A Short History of Singapore
The Southeast Asian Republic of Singapore, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, is a city-state made up of 63 islands. A historical trading port it is bordered by the Straits of Johor and Malaysia to its north and the Singapore Strait and Indonesia’s Riau Islands to its south. Situated 137 kilometres (85 mi) north of the equator, with temperatures ranging between 23 to 32°C (73 to 90°F) and high humidity levels averaging 76%, Singapore’s climate is similar to that of a tropical rainforest.
From the 16th century and until 1824, Singapore was part of the Sultanate of Johor. From 1819 it hosted a trading post of the East India Company before becoming British. Singapore regained its independency as part Malaysia in 1963 and separated to its current status 2 years later. Singapore’s resident population is a little more than 5 million, the majority from Chinese ethnic background while significant minorities originate from Malaysia and India. Singapore has four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. It is an international platform and welcomes 11 million visitors every year.
One of the Four Asian Tigers, Singapore is today the fourth financial centre in the world and the fifth busiest ports. Singapore income per capita is the third highest worldwide.
In May 2012, famed French fashion designer Roland Mouret visited Singapore; allegedly he said “It shocked me a bit… I see quite a lot of fashion disasters in this hotel, especially on men — the wrong shorts with the flip-flops.”
Singaporean climate may not do any favours to its street style but Singapore is making its mark on the fashion scene.
The 2011 Global Language Monitor Report which analyses print, Internet and social media ranked Singapore number 8 for its fashion activity.
Singapore apparel manufacturers, like those in the West, find it difficult to compete today purely on a cost basis and many local designers who have built businesses designing, producing and selling local fashion have to face global competition. In the last 33 years, spurred by public and private initiatives, Singapore’s textile industry has evolved from its manufacturing base to become a global player; designing, marketing and sourcing fashion. Singapore’s fashion scene is dynamic and vibrant.
Support for Singapore Fashion Designers
Singapore ASIA FASHION EXCHANGE (AFX) offers four events: the trade show Blueprint, the business conference Asia Fashion Summit, seasonal shows Audi Fashion Festival Singapore and regional fashion design competition Star Creation
AFX is a private/public sector initiative supported by: IE (International Enterprise) Singapore; STB (Singapore Tourism Board); TaFf (the Textile & Fashion Federation of Singapore, a non-profit textile and garment industry organisation intended to propel local fashion businesses overseas); and Spring Singapore (a Ministry of Trade and Industry agency responsible for helping Singapore enterprises grow and building trust in Singapore products and services).
Started in 2010, the PARCO next NEXT fashion incubator is an initiative of PARCO Singapore and TaFf, with the support of SPRING. Promising fashion designers are put under an18-month training and mentorship program intended to help them become a successful fashion entrepreneurs. Throughout the course of the program designers are given a free storefront in the PARCO department store at Millenia Walk. Throughout the course of the program designers are given a free storefront in the PARCO department store at Millenia Walk.
Scape is a non-profit organization that supports talented youth; its motto is DREAM IT AND LIVE IT at *SCAPE! It offers leadership development programs and support within various communities of youth interest, including fashion.
In November 2012, Fide Fashion Week renewed its previous invitation to the Parisian Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture to show Couture Designers in Singapore. French Couture has never been shown outside Paris before.
Height French designers concluded a schedule of shows dedicated to men and women wear by Asian and Western labels. On that occasion, a diner in support of the charities of Prince Albert of Monaco was organized; local high society dressed-up, demonstrating that there is much more to Singaporean fashion than shorts and flip-flops. Japanese designer Kenzo Takada, a guest at the diner said: “I have never seen women this dressed up in all my years in Paris!”
Fashion Schools in Singapore
Five institutions deliver Fashion degrees in Singapore. Three of them offer BAs: Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts; Raffles Design Institute and LASALLE College of the Arts. Temasek Polytechnic delivers a Diploma in Fashion while the MDIS School of Fashion and Design delivers a degree awarded by Nottingham University, UK.
Our coverage of LASALLE College of the Arts below, demonstrate that Singaporean sense of Fashion extends well beyond the rarefied circles of high society: Singaporeans are not just good at wearing fashion, they also know design it.