swim, active and resort wear with better and more flattering fits.

Where: Shop online at https://www.kenzilily.com

Prices: From $119 for a kaftan top to $170 for a bikini set.

LAICHAN (@laichan_official)

Goh Lai Chan has been making cheongsams for more than 30 years and is hailed as the nation’s grandmaster of cheongsam. He has clients from all over the world, and even some coming from China, where the cheongsam has its roots. Goh’s eponymous label is not only famous for this traditional form of Asian dress, but also contemporary evening and bridal gowns. Laichan’s cheongsams are cut on the bias, which allows the fabric to drape more easily and give the final product a softer silhouette. It is also more practical for the modern woman as it follows the curves of the body whether she’s standing up or sitting down and provides a more forgiving fit. Many of his cheongsams are also made using Japanese kimono fabric and embellished with semi-precious stone buttons. Besides made-to-order outfits, off-the-rack cheongsams and cheongsam tops are also available- those crafted with printed fabrics come as unique pieces so that you’ll never run into anyone with the same outfit.

Where: #03-20 Paragon, 290 Orchard Road, Singapore 238859

Tel: +65 6235 0049

MAX TAN (@maxtanstudio)

After graduating at the top of this class in 2006, NAFA Fashion Design alumni Max Tan went on to debut during Singapore Fashion Week 2007. Max Tan’s very own label launched in 2010 and became the first Asian label invited to showcase at the prestigious Modefabriek in Amsterdam. His androgynous creations have since been sought after and retailed in Italy, Norway, USA, China, and the Middle East. Tan describes his signature style as “Serious but never severe, minimal but never simple, fragile but never weak”, and is renowned for his sculptural and voluminous silhouettes. He also almost always works with a monochromatic colour palette. Max Tan also recently launched a Chinese New Year capsule collection in collaboration with socialite Paige Parker.

Where: Shop online on www.max-tan.com, or contact MAX.TAN Studio (29 Mcnair Road Singapore 328528) for an appointment. A small selection is also stocked at Restyle @ Isetan Scotts and several other locations in Singapore.

NIDA SHAY (@nidashay)

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Drop 3 • The Mirror Jacket Dress • I absolutely love this jacket • I Iove mirrors • Whether you’ve been to my studio or my home , you’ll have noticed lots of mirrors decorated on the walls • I always thought they were art • I love paintings and I love to paint but I also love mirrors and the reflections of life around us and all that they portray • So much of us can be hidden but mirrors don’t lie • They reflect beauty, time and life as it is • This was a piece I wanted to design without hesitation • I admit when I first received it from the Atelier minutes before my clients arrived , I quickly tucked it on the side , I told my self off for getting carried away again with design but when I see these pictures … I know .. I’m sure .. getting carried away .. is not only keeping me going but makes me feel so proud of what can be achieved when you don’t hold back and create with free will • Even when Anastasia walked out wearing this piece , all of us just stood aside and admired her , there were lots of sounds of admiration and me .. I was standing there telling myself, this is why I design and I was honestly bursting with pride • This right here is my happy piece • I love it and wouldn’t change a thing • It will be added to my signature collection • It weighs a few kilos and I love that even more about it • When you look closely , you see the effort and details of hand embroidery • All the time and patience invested in creating it • I love jacket dresses and designed it in this particular style to remain timeless • A classic • Mirror work is renowned in certain areas and is a very old traditional craft • Traditions are meant to be preserved not forgotten • Fine craftsmanship should be celebrated not forgotten as well • Appointments & Enquiries: DM / info@nidashay.com • #nidashay #bespoke #mirror #embroidery #handembroidery #handmade #couture #fashion #handembroidered #jacket

A post shared by N I D A S H A Y (@nidashay) on

Born and raised in Abu Dhabi, designer Nida Tahir Shaheryar set up her very first atelier in 2008 in Dubai under another name, after she graduated from the Parsons School of Design in Paris. Back then, she was already commissioned to create outfits for high profile sheikhas in the region. Before all that, the Economics graduate from University of Manchester was, in fact, working in banking. Upon moving to Singapore with family, she officially launched Nida Shay in 2012 and has presented her collections at Singapore Fashion Week. Nida Shay’s extravagant, heavily embellished and embroidered pieces celebrate intricate craftsmanship. All her creations are made in Lahore, Pakistan, by a specialised team of artisans which are experts in traditional handiwork.

Where: https://nidashay.com

Prices: Email info@nidashay.com for enquiries.

ONG SHUNMUGAM (@ongshunmugam)

Known for her contemporary and innovative take on the Asian dress, lawyer-turned fashion designer Priscilla Shunmugam has received many positive press reviews and won several accolades since the launch of her label Ong Shunmugam in 2010. Besides being invited to exhibit and retail at the National Museum of Singapore, it was also one of the only 2 Singaporean fashion labels selected by fashion portal Future Fashion Now to present at its show at Paris Fashion Week in 2012. Subsequently, in 2013, she won the Grand Award at the prestigious Design For Asia Awards. Though Ong Shunmugam may be best known for its modern reinterpretation of the cheongsam/qipao, a well-received collection for Hari Raya, inspired by traditional Malay costume was presented in 2018; this goes further to establish the brand’s identity as a creative guardian of Southeast Asian heritage.

Where: Shop online at www.onshunmugam.com

Or view their collections/ discuss customisation possibilities at Atelier Ong Shunmugam (43 Jalan Merah Saga 01-76 Singapore 278115)

Tel:+65 6252 2612

Related article: 7 Local Shoe Brands That Are Making Waves Internationally

PERK BY KATE (@perkbykate)

Dissatisfied with the lack of well-fitted lingerie she could find on the market, Kate Low decided to take matters into her own hands by starting local online lingerie boutique, Perk by Kate. At the very beginning, it was retailing indie lingerie brands sourced from around the globe. After noticing that bralettes (bras without wires and structured cups) were her bestsellers, Low decided to come up with her own designs, which sold out within weeks. Comfortable and uber-feminine padded bralettes are the label’s signature. These come in sizes suited for smaller or fuller busts. They even make maternity bralettes so that pregnant and breastfeeding mums do not have to suffer from the discomfort of ill-fitting lingerie. You can also opt for custom-made lingerie, for which special appointments must be made. Perk by Kate also gives back to society by supporting fair trade practices and by taking part in the Uplift Project, which donates pre-loved bras to women in underprivileged regions around the world.

Where: Shop online at www.perkbykate.com  or drop by their studio to at 134A Telok Ayer Street Singapore 068600

QUEENMARK (@queenmarkcouture)

Founded in 2013 by Mumbai-native Mrs. Rajul Mehta, Queenmark specialises in cashmere shawls. Mrs. Mehta completed her art degree in Israel and was an accomplished artist. In 2005 she was even chosen as one of Israel’s cultural ambassadors. It was during a later trip to Mongolia that she discovered the beauty of cashmere shawls, and subsequently, admirers of her artwork suggested the idea of printing her work on the shawls, which marked the start of Queenmark. Since then, Mrs. Mehta has presented her creations in Singapore, Dubai, and Paris among other regions. The brand has also expanded their collections to include stoles, Islamic women’s headwear, capes, bags, and even resort wear.

Where: Shop online at https://queenmark.com ; a selection is also available at TANGS and Isetan.

Prices: From US$350 for a Mongolian air cashmere shawl.

RECKLESS ERICKA (@recklessericka)

The brainchild of Afton Chen, Louis Koh, and Ruth Marbun, Reckless Ericka presented their first collection in 2009 during BLUEPRINT featuring Blackmarket at the Audi Fashion Festival. Reckless Ericka is known for their relaxed silhouettes and draping techniques using soft, fluid fabrics like jersey, as well as their love for adding practical touches such as constructing deep pockets into some of their designs. They also make it a point to source for quality fabrics which are less prone to pilling and creasing, which make them perfect for the frequent traveller. In 2016, Reckless Ericka created 148 unique costumes for renowned director Ong Keng Sen’s theatre production- The Incredible Adventures of Border Crossers, staged in Paris. This first foray into theatrical costume design also won them Best Costume Design at the M1-Straits Times Life Theatre awards that same year. The label makes womenswear, menswear, kidswear, Reckless Jersey (a ‘luxe jersey’ line), as well as casual streetwear under their sub-line, STILL.

Where: Shop online at https://recklessericka.com/

Prices: From $89 for a jersey dress. A small selection of jersey pieces are also available at Naiise (The Star Vista, #01-11)

SUSY AND BAE (@susyandbae)

A relative newcomer to the local lingerie retail scene, Susy and Bae was launched in 2017 by ex-marketeer Sheryl Lim. The label specialises in loungewear, handmade lace lingerie, which are produced in small quantities (around 40 pieces per design) to ensure consistent quality. Lim also retails at special pop-ups around Singapore, such as the Boutique Fairs at the F1 Pit Building.

Where: Shop online at www.susyandbae.com

Prices: From $59 for a lace bralette to $129 for a set of silk pyjamas.

THYINE (@thyine)

Described as a label “which redefines a woman’s wardrobe into one that stands out without outrightly seeking attention,” Thyine (established in 2015) stands out by adding interesting twists to everyday womenswear using ruffles, drapes and practical details such as having a reversible drawstring dress. Silhouettes are elegant and simple, while accented by fashion-forward details. Most of this online fashion brand’s creations come in a subtle colour palette, with occasional touches of red and black. Perfect for the modern working woman why likes her outfits with an edge.

Where: Shop online at www.thyine.co

Prices: From $115 for a knit top to $260 for a salopette.

VILRY.CO (@vilry.co)

Established just last year, Vilry.Co has been described as one of Singapore’s best kept online fashion secrets. Besides creating feminine and romantic pieces for ladies, they also make statement accessories such as bold drop-earrings with resin, acrylic, and shell. Vilry.Co also prides themselves as being able to offer quality, fashionable designs at affordable prices. Shoppers who are worried about fit are also welcome to drop by their cozy showroom for personalised fitting session (by appointment only).

Where: Shop online at https://www.vilry.co/

Prices: From $89 onwards for a dress and $29 onwards for a pair of earrings.

WHOLE9YARDS (@mywhole9yards)

Launched and headquartered in Singapore, this 6-year-old international label was founded by China-born Widelia Liu and has Malaysian designer and winner of the 2010 Audi Young Desginer competition Daniel Ngoo as its creative director. It has participated at shows in Singapore, Paris, Australia, and is stocked in more than 18 countries around the world. Whole9yards’s signatures include lace, embroidery and floral motifs, and aims to push boundaries by being super feminine without being overly girly.

Where: Shop online at www.whole9yards.com

Prices: From $374 onwards for a jersey and chiffon top, and $584 onwards for a lace and jacquard dress.

YING THE LABEL (@yingthelabel)

If you love art, be sure to check out this label, which marries fashion and art beautifully. Fuelled by her immense passion for painting, ex-banker-turned-fashion designer Phuay Li Ying translates dreamy watercolour paintings into clothing by digitally printing them onto quality fabrics sourced from Japan, Korea, and Indonesia. Creating outfits using her own designs in small quantities also ensure exclusivity and better control over quality. Ying also does customised apparel, and home accessories using one-of-a-kind hand-painted fabrics. Her creations have also been worn by ministers during National Day Parade.

Where: Shop online at www.yingthelabel.com; email info@yingthelabel for customisation requests.

Prices: From $99 for a top.

Related article: The Rise Of Homegrown Lingerie Label Perk By Kate

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