18 new Singapore designer labels that have been part of Parco Next NEXT, Singapore’s very own fashion incubator project that is currently in its third year, have finally launched at Parco Marina Bay on 14 April 2012.
These 18 Singapore designer labels are 20:TWOTHREE, 2HB, alexandria chen, ANGELIA, ash, Episene, evenodd, FOON FOONO, FOREWORD, Kae Hana, LION EARL, MASH-UP, Mils, QUAINTHOOD, RÊVASSEUR, Saloni Rathor, Wil.LiaM Atelier and WSDM, and they join 5 other Singapore designer labels Arty.Lily, ffayth, eve, Veira and @dress of thoughts who are currently entering their second year in the Parco Next NEXT programme.
The 18 new Singapore designer labels will receive an 18-month creative and business mentoring programme under the guidance of industry veterans as well as support from the Textile and Fashion Federation (TaFf) and Spring Singapore. In addition, Parco Next NEXT will again participate in this year’s Audi Fashion Festival. 7 of the labels, namely Episene, evenodd, LION EARL, MASH-UP, Mils, 20:TWOTHREE and QUAINTHOOD will make their runway debut and will be joined by Parco Next NEXT alumni PAULINE.NING and Veira.
Definitely a lot to shout about the new Singapore fashion designers entering the industry and I am excited too. While Singapore has definitely taken huge strides to help its local fashion designers of late, it ‘still has a long way to go’ to become a fashion capital, let alone a fashion hub in Asia; and then there’s the age-old debate on whether Singapore can become a fashion hub. I will not go much into that but for starters I would like to compare what we have here with New York to give you an idea on where we stand.
The Parco Next NEXT equivalent of New York is the CFDA Fashion Incubator Programme but of course being a fashion capital in its own right, they have a few other such programmes to aid designers but I’m choosing this one as it is probably the closest to what Parco Next NEXT is doing. First off, they have eligibility requirements that I’m sure are quite different from Parco Next NEXT’s. Notable ones include: be a designer of demonstrable talent, i.e. have garnered substantial editorial coverage, and have support (orders) from top retailers; be in business for a minimum of 1.5 years; be American or have established a primary design business in the United States. Well that’s enough said. Singapore is just too small; the industry is small.
But how does Parco Next NEXT even select designers anyway? Based on the subjective views of the ‘experienced’ selection committee? Who is to say? My point is, you never know with these kind of things. How many Singapore designer labels do you actually remember from the previous 2 batches? Those who are lucky survive but those who are not fade into oblivion; and proceed to work for somebody else instead. The problem is with the money; you need funds to expand and develop your business. I think that is the root of it all.
This brings me to my next point. How effective is the Parco Next NEXT programme? Sure the designers are getting buzz now; the new batch just launched and I’m sure this hype (if you are aware of it) will be around until Audi Fashion Festival at the very least where some of the designers are due to show. Of course they are getting support but my only qualm is with the location. If you put 23 labels in one place and not even considering other labels within the same floor of the Parco Next NEXT space in Parco Marina Bay, how are you going to compete? And that is just one floor. For convenience’s sake or what-not, you are looking at the wrong competition or for that matter you are looking at more competition.
It’s easy to say support local but why? Now let me share with you some reasons on why you should support Singapore designer labels. Firstly, the designs are produced in limited quantities and what you buy is actually quite rare. Secondly, that I feel justifies the price tags of which you would find are slightly higher than your usual high-street label –most of them are at least. Thirdly, wearing local helps to get the word about these designers around and mind you I believe Singapore has talent –you just got to find it.
Buying local is the very least you can do to give this industry a chance. So check out a sneak peak of what the 23 Parco Next NEXT Singapore designer labels have to offer below. If you like what you see, head on over to the Parco Next NEXT website for more information on these young upstarts or head on down to Parco Marina Bay, level 2, 9 Raffles Boulevard, Millenia Walk.