updated 28 Jan 2011, 13:30
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More indie shops popping up
by Joy Fang

IT'S all the rage now: More concept stores are popping up in Singapore in the hope of attracting the "hipster" fashionista.

Eschewing big-name brands, this group goes for cult labels from Singapore and overseas that command street-chic edge - rather than cookie-cutter norm - to help them stand out in a crowd.

Mr Terry Ong, 34, senior editor of I-S Magazine, said he likes the intricate details that streetwear has. He wears indie labels, such as Maison Martin Margiela and Undercover, from shops like Front Row Singapore and Ambush.

Cult brands appeal because they are "rare and hard to find", he said.

As for finance manager Sylvia Yap, 42, she gets her kit from stores in Ann Siang Hill, Haji Lane and Purvis Street.

"I like to have a fresh look, without looking exactly like an advertisement or...half a dozen other people on the street," she said.

To cater to these individualistic shoppers, stores like The Society of Black Sheep, Black Market and A Curious Teepee have sprung up.

Ms Lim Li Hsien, of The Society of Black Sheep at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, said the brand targets those who "are well-travelled and know what works for their lifestyle".

"Singapore shoppers are becoming more eclectic and confident in their tastes, and they wish to go beyond the established looks and brands to express their taste and individuality," said Ms Lim, 46, who set up the store with sister Li Yuen, 45, and brother Eric, 38.

The shop stocks labels like Injury, Friedrich Gray and House of Holland, with prices of $150-$300 for T-shirts, $300-$600 for dresses and $400-$1,000 for jackets.

Young executives frequenting the store go for simple and casual looks that flatter and, yet, come with a little edge.

The store has seen a steady increase in customers since it opened on Dec 1 last year.

Said Ms Tracy Phillips, 33, of A Curious Teepee: "Niche brands are usually more adventurous, lesser known and produce items in smaller quantities, so they allow the individual to shine through, rather than the label."

Such labels hope to appeal to those who are looking for items that are of good quality and have "understated design quirks", she added.

Ms Jasmine Tuan, 32, managing director of Blackmarket, said she set up the store three years ago to address the lack of support for Singaporean designers.

Since then, the number of customers has risen 40 per cent.

The market for unique labels is still small, with many shops bringing in only styles that are tried and tested, she noted.

"So we want to fill the gap and be daring, to bring in the styles we want and boost the market," she said.

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Where clothes meet crepes


THIS 2,700 sq ft boutique-cumcafe is a joint partnership between former Zouk marketing manager Tracy Phillips, F&B firm The Lo & Behold Group - which runs OverEasy and The White Rabbit - and design agency Takenouchi Webb.

The lifestyle-fashion store opened on Dec 16 last year and stocks over 60 brands, including home-grown labels like Ownmuse and Drifters, and global brands like Stolen Girlfriends Club and Sandqvist.

It also sells quirky knickknacks and handicrafts, along with gourmet coffee and crepes.

Prices range from $34.90 to $129 for men's T-shirts; $138 to $268 for men's shoes; $59 to $278 for women's tops; and $169 to $488 for dresses.

Find local labels at this market


SET up by Ms Jasmine Tuan and her good friend, Mr Quincy Teofisto, 32, a Filipino, the multi- label indie store prides itself as the go-to place for local fashion labels.

It has two outlets: one in Jalan Pisang along Victoria Street, and a new outlet - Blackmarket no.2, at Orchard Central, which opened on Dec 17 last year.

The shops stock Singapore labels such as Sundays, Young & Restless, NormallyAnormaly, and Ms Tuan's label, FruFru & Tigerlily. It also carries labels from the region, like Pain Killer from Thailand and Nixon Marquez from the Philippines.

Prices range from $49 to $119 for a T-shirt, $390 to $410 for coats, $450 to $550 for bags and $140 to $290 for dresses.


What: Leather manila envelope for laptops ($268)

Get it at: A Curious Teepee (2 Orchard Link, *Scape building, #02-24, tel: 6820-1680) For more information, visit


What: Atalanta Weller's Scotty in Cooper leather boots ($1,198)

Get it at: The Society of Black Sheep (10 Bayfront Avenue, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, #B1-64, tel: 6688-7223)

For more information, visit www.society


What: White asymmetrical goddess dress from Young & Restless ($259.90)

Get it at: Blackmarket no.2 (181 Orchard Road, Orchard Central, #02-10, tel: 6296-8512)

For more information, visit


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