It is very rare to be at a fashion event that is stripped bare of glitz and glamour, for there are just far too many events that rely on the fabled notion that fashion is somewhat flashy and only for the narcissists – that’s how those atas people say yes to invites. However, it is refreshing to see a fashion event so dedicated to championing its cause that it would sacrifice the comforts of having its event at a central place for the farthest nook in the Dempsey area.
Kennel, a start-up office space in Blk 8D of Dempsey, was indeed an apt place for retailer ERIIN‘s SS12 trunkshow. The online retailer has only been around since January 2012 but has received much acclaim for curating a lineup of rising Asian designers that are changing the face of Asian fashion from oriental blah to cutting-edge modernity. It is somewhat ruthless in its quest for newness: it recently picked up PARCO next NEXT labels Kae Hana and Quainthood, who are barely into their first month of launch. Also, it hosts fashion spreads which add editorial curation besides the retail push. A new campaign called Boxer Rebellion was shot by Fadli Rahman that capitalised on his signature styles of sexuality, rawness and intensity.
The trunkshow, called “These Are Our Heroes“, also championed nine ERIIN heroines who embraced their passions and faught for their successes no matter the obstacles and failures. One of the heroines is writer and public relations consultant Faz Abdul Gaffa, who does PR for multi-label boutique SOLE 2 SOLE, Pointpal Singapore, Clozette.co and Desti Saint Handbags. She also writes for her own blog thedramadiaries, which is a riveting, personable read that will want to make you laugh and feel for her.
Popspoken spoke (ha) with ERIIN’s co-founder Kate Tan who openly shared her thoughts on the state of Singapore fashion. She believes that Singapore is heading down the right direction with growing Singapore fashion and the resurgence of boutiques stocking Singapore labels, although she admits incubator Parco Next Next does not receive as much hype as it deserves further than the fashion set. When asked if upmarket departmental stores could prove the bridge between fast fashion and international labels, she applauds TANGS for taking bold steps to stock Singapore designs but believes most departmental stores are “too old-school” and are willing to invite brands that are unheard of rather than back a Singapore designer who has a community surrounding him or her.
Kate also is befuddled with the support for local blogshops instead of Singapore design, and points to fashion fairs like Blueprint Emporium as a place where those not clued in can be exposed to a variety of designers and actually get to see and feel the apparel in person. Kate admits to a slow start for ERIIN sales-wise but the NUS Business graduate believes that ERIIN’s social media buzz and editorial curation gives it an edge over other retailers. She says designerts should put themselves out there and not be afraid to find a community that believes in their design, for Kate is hopeful that Singapore fashion is on the verge of breaking out to the mainstream.
The show also highlighted the quirks of its labels, which even brick-and-mortar retailers do little to educate its customers about in such a setting. Singapore jeweller Saught is a label that uses scrap metal from land mines to create jewellery and works with landmine associations and non-governmental organisations. Co-founder Adeline Heng told Popspoken that the partners went on a trip to Cambodia and saw the villagers using scrap metal for similar purposes and proceeded to discuss with mining organisations. She cautions against labelling the brand as a “social business” as it attracts perceptions that she believes could be challenging to the brand. However, Adeline affirms Saught wants to empower its consumers with being advocates of peace. Nifty.