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Health, Beauty & Fashion

Fashioning up Singapore

Changes, and a number of firsts, for this year's Asia Fashion Exchange
The Straits Times - February 25, 2012
By: Gladys Chung
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Fashioning up Singapore A fashion show preview at the Blueprint Tradeshow -- ST PHOTOS: CAROLINE CHIA

Now in its third year, fashion and trade event The Asia Fashion Exchange (AFX) is doing more to turn Singapore into a fashion hub.

Happening from May 14 to 20, AFX is made up of four key events: Audi Star Creation, a regional fashion design competition; Blueprint, a trade and consumer show for emerging designers; the Asia Fashion Summit, an industry conference; and the Audi Fashion Festival, which showcases the collections of top international and local designers.

AFX is supported by Spring Singapore, International Enterprise Singapore and the Singapore Tourism Board.

There are many firsts for this year's event.

Audi Star Creation, now title-sponsored by the luxury automobile manufacturer, received a record number of 255 entries from 13 countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Iran. This is more than three times the number of submissions the contest received when it started in 2010.

At the AFX press conference held at Lasalle College of the Arts yesterday, Mr David Wang, vice-president of the Textile and Fashion Federation Singapore and a Star Creation judge, said he was especially impressed with this year's

entries. 'I could see that standards have improved in terms of technicality and many of the designs have strong concepts.'

And for the first time, the three Star Creation winners of 2011 will get a booth at the Blueprint trade show to showcase their capsule collections to international buyers and media.

The three emerging designers - 28-year-old Tiang Boon Tieon, Chen Zhi Gang and Tsai Ming Hung, both 29 - each received a one-year internship at local retailer FJ Benjamin as part of their prize.

They created their sample collections under the mentorship of Mrs Odile Benjamin, divisional CEO and co-creative director who leads the Creative and Design Division at FJ Benjamin.

Big-name buyers who have visited Blueprint previously included Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and ASOS from the UK, and Seoul-based department store Lotte.

Another first for AFX: Blueprint has scored the addition of The Brandery Asia, the Asian instalment of Barcelona- based The Brandery tradeshow. This is the first time The Brandery is having an Asian edition.

Happening from May 17 to 20 at Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre, The Brandery Asia is being positioned as an international launch pad for urban, street and casual fashion brands looking to gain entry into the Asian market, and for Asian labels to gain global exposure.

Participants include brands such as American bag brand Baggu, Paris-based sneaker label Feiyue and local labels Flesh Imp and Island Shop.

Blueprint is also slowly but surely garnerning support from governments overseas. The Seoul Metropolitan Government will be sending 10 designers to the show this year, up from eight previously. This year, the French Trade Commission Ubifrance will also be bringing in five brands to the Blueprint trade show for their local debut. With the digital live streaming of shows at New York Fashion week and the prevalence of bloggers and e-tailers, this year's AFX will also have a digital focus to keep up with the times.

Initiatives include the AFX Now! Fashion Blog, which will be launched on the event website and feature international fashion contributors, and a dedicated segment on e-commerce, social media and online communities at the Asia Fashion Summit conference.

The Audi Fashion Festival will be coming up with a digital platform called Future Fashion Now too, and details on what it entails will come at a later date.



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