Probably the most impressive pop-up to date, KEEPERS: Singapore Designer Collective showcases the diverse range, capabilities and craftsmanship of over 50 Singapore designers and artisans at its 5-month pop-up retail atelier located in the heart of Orchard Road.
Happening from 12th September 2014 to 15th February 2015, KEEPERS trails the spotlight on designers and artisans handpicked from various disciplines including fashion, furniture, homewares, architecture, interior design, graphic design, art, music, publishing and food and beverage.
The 4,300 square foot purpose-built pop-up will feature 20 resident designers and artisans who will show a changing selection of work over the 5 months, and exclusive KEEPERS capsules, e.g. The Desti Saint Collaboration collection with artist Tricia Hollingum. Additionally, over 30 guest designers and artisans will be featured in line with the monthly themes that refresh the showcase experience, so repeat guests will always have new things to discover.
Located within a sprawling indoor space with enough room for a retail showcase, two resident artisans’ studios, an intimate space for talks and workshops, as well as a sheltered alfresco events space towards the back, the retail pop-up is designed to give the public access to the designer and artisan community in one easily accessible location. This enables them to share the story behind their designs as well as the craftsmanship behind the products in order to grow appreciation and value for their work. People will get to meet and learn from the artisans working on-site in the two studios and join the diverse series of talks, exhibitions, and immersive events.
In addition, diverse disciplines are given a platform to come together to spur collaboration, exchange ideas and strengthen the community in the long term.
Sounds like quite a feat, no? We catch up with Carolyn Kan, the founder and designer behind Carrie K. -one of the most-loved Singapore-based accessories labels – and now Creative Director of KEEPERS, to discuss this latest passion-filled venture.
THE STORY BEHIND KEEPERS
Launched in November 2011, KEEPERS was an idea to bring together independent designers, artists and artisans, with people who value unique handcrafted products and time taken to make things well. The quarterly event gave people the opportunity to talk to designers and artisans, to learn more about the creative and development process and the stories behind the designs during the relaxed Saturday showcase that was typically from 2pm to 7pm.
Over the years, KEEPERS had grown through word-of-mouth and there was an increased interest in Singapore designers and artisan craftsmanship. Off the back of the 11 intimate, quarterly KEEPERS at the Carrie K. Atelier and last year’s KEEPERS month long pop-up at the Georgetown festival, we had amassed a strong following and a potent pool of designers and artisans that we passionately wanted to tell people about.
It has always been a dream to make this more accessible to the public, in a highly visible location for local designers and this led to the launch of KEEPERS: Singapore Designer Collective.
The Textile and Fashion Federation (TaFf) is a natural partner for us as TaFf has been actively championing local fashion designers and growing an active local fashion community, with the support of Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and SPRING Singapore.
Together with the Textile and Fashion Federation (TaFf), we tapped the expertise of fellow designers Chee Sau Fen of Heads of State Millinery, Zull of IEX, Gauri Garodia of Code Deco, Alfie Leong of A.W.O.L., award winning architect Randy Chan of Zarch Collaboratives and the team from ACRE to pull the showcase together.
WHAT TO EXPECT
The 4,300 square foot purpose-built pop-up will feature 20 resident designers and over 30 guest designers and artisans in line with the monthly themes that refresh the showcase experience, so repeat guests will always have new things to discover. Indoors, there is a retail showcase and two artisans’ studios. Currently, the two artisans in residence are myself and Heads of State Millinery. We will welcome master bookbinder, dddots as our new artisan-in-residence come November. There is also an intimate space for talks and workshops, as well as a sheltered alfresco events space towards the back.
In November, we will launch our new monthly theme, “The Beauty of Words”, which coincides with the Design Week and the Design Society’s hosted talks by industry luminaries such as Chris Lee of Asylum and Edwin Low of Supermama.
In December, in tandem with the festive season, our monthly theme is “Creating Meaning”. Guests and attendees can expect a meaningful menagerie of workshops and sessions that convey the art of thoughtful gifting through bespoke and handmade items.
THE SETTING UP PHASE
The project was fraught with challenges from the tight timeline to space constraints. Thankfully, we were blessed with an amazing team of individuals for whom the impossible was not a problem. So every problem gave rise to a solution, some of which have resulted in a better-designed space. When we got STB and SPRING Singapore’s thumbs up at the beginning of July, the entire team really pulled together to achieve what many thought was impossible in the 2.5 months we had to the targeted opening date of 12th September. But it just goes to show that with a clear and shared purpose, passion and the right people, anything is possible.
DISCOVERING NEW TALENT
We’ve had some new discoveries that we are very excited about. Keng Lye’s hyper-real art is pretty amazing and ACRE is a super talented branding agency that launched their line of furniture that was created specially for KEEPERS.
THE KEEPERS CALENDAR
The programmes and experience at the pop-up will change every month so that guests will constantly discover something new and fresh every time they visit during the 5 months.
In addition, we have selected guest designers and artisans based on our monthly themes to retail, perform, host talks and workshops and exhibitions. Some of the talks and workshops will be free, while some will be ticketed.
On Mondays and Tuesdays, Singapore designers and artisans may use the space for free to host free relevant talks or share learnings for the betterment of the industry or promote collaborations between different disciplines.
Where relevant, we work with the different design festivals to cross-market their festival to broaden their reach beyond the members of their design community. And by having them showcase at KEEPERS, we hope to bring diverse disciplines that do not normally get together to meet, exchange ideas and spur collaboration.
For more event specifics and updates, please refer to www.keepers.com.sg.
Held from November 1st till 2nd, 2014, “Crowd Retail Therapy” aims to make shopping with friends more fun and rewarding. Shoppers need only bring along two friends to the pop-up, tell our retail team “I’m a KEEPER!” and be given a S$10 voucher for their purchases (while stocks last). Also, we are hosting an Art Exhibition by Lee Etheredge IV, “time text memory” from 4 – 9 November, showing how the typewriter is used as a drawing instrument to capture the passage of time.
Another exciting event that we have is a November tie-up with The Design Society to host designers’ talks. Coinciding with KEEPERS’ November theme of “Beauty of Words”, KEEPERS x The Design Society Sessions #12 Talk held on 6 November, invites leading design experts in Singapore to discuss about the written word and its relation to design and typography.
In December, we’ve prepared an event entitled “Emergency Shopping” on 12th & 13th December and 19th and 20th December 2014, especially for last-minute shoppers looking for meaningful Christmas gifts for their friends or loved ones. We’ve curated a thoughtful list of guest designers and items that range from scented candles to beautifully packaged edible gifts that would make perfect Christmas gifts.
CONNECTING ARTISANS TO CONSUMERS
Apart from the retail showcase of over 50 designers across 5 months, KEEPERS has curated a stellar calendar of events based on our monthly themes. These events range from free or paid talks and workshops to featured events that are targeted at connecting artisans to consumers.
SPURRING COLLABORATION AMONGST DESIGNERS
In terms of collaborations, KEEPERS has always encouraged collaborations between designers. One great example is our resident designer, Desti Saint, who showcased her exclusive collection of clutches at KEEPERS in collaboration with linocut artist Tricia Hollingum. Tricia had reinterpreted Singapore’s flowers and architecture through linocut. These linocut designs were then hand carved on to leather that have been selectively coloured to mirror the natural vibrancy of frangipanis, orchid and tropical gingers.
DOWN THE ROAD FOR KEEPERS
This is our first KEEPERS of this scale. In the short time, we have amassed the support of a powerful collective of designers and artisans in Singapore reflecting the potential and the demand.
The support from agencies and bodies like the Textile and Fashion Federation (TaFf), Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and SPRING Singapore, has been very positive.
In the longer term, we hope to build a permanent enclave where Singapore designers and artisans can work, retail, learn and collaborate in order to grow the creative community and our work and truly put Singapore’s creative industry on the map.
WHY SHOP LOCAL
Firstly, the purpose of KEEPERS was just to bring together a diverse range of designers from different disciplines that are of international calibre. In fact, many are making in-roads internationally. Because many of us are scattered all over the island, we remain unknown to many. And in the short time that we have been open, we are fuelled by the fact that there is definitely a demand for quality local designer wares.
Orchard Green (Junction of Cairnhill Road & Orchard Road), Singapore.
Open 11am – 10pm daily.
Want to be part of the force propelling local fashion to greater heights? The next Travelshopa Talks will be held at KEEPERS. Registration is now open to all local designers and retailers here.