I’m going to be honest right off the bat and say this: I am not a fashionista, and not someone who’s completely in the know about the local fashion scene. From time to time, I’ll recognize a name that’s said in passing, or of course, expressed my surprise when the most ang-moh sounding labels turned out to be local (I’m looking at you Benjamin Barker and Charles and Keith). And perhaps, the majority of the Singaporeans are of a similar mindset, celebrating only when someone has someone has finally made it big overseas, but for the most part, letting the local scene pass right by them on a daily basis.
But maybe then, the Singapore Fashion Awards are the first step towards changing that mindset. At the very least, it’s helped start a paradigm shift in myself, and want to know more about these movers and shakers who’ve been praised for their contributions over the last year. At the recently concluded 2017 edition held on 24th November organized by the Textile and Fashion Federation of Singapore (TAFF), fashion mavericks and newbies to the scene were lauded and recognized at the official awards ceremony held at the W Hotel Sentosa Cove in a lavish tea gala.
The gala was themed according to a ‘Mad Hatter’s’ Tea Party, colourful and decadent in all the sweet treats on show, each one an individual art piece in itself, a real stroke of curatorial genius from Creative Director and local Godfather of Fashion himself Daniel Boey and his creative team who made the entire setup look dazzling, even though times were tough and the budget wasn’t huge. The fabulous event was awash in classy local celebrities dressed in all manner of local design, with gorgeous gowns and dapper suits and all smiles, clearly enjoying themselves and showing that local fashion is worth supporting.
Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Sim Ann delivered an opening speech that called for more people to #supportlocal. In her opening speech, Ms Sim Ann expressed the importance of fashion in the local trade industry, congratulating organizations like TAFF for continuing to provide platforms for local designers to build their capabilities and go international. Ms Sim Ann also gave the assurance that the government is very much supportive of the fashion industry, organizing events such as Design Orchard, which will act as an incubation space and showcase of local labels along Orchard Road, before concluding with the hope that together, the Singapore fashion scene can continue to grow.
The awards themselves were split into three categories – the Design Awards, Marketing Awards and Contributor Awards, and were awarded to a total of 14 individuals and companies, amongst many more nominees.
Taking home the biggest prizes of the night were Designers of the Year Chelsea Scott-Blackhall of contemporary-classic street wear label, DZOJCHEN and Marilyn Tan of designer luxury label, Marilyn Tan Jewellery, for Fashion and Accessories respectively.
But even newer designers were recognized at the ceremony, with the awarding of the Emerging Designer of the Year Award to Elizabeth Soon of multifaceted daily wear label AMETSUBI and Afzal Imram and Lin Ruiyin of luxury label of fine jewellery and objects, State Property, for Fashion and Accessories respectively.
The recipient of the inaugural Bespoke Award was Carrie K. who was selected based on the originality and creativity of the Pebble Ring which was inspired by a client’s proposal story that symbolized the client’s romantic proposal on the Grand Canyon as well as the family’s journey together over the years represented by each pebble. Winning by a unanimous vote, the judges felt that the winning design resonated and encapsulated the essence of the brief provided by the client while clearly upholding the Carrie K. brand name.
But the designers were not the only ones lauded at the ceremony. The Best Marketing Award went to Benjamin Barker, while Carrie K. received their second award of the night for their collaboration with Disney for a Beauty and the Beast Collection. Meanwhile, the recipients of the Top 3 Most Popular Brands of the Year Awards were Love, Bonito, By Invite Only and Beyond the Vines, selected for having resonated best with their target markets. Finally, in the Contributor Awards, even those working tirelessly behind the scenes were recognized, including Elain Lim (Make-Up Artist of the Year), Marc Teng (Hairstylist of the Year), Stefan Khoo (Photographer of the Year), and Jeremy Tan (Fashion Stylist of the Year).
Said Lynette Lee, CEO of TAFF Singapore: “The Singapore Fashion Awards are the perfect round up to the year with an injection of excitement within the industry. Designers look forward to being a part of the awards as a way of re-affirming their work, and the awards acts as a way to spotlight the fashion industry in its entirety, including contributors who work behind the scenes.”
“Ultimately, TAFF believes that fashion is a part of every modern lifestyle and not exclusive to any particular segment of society. Fashion is for everyone and we would love for every Singaporean to know of and support Singaporean labels, regardless of background.”
The local fashion industry, in all honesty, still has a very long road ahead of it before it can truly claim to have made an impact on the international scene. But with the SFAs, there is at least the recognition starting at home, necessary to spur on these winners and nominees to continue the good work that they’ve done, a splendid showcase of the incredible work our current talents are capable of and putting out, and a signifier of the sheer potential our scene has to make a meteoric rise in the years still to come. This edition of the SFAs was a worthy celebration of all that the industry has achieved over the past year and wonderfully hosted and organized by WhiteLabel PR. May the SFAs, continue to live long and continue year after year, showing locals that Singapore truly does have a thriving fashion scene.
In line with efforts to develop and grow the local fashion industry, winners of the Singapore Fashion Awards 2017 Marketing Category will be facilitating a sharing session for the next generation of designers on 8th December 2017 at the National Design Centre. Find out more at their website, TAFF’s Instagram and TAFF’s Facebook