Claire Chahil, TheAC

Imagine a boutique designed with Singapore’s tropical climate and lifestyle in mind. Meet TheAC. Find out how its founder CLAIRE CHAHIL is going beyond curating independent, local designers for this new retail space.

Located in the heart of Singapore’s historic enclave of Joo Chiat in a traditional Peranakan shophouse, The Attaby Collective (TheAC) is not your average multi-label boutique. It is a retail incubator featuring a curated selection of independent designers and brands.

What started as a pop up in 2016, this new retail space is now the permanent home of 11 fashion, home, kids, accessories, activewear and art brands. The space showcases familiar names like Elverd Designs, Eysse & I through to new arrivals like InZone5, Big Blue Company and Elements Concept. Each curated brand is independent with a focus on responsible and fair production practices. Their shared passion for what they do and design shines through in the fun and tropical-inspired setting.

We sat down with the founder Claire Chahil, who is also the owner and designer of Attaby, to hear all about the idea behindTheAC, her stand on retail in Singapore and what’s in store during challenging retail times in Singapore. 

I wanted a disruptive retail model that would offer the opportunity for emerging brands to grow their following, be housed in a permanent retail space but without the usual consignment model pitfalls.

 

Claire Chahil, TheAC | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

Image: Founder, Claire Chahil

As the fashion designer of Attaby, what triggered you open TheAc?

With over 10 years experience in fashion and retail, I wanted a disruptive retail model that would offer the opportunity for emerging brands to grow their following, be housed in a permanent retail space but without the usual consignment model pitfalls. Attaby sits within the collective as an in-house fashion label.

What has been the biggest challenge with being a creative in business?

I’ve always debunked the myth that creative practitioners are not natural business people. On the contrary, running a business is about finding solutions and putting ideas into practice every day, which is the remit of a designer. The biggest challenges in this context can become your biggest opportunities.

What’s next in store for you?

I’m planning on two levels at the moment. I have immediate plans to foster the existing group of brands and the current space because I absolutely love the energising feedback from our customers. I also have a secondary plan for the future of TheAC that is on a much larger scale, which is all in the strategy stage at the moment.

Claire Chahil, TheAC | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa
Claire Chahil, TheAC | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

In your opinion, what’s the current state of the retail industry in Singapore?

Retail can often be volatile and we can certainly see huge challenges both here and on an international level for many reasons. The traditional business models are being revised and TheAC is proud to be part of this disruption. Singapore has gone through a rapid Internationalisation project but now people are looking for a little more specialisation and something that is not so mass market. Our brand leaders are always actively engaged with our core customers and this is what leads us to success.

How do you think the situation will change in the future?

Many people talk about the death of traditional shops but I think people will always want to experience shopping as a leisure activity and feel the product before they buy. So the challenge is to make the traditional shop a desirable and inspirational place to visit. In this sense, the TheAC is not simply a shop. We are a boutique, a brand discovery centre and social space where we host events.

What advice would you share with aspiring store owners?

Firstly make sure you like your shop as you’ll be spending a lot of time there! You need to be proud of what you create to give it positive energy. With my business hat on I’d say do your research on what exactly you will offer in the marketplace and try to gather a following before you take the plunge.

Many people talk about the death of traditional shops but I think people will always want to experience shopping as a leisure activity and feel the product before they buy. So the challenge is to make the traditional shop a desirable and inspirational place to visit.

 

Claire Chahil, TheAC | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa
Claire Chahil, TheAC | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa
Claire Chahil, TheAC | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa
Claire Chahil, TheAC | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

How would you describe Singapore Style?

I think Singapore is a mix of city chic and beach resort – after all, it is a banking centre with a corporate edge yet is also a tropical island where flip flops (or thongs/slippers) and kaftans can be day wear. One thing I love is that you can dress in anything from a traditional sari to a pencil skirt and blouse or shorts and a t-shirt and people are perfectly accepting of this. Once I even found myself in full white tie dress eating noodles at a roadside hawker with hardly an eyebrow raised. I love that mix.

How has style changed in Singapore in the last few years?

There is a real confidence in local designers that has developed over the 6 years I’ve been here, which has changed the style landscape. More options exist at all levels of the market so people can dress according to their style aesthetic more easily. It’s an exciting time to be part of the Singapore fashion scene.

What’s the best time to visit Singapore?

Anytime is a good time to visit Singapore!

Claire Chahil, TheAC | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa
Claire Chahil, TheAC | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

TheAc is located at 420 Joo Chiat Road Singapore 427641.
Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 8pm | Sunday, 11am – 3pm

All images courtesy of Claire Chahil and Louise Hill Design.

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Mother's Day is a day to thank Mum for her unconditional love and devotion to the family. Besides some kind words, quality family time, and a big family hug, this Mother’s Day our founder Renée Lodens would love to receive one or more of these items in her Mother's Day Gift Guide.

Mother's Day Gift Guide 2017 | Travelshopa

RENEE'S MOTHER'S DAY WISH LIST

"34 Jacket" Raincoat Zig Stripe | Paqme | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Paqme

“34 Jacket” Raincoat Zig Stripe

Bamboo Mirror | Homlab | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Homlab

Bamboo Mirror

EMMA Pajama Jacket | Maison Zhou | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Maison Zhou

EMMA Pajama Jacket

Dali Wild Edt | Paris Mode Shop | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Paris Mode Shop

Dali Wild Edt

Browns Dress | A.Browns & Co. | Mother's Day Gift Guide

A. Browns & Co.

Browns Dress

Le Specs Nero Sunglasses, Silver | theWYLDshop.com | Mother's Day Gift Guide

TheWYLDShop.com

Le Specs Nero Sunglasses, Silver

Skyla | Alijst | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Alijst

Skyla

Sculptural Wall Antler | Departures & Arrivals | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Departures & Arrivals

Sculptural Wall Antler

White Top | Wai Yang | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Wai Yang

White Top

Orchid/Touchin In Ceramic Silver Pot, White | Bungalow 55 | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Bungalow 55

Orchid/Touchin In Ceramic Silver Pot, White

Ashley Cami Midi Dress | TheWYLDShop.com | Mother's Day Gift Guide

theWYLDshop.com

Ashley Cami Midi Dress

Papeete Sarong, Tropicana | August Society | Mother's Day Gift Guide

August Society

Papeete Sarong, Tropicana

David Hicks Intimate A World Of Private Interiors | Bungalow 55 | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Bungalow 55

David Hicks: Intimate A World Of Private Interiors

Bartlett Pear Scented Candle | Maisey Candles | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Maisey Candles

Bartlett Pear Scented Candle

Majestic White Top | Rosalie Pompon | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Rosalie Pompon

Majestic White Top

Bellerose | Rosalie Pompon | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Rosalie Pompon

Bellerose

Liana | Bohemian Butterfly | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Bohemian Butterfly

Liana Bracelet

Artic White Lynx Faux Fur Throw | Bungalow 55 | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Bungalow 55

Artic White Lynx Faux Fur Throw

Go Dotty Tee Dress | Attaby | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Attaby

Go Dotty Tee Dress

Freedom Bird Teapot | The Shophouse | Mother's Day Gift Guide

The Shophouse

Freedom Bird Teapot

Browns Jumpsuit | A. Browns & Co. | Mother's Day Gift Guide

A Browns & Co.

Browns Jumpsuit

Martia Mesh Purse | Maison Curio | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Maison Curio

Martia Mesh Purse

Majapahit Cone Earrings | Maru Jewelry | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Maru Jewelry

Majapahit Cone Earrings

Charlotte Hurricane Vase, Small | Taylor B. Design | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Taylor B. Design

Charlotte Hurricane Vase, Small

Rose Quartz Art Deco Ring | Elverd Designs | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Elverd Designs

Rose Quartz Art Deco Ring

Bambu Laut Band Brass | Nagicia | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Nagicia

Bambu Laut Band Brass

18k Yellow Gold Puff Ring | Marilyn Tan Jewellery | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Marilyn Tan Jewellery

18k Yellow Gold Puff Ring

BETTE Wrap Nightgown | Maison Zhou | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Maison Zhou

Bette Wrap Nightgown

Personalised Leather Cosmetic Pouch | Gifts Less Ordinary | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Gifts Less Ordinary

Personalised Leather Cosmetic Pouch

Cynthia Pearl Necklace | Stones that Rock | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Stones that Rock

Cynthia Pearl Necklace

Blossom Tray | Ethnicraft | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Ethnicraft

Blossom Tray

Jem Rose Gold | Maissone | Mother's Day Gift Guide

Maissone

Jem Rose Gold

Silver Plated Salerno Clock | White Contemporary Home| Mother's Day Gift Guide

White Contemporary Home

Silver Plated Salerno Clock

Playlist: Winter 2017

I like to prolong the festive season for as long as possible, so I entertain a lot in the early New Year. The voices of Etta James, Joni Mitchell, Marvin Gaye and other greats in this playlist never fail to set the mood - morning, noon and night.


 

Winter 2017 Playlist

Playlist: Dinner Party 2016

Tis the season of parties! Entertain your guests and move to the beat of these fall-inspired numbers from Travelshopa's Dinner Party Playlist.


 

Dinner Party Playlist

Shopping Precincts in Sydney

Tamarama | Shopping Precincts in Sydney | Travelshopa

A stunning harbour, picturesque beaches and outdoor pools, outdoorsy nature, dynamic arts and culture landscape, an innovative fashion scene, and a mecca for brilliant gastronomy – there is little wonder why Sydney is one of the best holiday destinations in the world. Sitting on the south-east coast of Australia, Sydney offers the best of fashion, food, culture and everything in between.

From the elaborate malls to emerging and well-known Australian brands, this mighty urban also boasts best local shopping in the New South Wales capital. We guide you through the stand-out shopping precincts in Sydney.

CBD

Sydney’s Central Business District (CBD) is also rife with shopping opportunities with well-known spots like Pitt Street Mall, Westfield Sydney, Queen Victoria Building and The Strand Arcade offering a jumble of international retail giants, department stores and of course plenty of local fashion labels.

HAYMARKET

SYDNEY CBD

THE ROCKS

EAST

The Eastern Suburbs are regarded as the most desirable part of the suburban sprawl. The area is blessed with some of the largest and picturesque shopping hot spots in the city – set between the magnificent harbour and the spectacular coastline. It’s the ultimate urban idyll.

BONDI

BONDI BEACH

BRONTE

CLOVELLY

DARLINGHURST

DOUBLE BAY

POTTS POINT

PADDINGTON

SURRY HILLS

WOOLLAHRA

NORTH

Northern Sydney is a vast suburban area. Shopping is found in pockets in the inland suburbs of the lower North Shore all the way up the coast. The laid-back Northern Beaches from Manly to Palm Beach offer plenty of shopping options.

AVALON/PALM BEACH

CHATSWOOD/
WILLOUGHBY

LOWER NORTH SHORE

MANLY

WEST

Exciting shopping adventures await on both sides of Parramatta Road – Sydney’s Inner West. Brace yourself to discover a plethora of second-hand stores and up-and-coming Australian labels as well as vintage shops, independent bookstores, weekend markets and uber cool warehouses filled with some of the country’s most talented homewares curators.

ALEXANDRIA

BALMAIN

GLEBE

NEWTOWN

REGIONAL NSW

Within an hour or two by car, you can find some of NSW’s most creative talent. Further afield soak up the true blue Aussie lifestyle while discovering an endless stream of designers and retailers.

BLUE MOUNTAINS

BYRON BAY

HUNTER VALLEY

SOUTH COAST

SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS

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