BLUEPRINT 2013 | 4 Accessory Labels to Hunt Down
This year, the selection of exhibitors at BLUEPRINT (Singapore’s tradeshow & emporium) seems to be of a completely different breed, in a good way of course. One walk around and I could see more labels with strong design concepts and unquestionable craftsmanship. Now, the accessory labels were truly stunning pieces of art and that was probably why the accessories zone was consistently buzzing with excited gleams from buyers and media.
It was warranted attention for sure.
In my little time to walk about, I scouted 4 spine-tingling accessory labels and it’s no surprise that 2 of them are based in Thailand. Thailand designers have a peculiar eye for jewelry, you’ll see why in a bit.
Thai label, Nitz Designs creates intricate pieces, which are subtle narratives of our social lives. From decadent luxuries to street culture, each collection is highly conceptual but grounded in a reality, or something akin, we can attach ourselves to.
Take a look at these two ram-headed pieces. They immediately hearken us to biblical metaphors and mythological experiences, the image and animal itself already indemnified as such.
These are earrings, yes earrings. To wear them, you’d have to split open the ram’s head (I’m sure there’s a story about this somewhere) to two & wear them in a way such that your ear is wedged in between each half of the ram’s head. Ingenious? Definitely.
The price points are on the higher range (in the hundreds) but for such hand crafted finesse, you know you’re getting your money’s worth.
The next Thai label, Mosstories, has a unique flair of creating statement pieces without it looking gaudy or over the top. Statement pieces are usually tricky to master - they need to be of the right proportion and stand out in a sea of people, without being clunky.
Inspired by the African tribal groups and their manner of attire, the latest collection by Mosstories is essentially a toned down interpretation, mostly making sense of the geometric shapes involved. Nonetheless, expect lots of brights and neons at their booth - bound to lure you in.
Earrings wil be going for about SGD$40-50 and necklaces will be SGD$100+.
Now for some home pride. Singapore based accessory label, Setu is thoughtfully designed and has some elaborately handmade pieces. Each step in the process has been carefully calculated from treating the metal parts with a finishing to prolong its wear to digitalizing designs on sequins for a quaint touch.
A label that puts such immense thought into details has an immediate tick in my book and makes shopping for designer pieces that much different from a fast fashion brand. The line is clear.
If I remember correctly, the above necklaces will be in the hundreds range.
Just as every exhibitor was busy packing up for the day, I literally had to scurry down to Zone A and capture this beautiful Balinese label, Tulola. If you’re looking to only score some elegant cocktail rings, head down to their booth and you’ll be set.
More updates from BLUEPRINT will be up tomorrow night or just stay glued to Instagram!
The Pit Building, Level 3
1 Republic Boulevard
Shuttle buses are available from ION Orchard
Once upon a Taara | Megha Jain of Taara Jewelry
A childhood obsession with jewelry came into fruition only when Megha Jain got bored of being an Investment Banker. Can anyone say smart move? If you don’t belong in the corporate world, don’t fight it. Anyway, I’m indubitably a huge fan of Indian jewelry (which probably has somewhat to do with me being Indian & all) especially for its elaborate intricacies and opulence. So, when I saw Megha’s booth at the Blueprint tradeshow this year, I was immediately drawn to it like bees would be to honey.
As expected, the pieces designed by Megha were reminiscent of the olden Mughal empire and the decadence that came with it. The stones are exclusively sourced from Jaipur, India, which is also one of the cities in India that was ruled by various kings whose forts & palaces are standing till today.
And to that very skyline, Megha Jain proudly adds her own fort, Taara Jewelry.
Why design jewelry & why specifically Indian jewelry?
Jewelry has always been a huge part of my life since I was a child. Unlike most children, I planned my outfits around a necklace or a pair of earrings. I was never into graphic or loud clothing so I preferred expressing myself through jewelry. As a child, I loved wearing Indian jewelry because it was showing other people a little part of who I was. I always wore indian pieces with western outfits whether they matched or not :) As I grew older, my friends would always tell me how Indian jewelry is so beautiful but its not functional or wearable with Western clothing. I disagreed with this since piling on kundan necklaces and bangles was a passion of mine. When I began Taara, I wanted to modernize Indian jewelry and make it more wearable, approachable and functional. I wanted my pieces to become part of an everyday wardrobe because they could go with Western outfits.
How did the name ‘Taara’ come about?
The name Taara derived from a trip I took to Jaiselmar, India. I went with two friends from New York and we camped in the desert. After being in Delhi where the noise and traffic pollutes your mind, I was happy to find calmness and peace in this stunning city. The night sky was so clear that you could actually see the stars. I sketched my first collection in Jaiselmar, using the stars as my light and my imagery in my sketches. The word “Sitara” is sanskrit for stars. I shortened it to Taara.
Which is your favourite piece of jewelry and why?
My favorite piece is a necklace (above) from my Fall/Winter 2012 collection called “Mohabbat.” This collection was sketched while I was in Oman on my honeymoon so it is very near and dear to my heart. A long gold link chain with dreidel shaped tassels is my favorite piece because it combines modernity and edge with structure and tradition. The links are very hard and edgy and the dreidel shaped tassels represent the architecture I saw in Oman. Oman was truly what I had imagined the Middle East to be- preserved in their culture through architecture, food and the people. My husband jokes that even on our honeymoon, I was working!
Where do you draw your inspirations from?
I draw inspirations from my travels. Italy and Oman have been two places that have inspired my greatly and have helped build two collections. When I travel, I keep photos of India with me. I combine where I am at with memories and photos of Rajasthan. Rajasthan is where I sketched my first collection so it will always provide inspiration for me throughout. I am always wanting to push the boundaries with using exotic colors with the traditional gold. When people think of Indian jewelry, they think of red and green. I want to incorporate various colors and shades that I have seen on my trips around the world.
In your opinion, why is jewelry important to women?
Jewelry allows women to express themselves in a different way than clothing. While clothes can be worn to give sex appeal and be provocative, I actually think jewelry can be used in the same way. A necklace that shows off a woman’s neck or a beautiful pair of chandelier earrings that frame a face nicely can be quite stunning and alluring.
Adele wearing a Taara Rose Quartz Bangle in Vogue March 2012
You’ve already come so far but what else have you planned for Taara?
My future plans for the next year are to expand the brand in Asia. Now that I have moved from New York to Hong Kong, I would like to expand not only in Hong Kong, but the other countries as well. I hope to participate in more tradeshows in Europe and in Asia as well. As for designs, I have always stuck to the traditional gold and silver base. This year, I would like to experiment a bit with black antique polishes as a base. This more dramatic look with bright, ethnic colors that represent India will be a great look for the holidays!
Follow the label on Facebook for updates!
A Chat with Evon Tan of Armoire
Take one look at Evon and you would never imagine she was once a Chemical Engineer. Stereotypes aside, I mean she exudes such an immense amount of flair and passion to her work as a fashion designer that you could never second guess her occupation.
Armoire’s motto, aptly titled, ‘To Engineer the Perfect Dress’ reflects Evon’s nature as an engineer and desire for quality fashion. The designs speak for themselves, tailored exquisitely enough that the fit is unquestionable.
The idea has always been to provide well tailored dresses for the modern woman and I’ve heard that customization services are also available! Imagine Armoire as a specially curated/ tailored armoire (literally) of your own and you’ll get the idea.
How would you describe the Armoire lady?
Confident, sophisticated real lady who enjoys modern simplicity and fine tailoring
Has fashion always been in your blood?
Yes. My mum is a fashionista!
Tell me what do you think about the fashion scene in Singapore?
It is growing! I am so happy that Kien Lee founder of Senatus has been creating amazing fashion weeks in Singapore! Bringing Singapore to a whole new level in terms of fashion, compared to other countries in Asia. Can’t wait to see what will be planned for this year!
If you could have any one lady to represent Armoire, who would it be and why?
Zooey Deschanel! She is sophisticated and so easy to love. You can say that she is the perfect Armoire lady.
We all know designers have obstacles but what has been the easiest thing about fashion designing?
Nothing about fashion designing is easy.
The one thing that I enjoy about it all is the freedom to design anything that I like.
What can we expect from your upcoming collection?
Details! My upcoming collection - Engineered Series is exploding with colours and cuts! While my Spring Summer 2012 collection - Love and constancy brings about the social mores of 1960s! Watch out for them! Both collections bring about 40s, 50s and 60s era to the modern days.
The campaign shoot was carried out in Morocco I believe. How was that like?
It is a project that I am working with Australia photographer, Jackie Tran of Jackie Tran Photography (http://www.jackietran.com.au). He is traveling several countries such as Hong Kong, London, Paris, Rome, Morocco, Vietnam and Cambodia to work on a still cinematic and campaign shoots for Armoire. Jackie is an amazing person with dynamic creative ideas. This campaign and project is all handled by him! Currently the project is still ongoing, so the sneak preview you have seen online are the only ones available for viewing.
Care to share some future plans for the label?
Armoire will be joining Tangs in their March event, welcoming Spring Summer 2012 and also participate in Blueprint this year!
‘To Engineer the Perfect Dress’ – That is the Armoire motto. Why the hunger for perfection?
In engineering, we were taught to troubleshoot a situation till perfection.
It comes in handy!
So what does ‘having style’ mean to you?
Having style means confidence. It is the way you work it.
Lastly, which is your favourite piece from your collections thus far?
Every piece is my favourite! Versatility wise, it would be my engineered dress.
Asked & Answered: Jose Duran
Recently in Singapore for the Blueprint Trade show, Jose Duran is definitely a name to see in the years to come. His creations explore boundaries in various forms, whether it’s the seemingly lack of sync in regards to the use of materials or the mirage that is gender barriers, we see a style that is well-heeled in history and strutting towards a brave new world of fashion where borders are a fine place to explore as much as the area beyond both lines.
What made you decide to start your own label?
A couple of years ago I worked for different designers but I was not creating or getting everything out of me in the creative side, after a couple of years I decided to open my line and create the JOSE DURAN world.
I’ve read somewhere that you’re inspired by the happiness and suffering of women. Why is that so?
I find beauty in unconventional places, what most people find ugly I find it interesting and beautiful.
Tell us a unique fact about yourself.
I am a free spirit, I cant be one place for too long, I love to travel and meet all kind of people, we are all different, every one inspires me in a different ways.
I’m in love with the structure and form in your designs and I can see that it resonates throughout the collections. Would you be willing to share on your label’s design process?
I love lines, if you see my creations closely all you see is lines that from dresses and interesting pieces, I always think of a subject, it takes me weeks before I start creating. I visit the library a couple of times before, I go online and do a very intense research of what inspires me for that season. After I find and know what I am looking for then I start designing and create shapes and forms.
What have you enjoyed the most from having your own label?
I enjoyed choosing the fabric, the colors and shapes, no one is telling me what I should or should not design, I think I won’t be able to work under anyone. I have the freedom to do whats best for me.
Many designers feel that fashion should be exclusive to a select few. What do you think? Should fashion be a luxury or for the masses?
I think fashion should be for everyone and everyone should fashion.
You were in Singapore for Blueprint, what thoughts do you have on the fashion industry here?
I love Singapore you guys are very fashionable, I saw many interesting and creative people, you guys believe on young talent and give opportunity for young designers.
A designer’s life is hardly a downhill path, what are some of the challenges you’ve faced?
Most of my challenges has been funding, is very expensive to create a collection but this would never stop my creative process and my confidence to keep going.
What are you currently working on?
I am now working on my spring 2012 collection. I am very exited about this one there will be lots of drapes and not so much colors.
Fashion is a tough industry to break into, any advice for young designers?
Young designers should know what they want before they try to open their line. they should know where money will come from for 5 years before they see any money. fashion is one of the hardest industries and they have to be ready for but it feels so good to see someone wearing your clothes or to see your name on a magazine or online.
Red & Blue | Blueprint 2011
(Positivity + Possibility) x TILLY = POSSITILLYTY!
The title of this post reflects the concept of TILLY’s current collection, Cruise 2012. I thought that was pretty cute and the mathematical equation also points to our structure and specific formulas are involved in pattern making and cutting. Besides that, TILLY, a Singaporean label (launched in 2009), set out to create timeless pieces that are distinct in style and yet comfortable for the Singaporean lady (especially those suffering in this ridiculous heat).
Designed by Lasalle graduate, Tilly Soelistyo, who very kindly answers a few questions.
Tell us a little about your label, to whom does it reach out to?
T: My label is conceptualised by drawing inspiration from today’s urban women who desire stylish and comfortable apparel that support a myriad of roles they play. The objectives are to enable women to feel positive through the unique cuts and colour combinations that is figure flattering and to intrigue them with the possibilities of how each piece could be worn. I design for a woman who is comfortable in her own skin, I don’t have one specific type of person in mind because I don’t want to narrow the market. At this point my customers ranged from students, lawyers, teachers, doctors, directors to stay at home mums.
What is your design vision/philosophy? Is there a fixed rule or is it dynamic?
T: (Positivity + Possibility) x TILLY = POSSITILLYTY. This is the central premise of my design philosophy which anchor my signature style of modern versatility.
You could have studied fashion in the US or in Europe, so why Singapore?
T: I have been living away from my parents since I was 16, as I went on an exchange student program in Europe and a year later studied Visual Communications in Art Institute of Seattle. After I graduated, I expressed my desire to stay in the states and pursue my passion in fashion design but my late father was totally against it as he wanted me to come home. So we came to a compromise that if I choose Singapore, he will support me.
What has been the most difficult situation you’ve overcome while creating a niche for yourself?
T: To achieve the right balance of being aesthetically and visually appealing yet commercially viable.
Everyone thinks life is hard for a Fashion Designer in Singapore, what do you think?
T: I think is not just Singapore, is as hard everywhere else. My personal opinion is each and every career choice has its own set of challenges, it depends on how you handle the pressure and overcome the odds. But I do wish we have more resources here in Singapore, like fabric printers and people who can do hand craft work and a well stocked haberdasher. Nowadays I have to fly overseas to get the right buttons and trims.
Lastly, any advice for aspiring young designers?
T: Is not a glamorous job, it is a lot of hard work. But if is your passion and if you have the drive and talent, then take the leap of faith and don’t look back.
From the short Q&A, you can see that in this modern age, what most start up designers are struggling with, is to make their designs both visually captivating and yet commercial. Once designers are able to strike that balance, they’re in it for the long run. Though, I would like to see designers who do not focus too much on commercial viability till it takes control of their designs, that way their uniqueness gets lost in the fame.
Anyway, catch TILLY by Tilly Soelistyo at Blueprint Emporium from 21 - 22 May 2011 at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Hall B. Just for Blueprint, TILLY’s SS 2011 collection will be discounted up to 50% and a few styles of POSSI-TILLY-TY’s cruise 2012 at 10% off
If you can’t make it (that’s impossible), then take a look at their online store! Easy peasy.
Who/What I wore: Noël Caleb
Seeing as Men’s Fashion Week (MFW) 2011 was all about celebrating Asian labels and designers, I decided to do just that and wore designs by a local label, Noël Caleb, for the last three days of MFW. Despite being at its infancy, the label has managed to reach out to numerous fans in Singapore and has even garnered recognition from buyers overseas.
And the looks I picked were…(and even if you’re a Bryanboy fan, you must click through!)
BLUEPRINT 2011: Fact Sheet
Singapore’s very own international fashion trade show is back for another year with a 4 day trade exhibition from 19 to 22 May 2011 at the Marina Bay Sands Singapore. A special segment, the BLUEPRINT Emporium will also be open to the fashionable public from 21 to 22 May.
The Emporium will not only showcase sample and sale items,you would also get to purchase some limited edition and exclusive hand made apparel and accessories. The Emporium would be a one stop shopping destination for people of all ages.
Time for another quick-to-digest fact sheet.
#1 BLUEPRINT Tradeshow includes 4 main sections, BLUEPRINT Showcase, BLUEPRINT Presents, BLUEPRINT Next Gen and BLUEPRINT Accessorize.
#2 This year, BLUEPRINT will be hosting more than 100 brands and over 200 buyers.
#3 Designers hail from all over the globe, including New York, UK, Singapore, Bangkok and many more!
#5 Lastly, the trade show will be held at the Expo and Convention center Hall F at Marina Bay Sands Singapore.