International Women’s Day is just around the corner, and as a team of strong, independent women (or so we like to think), we couldn’t help but pick out a couple of great local labels in Singapore that are all about women, for women.
Fashion has always been about self-expression, but these local shops and designers take it one step further by creating bold, empowering fashion for the independent women who dare to stand out from the crowd.
That’s why every single shop in the list exudes an emboldened style that is strong, feminine and gorgeous to boot. And since this year’s International Women’s Day theme is ‘Inspiring Change’, we thought it was only fitting to pluck local shops and designers that inspire us and, hopefully, inspire you as well.
Androgynous brand with monochromatic tones
Available at SECTS Shop: #03-05A Cineleisure Orchard, 8 Grange Road, Singapore 239695 | #04-14, Orchard Gateway, 277 Orchard Road, Singapore 238858 | Also available online.
Is it any surprise that a label titled Depression was born out of, well, depression? That’s precisely what happened with the founders of the local label – specifically, ex-advertising Writer and Art Director duo, Kenny Lim and Andrew Loh, who were going through a bout of depression from their hum drum corporate lives. Fortunately, though, they managed to snap out of it by launching an androgynous brand with ready-to-wear, graphic t-shirts in monochrome and darkly humorous prints – Depression! They’ve since been featured in Beijing Fashion TV, Tokyo Fashion Express and Korea Fashion News; participated in Singapore Audi Fashion Festival, Seoul Fashion Week and Malaysia Mercedez-Benz Asia Fashion Week; and worn by international celebrities such as such as Adam Lambert, Taboo from Black Eyed Peas and Zhang Ziyi.
Designed with the strong working woman in mind
IndyK is undeniably one of the most inspiring local brands around, and a lot of it has to do with founder Karen Wohlsen, who designs each dress and accessory with the formidable, strong working woman in mind. Karen’s style is bold, strong, feminine and timeless, drawing inspiration from Parisian styles and even ballet outfits, with romantic, elegant pieces as well as a range of comfortable ballet flats. IndyK doesn’t believe in mass-produced, fast fashion, but that every piece of apparel a woman dons ought to be a perfect fit so she looks and feels beautiful, confident and daring enough to stand tall in a crowd for all to see.
Bold and emotive jewellery
If there was one thing Mandy Wu isn’t afraid of it’s daring to express herself, even if it means laying her deepest and darkest emotions bare for all to see. Of course, she does so through her bold and emotive jewellery designs which comprise strong sculptural shapes with dark undertones. At the same time, each piece manages to reflect the resilience, vulnerability and sensuality of female nature. For instance, her latest collection Fortification is inspired by the strength and courage of female warriors, featuring faux leather cords, everyday hardware and spikes that signify self-protection, defiance and self-empowerment.
Candy-coloured jelly shoes
#B2-03, Wheelock Place, 501 Orchard Road, Singapore 238880 | #01-11/12, 1 Raffles Place, Singapore 048616 | Also available online.
Fans of Brazilian brand Melissa and its stylish yet incredibly comfortable jelly shoes can rejoice, because ever since local retailer M Dreams set up shop at Wheelock at Orchard, you now have easy access to those wonderful candy-coloured shoes that are just perfect for the confident woman who dares to dress. The creator of the original jelly shoe set the tone for footwear fashion with its launch in 1979 – its pop-luxury shoes, sparked off groundbreaking collaborations with international designers in the 1980s, including Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gaultier, Jason Wu and Pedro Lourenco. The sustainable fashion brand also recycles 99.9% of factory water and waste, as well as pieces of overstocked styles.
For the well-travelled woman that expresses herself through fashion
A hidden gem on Ann Siang Hill, MYthology is a mutli-label boutique that carries independent labels from the region. Despite the many labels it stocks, however, each piece MYthology carries is targeted at the well-travelled woman who is eager to express her personality through her clothes. MYthology is also particularly inspiring, as they often reach out to talented designers who have the talent but not necessarily the resources to make their dreams come true. More than just a multi-label store, MYthology also makes it a point to cultivate relationships with their customers and offer styling advice to anyone who wants it. Expect emerging and established Asian designers such as Paul Nathaphol from Thailand, Patrick Owen from Cathedrals, Islean Valath of local label ARC and the postmodern-inspired DRVV, among many others.
Powerful, edgy pieces
One word that comes to mind when you look at Sabrina Goh’s fashion designs is: “strong”. Because that’s precisely what the local fashion label is all about – strong structures, edgy silhouettes and unusual detailing that blend elements of femininity and masculinity to create powerful, androgynous pieces that would definitely make a woman stand out. Sabrina Goh often plays with unconventional colours, textures and tailoring techniques to create cutting edge pieces that play around with symmetry and asymmetry, resulting in rather irregular yet surprisingly stunning works.
Expressive, impactful design
Since launching at Parco next NEXT in 2010, Saloni Rathor has made a name for itself for stunning, impactful designs that aim to bring out a woman’s personality and expressions with rich, quirky, vibrant designs that certainly aren’t for the faint of heart. Singapore-based designer and founder Saloni Shrestha melds her personal sense of style – which often draws inspiration from her mother’s own style – with Asian aesthetics, resulting in hand-painted petunias, chrysanthemums and orchids on her designs alongside feminine structures, sensorial textures in exciting colours that are sure to turn head no matter where you go.
Jewellery for the modern woman
Top off your International Women’s Day outfit with some sparkling new jewellery – and local shop T. Atelier is a perfect choice, seeing that founder/designer Tricia Ng creates jewellery dedicated to the typical modern woman. For instance, her jewellery pieces are designed for the woman who has to constantly swap roles in her daily life, from the loving mother, to the warm-hearted friend and, of course, the ambitious and driven career woman. Each jewellery design is classy, yet contemporary; luxurious, yet playful; and elegant, but with a touch of whimsy. T. Atelier’s collection comprises Fine Gold jewellery, which uses 10K and 14K gold and diamonds, and Gold Over Silver pieces, which use vermeil and semi-precious stones.