Here comes the pride
When Singapore's Audi Fashion Festival launched three years ago, it trumpeted the collections of a chorus of international designers such as Roberto Cavalli and Dean and Dan Caten of DSquared2.
It is now the Asia Fashion Exchange (AFX), composed of four events: the Audi Fashion Festival, the Star Creation design competition, the Asia Fashion Summit and the Blueprint trade fair.
And while there were still plenty of big names on the catwalks - Zac Posen, Roland Mouret and Nicola Formichetti for Mugler - the main focus of last week's festival event was on such established Singapore labels as Raoul and Alldressedup, as well as a host of up-and-coming home-growns such as Possi-tilly-ty and Trilogie.
Raoul's autumn-winter 2012/13 collection featured minimalist tunics, coats with a mod vibe and secretary looks, whereas Alldressedup served up chic separates, including slouchy jackets, breezy skirts and feminine tops. Mugler's collection was avant-garde all the way with a medley of black and winter white outfits in architectural shapes, some of which were deconstructed.
This year, the organisers also launched Future Fashion Now (FFN), which streamed the show live via the FFN website and made the collections seen on the runway immediately available for purchase.
'This is the first time ever that a fashion week has made this possible,' says festival director Tjin Lee, adding that similar efforts have been seen by individual labels such as Burberry, but not by the collective organising body.
The Textile and Fashion Federation of Singapore invited young talent from across the region to take part in the Star Creation design contest. Of the 255 entries from 13 countries, it was Chinese designer Liang Wang who took the top prize for his collection titled Tissue of Being, which featured diaphanous pieces in a fabric he developed himself. Second prize went to Soravit Kaewkamon of Thailand and third to Ko Youngji of South Korea. The winners won cash prizes, mentorships and a chance to show their collections next year.
The Blueprint trade fair lured more than 100 international exhibitors of everything from ready-to-wear to lingerie with buyers from a raft of global retailers joining the search for new names. Hong Kong was represented by bag designer Michelle Lai of Mischa and in womenswear by Susanna Ngao of S. Nine.
'I heard good things from designers who participated last year. It was comparable to smaller shows I've done in Paris,' says Lai. 'Let's see how the follow-ups go.'