When it comes to good fashion, it often feels like menswear is in short supply compared to women, with limited options that are either too pricey or too similar to stand out. But in a bid to support local and highlight some brands that deserve more recognition, the Textile and Fashion Federation (TaFF) brought back the 2nd Edition of TaFF Trunks – Men’s, with a tailor-made selection of designers and showcases celebrating men’s style.
Over the weekend, we attended the event, and led by TaFF Design Resource Development Director Leonard Choo, met both emerging designers and brands, as they shared their stories with us, and what made their brand unique. Brands we met included Lab Fragrances, Assemble, All Citizens, CYC, Duxton and more. Said Leonard in his address, “Its been a tough year but we are very glad we are able to put together this 2nd edition. With the support of everyone and every stakeholder.”
August Society is all about sustainable swimwear, showcasing their new range of swim shorts for males, but for me, I see it as shorts that women can also wear. Created by Toni, a member of the corporate world turned designer, she explained how August Society’s products actively embrace ethical and sustainable choices in both production and materials. The fabric is made from recycled materials as unexpected as PET Bottles or ghost fishing nets, and Toni herself creates all her own prints, and is there at every step of the design process. New stock will only be available in April, and it’s something to look forward to, with a good feel and look to them that makes it perfect for a swim under the sun, or a trip to the beach.
Accessory brand Boldr produces and sells outdoor watches, ideal for the adventurous individual. Made in Hong Kong and combining the playful idea of a toy box and watch, the watches are of good quality, and are designed and storyboarded by Hy. These watches, in their own words, are built to be “used and abused every day”, while still being stylish and functional. A titanium watch is reasonably priced at around USD299, and can go up to USD1,000 or so (fair, since they started out with just USD499 watches). Stocked in 15 countries and now in their fifth year of business, there’s a strong market for their product, as they pride themselves on constant innovation and upgrading what they have, and you can see the passion they have for making products people can really use and enjoy.
Heritage brand CYC Made to Measure has been around since 1935. Speaking to Marketing Manager Bernice Chia she Introduced me to their new launch which features proudly modern designs, hand drawn by their in-house designers. For me, it’s always difficult to find nice, unique short-sleeve shirts, and it’s nice to see CYC as a company so willing to push themselves into the contemporary times, always coming up with something new. With their five limited edition shirts available now, We recommend that you Get them while you can!
CYC is also the brand that stepped up and got the nation to contribute sewing masks back at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and their outfits are certainly comfortable and stylish, with big kudos to their team for bringing the brand to where it is today.
In fast-paced, humid Singapore, we could all do with a non-wrinkle shirt, something All Citizens does with their performance-based apparel. Specialising in shirts and underwear, a non-wrinkled shirt retails at around an affordable SGD90. They’ve also recently launched a special ‘Paradise Pocket’ brief, a new design that has a special pocket for men to be super comfortable while wearing it. Entering the fashion industry from a non-fashion background, the founder of All Citizens came to it with real passion, love and desire to create products that were both fashionable and functional, doing his part to improve menswear for a more comfortable lifestyle.
Speaking to German/British entrepreneur Alexander Hascher of SACCO, he explained how he loved jackets, but given Singapore’s climate, could never do that without being uncomfortable. Naturally, he decided to make some himself. Coming in a swathe of colours, Alex explained how the blazers were made in Naples, and has been in business for 2 years. Priced at $650 at The Colony and also distributed in Japan, sizes range from 42 to 54, with each one made of wool and coming in a special weave. With their vibrant colours and breathability in material, these blazers assure that you’ll look snazzy while remaining comfortable in Singapore.
Jewellery and accessories brand Forbidden Hills showed off their new ban zu collection, with new contemporary colours to wear in a cuff bracelet. Showcasing strong thought process in their Hội An cuff links, these reminded us of vibrant lanterns, sure to brighten up any shirt you wear.
The cuff bracelets are priced at SGD220, and you can even change the inner lining to a different colour at just SGD20, letting you express yourself and get creative.
Assemble have been roving tailors since 2015, but are now housed at their very own shop at Orchard Central, and offer modern contemporary tailoring. Their main selling point would be their plaited lining, the first in Singapore to offer such services for a nice inner lining, with some fascinating designs to spruce up a jacket. Prices start from SGD550, and can be applied to suits with pants. Assemble are also always interested in collaborations, and are constantly on the lookout for new artists and designers to expand their range.
The LAB Fragrances is back this year, and offers unique, curated scents to enjoy. While they started with 17 options last year, they’ve reduced the selection to just 10, to concentrate on a small number of scents. While there are some brands that have 101 scents, The LAB is all about perfecting what they have, and invite you to step out of your comfort zone and discover a new scent for yourself.
Modern lifestyle brand Duxton launched their made to measure services last year to great response, with chic and comfortable shirts. Their made to measure takes about 7 days to complete, and use only the best fabrics sourced from Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Bali. Dustin helped frame the Duxton experience for us, sharing how he imagined customers as heading down to the shop at Yong Siak Street for an initial conversation, getting their measurements, and then discussing the perfect shirt over a beer or coffee.
You can practically feel the love he has for the brand and that he puts into a product, truly believing in the experience and need for it. Aiming to provide more options for men to dress well, Duxton also hopes to create shirts for women, who have taken a liking to their more translucent shirts.
Lastly, we met Monica Millington of Tropick, one of nine brands selected for the second batch of TaFF’s The Bridge Fashion Incubator. Launched in August 2020, Tropick is all about using reusable, biodegradable material to make men’s shirts, and hope to incorporate more materials and more types of apparel so people can fill their wardrobes. These shirts are particularly useful in tropical countries, because while they look thick, they actually cool really fast, and provide all you need in a modern, smart-casual shirt. At SGD198, it’s relatively affordable, for a piece that’s both smart and has finesse, and speaks of men of leisure with a keen sense of style.
“We are proud to celebrate TaFF’s core mission to ‘Support Local and Grow Global’, especially through these fine selection of brands in this year’s TaFF Trunks,” says Perng Aw, Marketing and Events Director at TaFF. “This is an opportunity for tastemakers to come and witness a melting pot of culture and design through these unique Singaporean brands.”
TaFF Trunks – Men’s Edition 2021 was held from 6th to 7th February 2021 at The Cocoon Space, Level 3, 250 Orchard Road, Singapore 238905.