Singapore Fashion Scene, trendsetter or follower..

Today, there is hardly anyone in the fashion world that would dispute the importance of the fast-growing Asia, a key market driving the global fashion and luxury industry, where Asian consumers especially Chinese accounting for a large portion of global sales. From Hong Kong, Tokyo to Korea and of course Singapore, global luxury firms have begun to realise what’s popular in these countries and what to soon becomes popular across the globe.

( Arwa, n.d.)

Being purportedly as one of the world’s ‘ Fashion Capitals’ according to a report by GLM, is Singapore Fashion scene trendsetter or trend follower? Having questioned that, this statement will be discussed here.

Singaporeans were used to be described to be sloppy dressers, where t-shirt, shorts and flip-flop were seen everywhere on men and women. However, today with the influx of mass-market global brands and emergence of fast fashion brands and innovative local designers, it has surely changed and people have become more fashion conscious than ever. ( Terrence, 2012 )They are now more sensitive to the current ruling styles and trend. When big global brands such as Chanel, Dior, Furla and more started to be introduced in Singapore, people were very brand conscious and brand names and labels have gained significant important in Singapore Fashion. However after years of buying status brands, consumers now, not only in Singapore are starting to embrace their own personal style.

Now in the fashion industry, a trend that is rising would be adopting an appreciation of individual style and quality especially in those multi-cultural countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong. Consumers have come to a stage to expect more interesting design, quality materials and also corporate social responsibility.  ( Alia, 2015 ) They began to seek for pieces that are off-the–beaten path. Having said that, the rising Singaporean talents in the fashion scene are becoming more well known for creating unique pieces that help putting Singapore on the global map and setting the trend. For example, the few labels that have been showcased in Singapore Fashion Week 2015 like Elohim by Sabrina Goh, ALT, Ong Shunmugam and Dzojchen has their own unique style and emphasize on individuality, unique cut and sartorial constructions. This has proved that Singapore Fashion Scene, have the potential to be the trendsetter, at least among the Asian countries.

Dzojchen SGFW15, a brand that emphasises individuality ( )

Besides that, another trend that has risen in these recent years that could make Singapore fashion scene the trendsetter would be the interesting mix of east meets west style. Two years ago during Singapore Fashion Week, the founder of Kenzo, Kenzo Takada has spoke about the growing importance of Asian couture in contemporary fashion and the potential of the Asian designers to become the trendsetter of the fashion industry. He feels that the rich cultural diversity in Asia, as well as the traditional forms of craftsmanship of this region is sources of inspiration for fashion designers.  ( Hong, 2013 ) True that, as a multicultural country, fashion in Singapore is a huge fashion of not only east and west, but also north and south. In Singapore, everything is accepted here due to its cultural background. Fashion in Singapore tends to be a reflection of these mixes cultures.

Ong Shunmugam Cruise 2016 Collection ( )

One of the independent labels that translate the east meets west essence would be the Singapore-based fashion label Ong Shunmugam. In stead of focusing on contemporary fashion, the brand focus on fusing the traditional wear with modern wear, playing around with the influence from east to west. The label focus on cut and fit before look, on longevity over excess. Debuting the Cruise 2016 collection at Singapore Fashion Week 2015, she is soon to be flying off to New York to present her Asian-inspired pieces thanks to the initiatory Fashion Future program, a program that aim to help local designer brands make the transition from local to global. ( Hon, 2015 )

In conclusion, my view is that armed with the knowledge of diverse cultures and styles and renewed sense of the individual style, Singapore is one of the trendsetters, at least in the Asia region. With this sense of fashion style, the fashion in Singapore are less ‘clones’ and the style is more distinctive, with a sense of individualism.

‘ Fashion is about something that comes from within you ‘
 – Ralph Lauren –
Arwa. (n.d.). Welcome to the Jungle: Sustainable Singapore – Eluxe Magazine. Retrieved from
Collection review: Dzojchen resort 2016, Buro 24/7. (2016). Retrieved from

..:: Singapore Fashion Week 2015 ::.. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Hong. (2013, October 15). Kenzo Takada: Asian fashion designers can become the next trendsetters | herworldPLUS. Retrieved from

Jing Yi. (2015, July 25). New York is next stop for fashion label Ong Shunmugam | TODAYonline. Retrieved from

Lee. (2012, April 20). Tech in Asia – Connecting Asia’s startup ecosystem. Retrieved from

Looking East: Why Now Is the Best Time to Conquer the Asian Fashion Market. (2015, October 21). Retrieved from

Singapore Fashion. (n.d.). Retrieved from

(2015, May 21). Retrieved from

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