A Fashion Editor's Shopping Guide: The Best Local Brands And Malls In Singapore
This story was updated on July 7, 2020.
Shopping is part and parcel of any vacation plans. It is through the retail scene that one gets a glimpse into the local culture, whether it is through textiles, craftsmanship or creativity. Homegrown labels spark conversation in their designs that allow travelers and tourists alike to discover a country in a different light—sometimes controversial, sometimes educational. Here we spotlight Singaporean brands to shop and lend your support:
Ask anyone about Singapore’s fashion scene, and there will undoubtedly be mention of Ong Shunmugam. The label is known and loved for its modern twist on traditional Southeast Asian attire (cheongsam, sari and baju kurung). What makes Ong Shunmugam stand out is the designer, Priscilla Shunmugam's focus on using Asian textiles and silhouettes to tell heritage stories deeply rooted in culture and current affairs.
A must-have item to own from the homegrown label is its contemporary take on the cheongsam. If you’re looking for something more versatile, the brand just launched its diffusion line, OM, of easy-to-wear wardrobe staples carefully cut to precision. We recommend making a trip to the atelier-boutique for an experiential shopping experience.
Atelier Ong Shunmugam | 01-76, 43 Jalan Merah Saga, S(278115) | 6252 2612
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday (12pm to 7pm)
By appointment only
(Related: Priscilla Shunmugam Of Ong Shunmugam Launches Diffusion Line, OM)
Time Taken to Make a Dress
Like its name, Time Taken to Make a Dress (TTMD) is a bespoke label that specialises in, you know it, dressmaking. In the local bridal scene, TTMD is the place where brides—together with the design duo, Jade Swee and Letitia Phay—make dream gowns come true. Most recently, local actress Constance Lau wore a TTMD oriental piece to the Hollywood premiere of Crazy Rich Asians.
What makes TTMD different is the artistry and intricate handwork that goes into making every single dress. It takes about three to four months to design and create a customised dress—from consultation to sourcing, mock-up and the final piece. Word has it that a ready-to-wear bridal collection is in the works.
337A Beach Road, S(199565) | 6391 9802
By appointment only
(Related: Video: Who Wore What At The Crazy Rich Asians Hollywood Premiere)
A menswear label dedicated to providing meticulously crafted quality basics. Choosing to use premium and rare fabrications carefully researched and sourced from Japan, every piece from Biro Company is a testament to the values of time-honoured craft and technique. Here, you’ll find wardrobe essentials that will stand the test of time.
Look out for the brand’s collection of raw denim jeans that uses fabrics that has been made in a handful of small factories in Japan that also produces for Comme Des Garçons and Levis Vintage Clothing Japan.
Shouten by Biro | 03-23, Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Road, S(238897) | 9748 7347
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday (12pm to 8pm)
(Related: 15 Stylish Gifts For Fashion-Loving Dads)
The Rocket Eyewear Company
Function and fit are what makes this eyewear brand a hit among the locals. Offering the classic P3 sunglasses designed for the U.S. army during World War II, the handmade shades’ selling point is its raised ‘Asian’ fit and standard ‘European’ fit frames.
If glasses often slip off your nose, try the Raised ‘Asian’ Fit for a life-changing experience. Rocket Eyewear may not have a standalone store just yet, but are strategically housed around the island. For the full list of stockists, click here.
(Related: Gentle Monster Goes Tiny With Its ‘13’ Collection For Kids)
Perk by Kate
There are many reasons why Perk by Kate has become Singaporean women’s go-to lingerie label. After all, there aren’t many innerwear brands that have such an intimate understanding of what women—especially Asian women — need when it comes to what lies beneath. Think well-designed, impeccably constructed to last in the prettiest of lace at the centre of attention.
Try the brand’s best-selling style, the convertible padded bralette. Perk by Kate also offers a range of personalised services at its studio such as bespoke lingerie.
Perk by Kate Lingerie Studio | 134A Telok Ayer Street, S(068600) | 9099 2634
Opening hours: Monday to Friday (11am to 7pm), Saturday (11am to 6pm)
(Related: 10 New Swimwear Brands To Wear This Summer)
Born out of a strong social purpose, Matter Prints is one of Singapore's key ethical fashion brand co-founded by Renyung Ho, daughter of Ho Kwon Ping and Claire Chiang. Working together with artisan communities across Asia, the brand's design and production approach support slow fashion where every piece is made to be timeless using fabrics that illustrate Asia's rich heritage.
If you like it, get one in every pattern. The brand is mindful about its production process and its artisans, so pieces are limited and may not be reproduced again. We recommend picking up one of their super comfortable travel pants. For a list of stockists, click here.
(Related: Woha Founding Directors Wong Mun Summ And Richard Hassell On Creating A Greener Singapore)
THE BEST SHOPPING MALLS IN SINGAPORE
For those looking to shop your international luxury brands, here are the best malls to hit up, especially if you have only a few hours to spare.
The Shoppes At Marina Bay Sands
It’s huge, so have a game plan and map out your route. The Shoppes has an endless list of luxury fashion, jewellery and watch brands housed under one roof. The newest kid on the block is Philipp Plein, which just opened their first store in Southeast Asia there. The Shoppes’ luxury childrenswear precinct is the best in Singapore: find everything from Gucci Kids, Baby Dior to Bonpoint and Stella McCartney Kids.
10 Bayfront Ave, S(018956) | 6688 8868
Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday (10:30am to 11pm), Friday and Saturday (10.30am to 11.30pm)
This one is for the sneaker freaks and shoe addicts. Head up to the second floor occupied by Pedder On Scotts, the best multi-label shoe boutique in Singapore with a great edit of brands. They’ve got dedicated kid’s corner too.
6 Scotts Road, S(228209) | 6636 3633
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday (10am to 10pm)
Ion Orchard is right smack in the middle of Orchard Road, so it’s location is perfect. Definitely head to the Gentle Monster store hidden away in the corner of the first floor; it’s one of the coolest boutiques in the world. While you’re there, check out Prada and Louis Vuitton's duplex boutiques, peruse art at Opera Gallery and swing by Tiffany & Co., which has pretty gorgeous VIP rooms.
2 Orchard Turn, S(238801) | 6238 8228
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday (10am to 10pm)