The Godfather Speaks II: Daniel Boey on the 2017 Singapore Fashion Awards

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The SFAs first started in 2001, and was a biennial event before taking a hiatus in the mid-2000s. After its revival in 2016, it is now set to become an annual event in the fashion calendar. Said Boey: “Fashion designers used to be akin to rock stars in the 90s, each of them having huge followings and droves of fans. But the scene has changed so much since then. Now, more than ever, it’s so important to have more fashion events to create the awareness that we even have a fashion scene, and a lot of people still ask ‘Got local designers meh?’ Whether it’s Fashion Week, independent fashion parties or  popups and trade fairs, every single event is important to the industry to create buzz and ensure that there is this constant presence of local fashion.”

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For Boey, the SFA plays multiple roles for the local fashion industry. Said Boey: “This is a step in the right direction and all about celebrating the contributions of the fashion industry. The awards help unearth new names and new talent, not just in terms of designers  but also the models, the photographers, the hair and makeup artists, and so many more. I want the media to be excited and the public even more so, and hopefully, we bring in new fans and shoppers to push and grow the industry further.” 

“There’s also a lot of ignorance about the local fashion industry. Fashion has so many elements to it, and there’s a time and place for each one. A lot of people out there, they just buy a badly made $15 blouse from a ‘blogshop’ and immediately say ‘OMG, local fashion is horrible’, but you can’t just generalize. Part of the reason why the awards exist is for the sake of education, drawing awareness to this myriad of people and designers that make up the local fashion scene.”

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The SFA however, is still currently available to invitees only, and members of the public cannot purchase tickets to the tea gala taking place this Friday. On its exclusivity, Boey said: “Of course, the SFA is still a closed door event, so it can be hard to get the public in the know about it. But it’s a baby step forward, and if we can win even 10 new fans, then that’s a success in my eyes. It’s not like we can change an entire industry overnight, even if we like to think we can. In the meantime, we have to put our name out there however we can, and it’s also up to nominees to do their part to market it as well and get the word out.” 

For Daniel Boey, support is a two way street, and the fashion industry needs to help each other if they want to succeed. He says:”If you want people to support you, then you’d better support other local brands as well. Collaborators are taken on for various different reasons, but to use that hashtag (#supportlocal), you have to do your part to support as well and put your money where your mouth is.”

“Which brings me to how our SFA campaign is completely local, from the models to the outfits, to the people who worked on hair and makeup. The SFA is all about celebrating local talent, and if you put a foreign face on the ads, then it sends the wrong message that we have no products to push or we’re really not celebrating local achievements at all.”  

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Ultimately, Boey believes that besides celebration, the SFA’s role is primarily as a form of marketing, and how it should act as a platform and springboard for the brands represented to go further and show the world the good work they’ve put out. Said Boey: “There are so many labels and individuals being represented at the awards, some of which I haven’t even heard of, and it’s really an opportunity for them to get their name out there and shine. If I do good work but nobody knows about it, then how am I going to land jobs? This is what separates models from supermodels – supermodels don’t wait around for agents to market them, they let the world know they exist.” 

“One such talent would be Jean Yong, who you can see in the SFA marketing campaign. I went through a lot of models before finally discovering her, and truly believe she’s one of those people who can go international, and she’s already booked so many jobs. All it takes is someone to notice these diamonds in the rough, and find these potential ambassadors who will fly the flag high for Singapore fashion.”

Stay tuned for more about the local fashion scene as we’ll be bringing you more coverage of the 2017 SFA this Friday, taking an inside look at the calendar of events and a breakdown of the winners. Hopefully, the SFA does as Boey predicts, and there truly will come a day where we can celebrate and #supportlocal, believing wholeheartedly as a nation in the viability of our fashion scene by seeing the sheer amount of talent we have here.

The Singapore Fashion Awards take place on 24th November at W Hotel Singapore. Find out more about the Singapore Fashion Awards at their websiteTAFF’s Instagram and TAFF’s Facebook.

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