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Health, Beauty & Fashion

Boost for local fashion

Record number of 11 brands are taking part in Paris Fashion Week
The Straits Times - October 4, 2011
By: Rohaizatul Azhar
| More
Boost for local fashion An outfit by Paris-based Singapore designer Harry Halim presented last week at Paris Fashion Week. -- PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

Singapore's presence at the ongoing Paris Fashion Week - regarded as the most prestigious fashion week on the international fashion calendar - has more than tripled this year.

A record number of 11 Singapore brands are taking part, up from just three last year.

Home-grown labels Raoul and alldressedup, and Paris-based Singapore designer Harry Halim had previously taken part, holding private showroom viewings for buyers and media.

This year, they are joined by Alfie Wong of womenswear label Awol, Eugene Lin of his own eponymous label, Tara Thadani of accessories label Tsura, jewellery designers Marilyn Tan of her own eponymous jewellery line and Yvonne Chia of WoonHung, bags and accessories designer Ling Wu, Nicholas Wong and Daniel Loh of womenswear label Saturday as well as travel-gear brand Earthpacs.

These eight home-grown labels are taking part in trade shows at various venues around the city.

Halim has also moved from the showroom onto the catwalk, presenting his spring/summer 2012 collection alongside big names such as Chanel, Dior and Hermes at the ready-to-wear shows.

This year's increase in local labels participating in trade shows is thanks to a collaboration between International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and Textile and Fashion Federation.

Says Ms Callia Chua, director of the federation: 'Because we understand the financial investment involved in exploring the overseas market, IE Singapore has provided the much needed financial support to the designers especially in terms of securing access for our designers into the Tranoi trade show through their contacts there.

'These labels also received coaching to help them better understand the European market and build up their profiles prior to their participation.'

There are at least four major trade shows happening during Paris Fashion Week. Smaller and independent labels from around the world take part, and often get the attention of international buyers and junior magazine editors on the lookout for the next big thing.

Four of the labels taking part this year - Ling Wu, Marilyn Tan Jewellery, WoonHung and Earthpacs - are being supported by the DesignSingapore Council's Overseas Promotion Partnership Programme, which aims to provide financial support to emerging Singapore-based designers and design companies to participate in international design platforms.

Says Ms Lee Puay Min, divisional director of Lifestyle Business Group at IE Singapore: 'It is heartening to see many Singapore designers showing at Paris Fashion Week and some of the most prestigious trade shows in the world such as Tranoi. It definitely raises the overall profiles of the brands and increases their export reach to international buyers.'

For accessories designer Thadani, being part of The Box 2011 trade show during the fashion week helps provide exposure for her brand and 'hopefully gets some international buyers to stock the label'. So far, she has received good feedback from many European buyers.

At the Tranoi trade show, Tan has received requests from Vogue Italia to send her samples and designs to be considered for a feature in the Italian fashion glossy.

Halim, who presented his collection last Tuesday, says that 'showing at Paris Fashion Week means your work is being recognised'.

The fashion week, which kicked off last Tuesday, rounds up the month-long ready-to-wear marathon which began in New York and is attended by top fashion editors and international buyers.

This is the Indonesian-born designer's second show at Paris Fashion Week. He made his runway debut in February this year when his fall/winter 2011 show was added to the official Paris Fashion Week line-up.

The 26-year-old graduate from Lasalle College of the Arts, who moved from Singapore to Paris three years ago, started showing his collections at private showcases to buyers and press during Paris Fashion Week in 2008.

While his label is not stocked in Singapore, his edgy womenswear designs are stocked in Paris, the Middle East as well as multi-label luxury boutique LuisaViaRoma in Italy.

He adds: 'The French fashion press are some of the hardest critics to impress because they've seen the best. So, being included in the calendar is a definite boost to your career in fashion.'

He is not the first Singapore designer to have a ready-to-wear show at Paris Fashion Week. Paris-based Andrew Gn held his first runway show there in 1996 for his label, Andrew Gn Collections, which he launched after spending four years as assistant designer at French high-fashion label Emmanuel Ungaro.

The debut was well received by the press and he has since become a mainstay of the Paris fashion calendar. His label is stocked in high-end department stores in New York and London.



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