SINGAPORE: Shoppers will soon be able to get their retail fix from 61 up-and-coming homegrown labels, when local design showcase and incubator Design Orchard opens on Jan 25.
This was announced by Enterprise Singapore, JTC Corporation and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) on Monday (Jan 7).
Out of the 61 brands being featured, 11 are new or emerging labels that are less than two years old, while 47 are labels that are two to 10 years old. The remaining three are established brands that have been around for more than 10 years.
They were picked from more than 100 entries that were submitted when an open call was made for designers in November 2017.
“The brands were chosen based on their uniqueness, their brand stories, and also the appeal – if we thought it would reach out to more people,” said Mr Dennis Tay, founder of local retailer Naiise, which led the curation, along with government agencies.
At the 9,000 sq ft retail showcase on the first floor of the two-storey development, visitors will be able to buy clothes, accessories, home furnishings, beauty products and food souvenirs.
Some brands on offer include fragrance label Oo La Lab, clothing brand Yacht 21, handbag line Ling Wu and deli-bakery Plain Vanilla.
“Singapore is home to many global brands. As these brands become more ubiquitous, we noticed that more people are drawn to local products with a Singapore story,” said Ms Ranita Sundra, director of Retail and Dining at STB.
“Design Orchard is thus an exciting opportunity for us to profile the best of Singapore talent under one roof at a prime location.”
One emerging brand to be featured is women’s fashion label Qlothè, which was established in 2015.
“Design talents in Singapore are really no fewer than anywhere across the globe,” said Mr Elvynd Soh, founder of the four-year-old label.
“I think there’s currently not enough opportunities for local designers to be put on the map and this is a great channel and opportunity for us.”
MENTORSHIP FOR BUDDING BRANDS
Apart from injecting Singapore’s famed shopping belt with more local brands, the two-storey facility at the junction of Orchard Road and Cairnhill Road also aims to nurture these budding entrepreneurs.
Naiise will be running a mentorship programme for them, covering topics such as marketing, merchandising and expansion strategies.
Nineteen established entrepreneurs, including Spa Esprit Group founder Cynthia Chua and Motherswork founder Sharon Wong, are already on board as mentors.
Six-year-old social enterprise The Animal Project said this opportunity to learn from them was a big draw.
“We hope to learn new things and get expansion plans put in place. Another area we’re looking at is e-commerce and we need to have experts to advise us on this,” said Mr Roland Tay, founder of the label.
SECOND-FLOOR TO HOUSE FASHION INCUBATOR
An incubator area called The Cocoon Space will be operated by the Textile and Fashion Federation (TAFF) on the second floor.
Opening later this year, it will feature co-working spaces, professional sewing equipment and a “fabric library” containing a wide collection of textiles.
TAFF will also run The Bridge Fashion Incubator, a fashion-focused incubation programme meant to cover talent development, training and overseas trips for sourcing and production.
There will also be an amphitheatre on the rooftop to hold events at. When it is not in use, the space will be open to visitors who want a vantage point of Orchard Road.