This National Day, we pay homage to 12 of Singapore’s newest and seasoned homegrown brands.
Over the years, articles, very much like this one, proclaiming their support for local goods or brands are aplenty online. If anything, these are all telling illustrations of Singaporeans' literacy in the realm of retail therapy and of course, our support for local brands.
While there are several distinctive few brands that have garnered media hype to become crowd favourites in the past, many more innovative brands have since entered the market. And this, we believe, calls for an update of sorts.
1. Skin Inc.
There are very few local brands who dare boast a reputation as large as Skin Inc. Based in 78 cities across Asia, Europe, and USA, one can say that the Singaporean brand — which began as a 200 sq ft outlet at The Central back in 2007 — has evolved to become a global label of sorts.
Here, Skin Inc proffers an eclectic selection of skin-products, which run the gamut from customisable serums to one-size-fit-all and one-size-fit-me skincare, across all different demographics around the world. Of which, the "My Daily Dose Of Uplift", an anti-aging serum that smooths and lifts the skin, and "My Daily Dose of ABC+", a detoxifying and oil balancing serum, are the bestsellers.
Marrying her love for technology and beauty into one, founder Sabrina Tan offer her clients potent skincare solutions that concocted off years of research and modern technology.
It is not surprising for anyone to be impressed with Dressabelle's extensive catalogue of offerings. Founded in 2008, the Singaporean brand's has long dedicated itself to championing and empowering the modern women with all-encompassing garments that suit multiple occasions.
From prints to patterns, muted tones to bright palettes, the brand features an assortment of trendy styles that accompany its plethora of flowy and frilly dresses in myriad cuts and occasional wide-legged trousers.
3. Camira Asrori
Siti Amirah Mohamed Asrori, otherwise better known as Camira Asrori, discovered her passion for fashion from as young as when she was 12. A woman of many calibres, Camira is today, a fashion stylist, a former Miss Universe Singapore nominee (2017) and also the boss of the eponymous womenswear brand, Camira Asrori.
Launched in 2017, the brand is built to empower women with garments that speak volumes of a woman’s loud and merry personalities. Prints and bright colours may form some of the brand’s signatures but most importantly, it is the flowy and feminine silhouettes that land the womenswear resort label a special place in the hearts of many vacationers and beachgoers.
4. Assemble SG
In the five years since its founding in 2014, founders of Assemble SG, Ken and Lyn, have transitioned from roving tailors to become entrepreneurs and more recently, newly-weds. All throughout, the duo remains steadfast and determined about their goal of delivering the best tailored offerings to men in Singapore.
A wide array of fabric and unique materials coalesce with years of workmanship experience to provide its male clienteles an exclusive range of customisations for their dapper suit. With an eye for detail, the brand stands out with its in-depth physical analysis of the male body, consisting a review of the body structure, face shape and skin tone, that would provide even more customisations.
Timeless classics meet a dash of modern finesse behind the eclectic offerings of homegrown menswear Deboneire. Ready-to-wear variations of suits and blazers are often banal and uninteresting — think a cheap polyester blazer in the classic navy blue or black renditions —, but Deboneire’s gentlemen garments exude sophistication from its fine selection of prints, opulent colours and exquisite texture.
Founded by designer and curator Matthew Gideon in 2011, the Singaporean-brand has also sport the likes of singer-songwriter Nathan Hartono, who wore Deboneire’s shoot in his music video, and Singapore model-actor Ayden Sng.
Bags & Wallets
6. Tocco Toscano
With origins from Florence, Tuscany, the story behind Tocco Toscano could be summarise to be one of teenage rebellion gone wrong, chanced encounters, and resilience.
Having led the exhausting life in and out of prison, Tocco Toscano’s founder, a Singaporean named James Lor, found his passion for crafting leather in a Christian drug rehabilitation centre. Seeking a career out of this new-found passion, he sought apprenticeship with his mentor Valecchi Stefano, who owned a bespoke leather goods label ‘Toscano’, in Florence.
James eventually returned to Singapore and founded Tocco Toscano in 1987. But it wasn’t until his first iconic collection of leathered bags, entitled ‘Durians’, which saw James’ reiteration of a Toscano bag in a local context that attracted a cult following.
Three decades later, the Singaporean-brand now sees a plethora of well-made leather products, which run that gamut from backpacks, briefcases, satchels and clutches, for both genders, each made with passion and complements the urbanistic lifestyle of the 21st century.
7. Bow For Bold
For co-founders Mandy Chan and CK, Bow for Bold initially began as a Kickstarter project back in April 2017.
The brand’s “Quiver” series break the mould of what constitute a traditional shoe bag by incorporating the essence of multi-functionality into its. Functionality meets sleek design in the duo’s rendition, the “Quiver” series with its two-compartment storage (that is each wide enough to store shoes, toiletries and more), adjustable strap and waterproof pouches (that allows you to play music as you shower) is quick becomingly a favourite amongst gym-goers, travellers, and photographers.
Having received more than 400% of its initial fundraising goals on Kickstarter, Bow for Bold has since released different variations of the versatile “Quiver” bags and other athleisure collections that are meant to make life a breeze.
8. Curious Creatures
Minimalist jewellery rarely goes out of style and with today’s increasing obsession with all things simple, it’s not exactly difficult to find jewellery brands that offer such aesthetic in their collection. Among which, Curious Creature stands out.
Geometric shapes, freshwater pearls, and semi-precious gemstones form much of the DNA of the brand’s gorgeous trinkets. Often made available in gold, rose-gold and silver, these endearing pieces are versatile, feminine, and enigmatic.
Supposed you are looking to create something a little bit different, bespoke services with the brand is also available as well. Of course, a recent collaboration with Singaporean radio host, Kimberly Wang, also adds a new collection of asymmetric jewellery into its ranks.
9. Arium Collection
Sophistication peaks at Arium Collection’s eclectic line-up of luxury jewellery. Drawing inspiration from her emotional connection with the surrounding as well as from her Korean heritage, founder Julie Kim creates and names jewellery after natural phenomenon and the physical world.
Artful curves from the Crescent collectionsubtly accentuates the feminine body while clustered pearls and crystals clash together in the Cinderella collection for a regal touch. While much of the concept of the brand comes from Julie herself, her sister, who resides in the little red dot, continues the prototype testing in Singapore.
10. Area 65
The one-stop marketplace for all-things eccentric and uniquely Singapore, area65 was first founded in August 2018 by a team, who has had stints with the innovative designer, Red Republic, and popular retailer of Singapore-designed goods, Naiise.
“Historic” items made by local artists or inspired from the Singaporean way of living function as souvenirs for tourists or memorabilia for locals. Items, such as the Gem Biscuit Cushion, the Merlion “Chou Chou” and Jiu Ceng Gao Doorstop, are bound to make an impression. While other quirky and adorable creations, such as coin pouches of our favourite snacks to keychains of everyday lingo, are all full of local flavour.
You may have heard of the a certain aesthetic bubble tea tumbler that has garnered much attention on social media recently. You’d be glad to know that Singaporean distributor MyDreamVibe may soon be stocking these products on its shelves soon.
But this Singaporean brand shouldn’t be just known for that.
Staying true to its motto of “All Things Personalise” since 2017, MyDreamVibe is a design and manufacture company proffering a new take on everyday products and decoration in Singapore. A wide variety of customisation options, including calligraphised lettering and different colour gradients, are made readily available from across the typical cups and glasses, table coasters, pouches and more. All these make it suitable as personalised gifts for all occasions.
12. We The People
Bridging the gap between Kickstarter and consumer since 2017, WeThePeople has long been casting away any shroud of uncertainty around crowdfunding projects by allowing customers get hands-on with prototyped goods.
Displaying only crowdfunded products that have garnered ample momentum (of at least 70% positive rating or 1000 backers), the local brand effectively removes the obscurity that disheartens creators and customers alike. To date, it has since went international with retail stores in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Korea and even in the United States.