In the words of the great thespian, Chow Yun Fat in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, "Welcome to Singapore". He meant it as a reference to Singapore's (fictional?) history as a pirate port. But these days, we are better known for our amazing local food scene, bars with amazing views and the jewel in the east. But Singapore is more than a place where you put amazing grub into your body; the shopping scene is no slouch either. If you are looking for something more than the run-of-the-mill brands to shop for, we've rounded up a list of the best local fashion brands so that you can leave this country with some great threads to go along with satisfied bellies and good memories.
What began as a platform to sell sought-after fashion grails has turned into a budding streetwear label with serious international cred. It was started by Earn Chen, a self-styled "cultural entrepreneur", who has his finger on the pulse of all things zeitgeist-ey. The multi-hyphenate creative also had a hand in launching multi-label shopping boutique Surrender, and is the serving creative force behind the Potato Head Folk group.
The Salvages might look like yet another streetwear brand riding the trend train, but there is more than it meets the eye to this young Singaporean label. First up, they stick to what they know—oversized T-shirts—which they use as a canvas to express different colourways and brilliant graphics motifs. More than your standard oversized T-shirt, the cut is considered and flattering to all body types. And like any streetwear brand, it is only as good as its collaborators—so perhaps the best endorsement of the label is its recent run of T-shirts made with LVMH prize winner, Doublet.
Best for: Those looking for local streetwear with an international appeal.
Look out for: The brand's classic oversized T-shirts in black that you will never want to take off.
Online store: thesalvages.com
Dover Street Market Singapore (18 Dempsey Rd, Singapore 249677)
Dover Street Market Singapore: Daily from 11am to 8pm.
It is hard to do up a list of best Singaporean fashion labels and leave out Ong Shunmugam, and with good reason—the label is one of the best on our sunny shores. Designer Priscilla Shunmugam is masterful at translating Asian narratives, craftmanship and fabrics into a modern silhouette. Instead of a forced Frankenstein that is neither modern or Asian, her clothes look like the natural evolution of what Southeast Asian clothing should look like.
While the label focuses only on womenswear right now (did we just hear a big cheer from your better half?), Priscilla Shunmugam has started working on creating a collection dedicated for men. While we anticipate the next development of the brand, the womenswear offering here is as good as they come.
Best for: Southeast Asian dress with modern sensibilities.
Look out for: A bespoke Cheongsam from Atelier Ong Shunmugam and their future menswear offering.
Online store: ongshunmugam.com
Where:43 Jalan Merah Saga 01-76 Singapore 278115
Opening hours: The Atelier is by appointment only, while the store is open 12pm to 7pm (Tuesday to Saturday); closed on public holidays.
In Good Company
In Good Company has been around for quite a while. Since its establishment in 2013, the brand has expanded its range to include menswear in 2017. The vibe and aesthetic is rather minimal, with a focus on form and cut as opposed to of-the-moment designs and prints.
The idea is that with In Good Company, one is able to build a wardrobe that's modern and functions as well as it looks. Additionally, In Good Company is known for combining food together with its main fashion retail store for a more cohesive lifestyle concept. The brand's latest store in Jewel Changi Airport, for example, shares a space with local artisanal gelato brand Birds Of Paradise.
Best for: Those looking to update their wardrobe staples with timeless fashion.
Look out for: The brand's severe boat-neck cotton tops are a great update to a woven T-shirt.
Online store: ingoodcompany.asia
ION Orchard (B1-06, 2 Orchard Turn, Singapore 238801)
Jewel Changi Airport (01-214/215/216, 78 Airport Boulevard, Singapore 819666)
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands (B1-65, 2 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956)
Tangs at Tang Plaza (Level 2, 310 Orchard Road, Singapore 238864)
ION Orchard: Daily from 9am to 10.30pm
Jewel Changi Airport: Daily from 10am to 10pm
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands: 10.30am to 11pm (Sundays to Thursdays, and public holidays); 10.30am to 11.30pm (Fridays, Saturdays, and eve of public holidays)
Tangs at Tang Plaza: 10.30am to 9.30pm (Mondays to Saturdays); 11am to 8.30pm (Sundays)
A brand that's relatively new to the menswear fashion scene in Singapore, Duxton was conceptualised by husband-and-wife duo Iris Sangalang and Dustin Ramos, who also started multi-label store Monument Lifestyle prior to that.
The brand is named after the road and area where the couple opened their first retail store, and is also where the team is based. With Duxton, the focus is on well-made T-shirts and printed shirts. All of Duxton's pieces are made in Los Angeles, California with the brand's knit fabrics sourced from LA, while the woven fabrics are from Japan. And with LA as the production centre of the brand, there's that undeniable surfer vibe to the core pieces of Duxton, especially in the vibrant prints of its shirts.
Best for: Those looking for something appropriate for living on the equator.
Look out for: The printed shirts are definitely the pieces you'd want to gravitate towards.
Online store: duxton.com
Where: Monument Lifestyle (75 Duxton Road, Singapore 089534)
Opening hours: 8am to 7pm (Mondays to Fridays); 10am to 6pm (Saturdays to Sundays); closed on public holidays.
Japanese craft is arguably one of the best in Asia—there's precision and time-honoured techniques you wouldn't necessarily find anywhere else. Helmed by brother Kenghow and Kage, biro focuses on using the best of Japanese techniques to create pieces that are meant to stand the test of time, and designed with fine details on a minimalist canvas.
The clothes are artfully made in that signature Japanese aesthetic you'd see the most stylist gents in Tokyo sporting—unrestrictive, easy and nothing too flashy. biro most recently unveiled the F.CLASSIC series, that delves even deeper with quality fabrics that emphasise on the level of craftsmanship that the brand was founded on.
Best for: The best of Japanese craft in easy-to-wear silhouettes.
Look out for: The denim, of course.
Online store: birocompany.com
Where: Mandarin Gallery (03-23, 333A Orchard Road, Singapore 238897)
Opening hours: Daily from 12pm to 8pm.
In an age where sustainability is just as in vogue as the return of leopard prints, we have accessories label, Omitir Concepts. Started by Darren Loke and Bryan Teo, the duo wanted to challenge the notion of disposable fashion, opting with their core ethos of "Refining Necessities".
The label, which specialises in handcrafted leather goods with a raw and unpolished slant, answers the call of sustainability by blending timeless styles and expert workmanship into a product that will last you as long as you take care of it. For the duo, the label is more than just a business, it is a challenge to create locally made accessories (one that won't cost you an arm and leg), that can compete with the big boys. Ever the perfectionist, every single product is hand-finished by both Loke and Teo.
Best for: Leather goods of amazing quality at an affordable price point.
Look out for: The vegetable-tanned leather waist pouch with contrasting metal hardware.
Online store: omitrconcepts.com
Where: Accepting orders via Instagram direct messages.
Opening hours: 24 hours a day
Need more recommendations? Check out our Singapore Guide.