Eastern Exposure: Inside Asia’s Top Fashion Trade Show
In my post last week, I wrote about Prabal Gurung’s brilliant return to his hometown, Singapore, when the American star showed his latest collection at a major fashion event here, Asia Fashion Exchange. AFE consists of four main parts: the trade show Blueprint, the Audi Fashion Festival, the Asia Fashion Summit, and the Audi Star Creation (a regional fashion-design competition to spot budding talent). My attention was especially caught by young designers from the region who presented their new collections at Blueprint, which showcased talents from more than twenty-seven countries and exposed them to more than 350 buyers. During my trip to Blueprint, I discovered a great number of exciting new names who are working hard to establish themselves in the fast-growing market of Asia, while also making attempts to explore European and American markets. Thanks to the support from the Textile & Fashion Federation, local designers receive financial backing when they travel to the trade shows outside Asia, such as Coterie in America or Tranoï in France. The TaFF’s group director, Callia Chua, makes sure all the most talented designers from Singapore are shown on the international fashion stage.
Yann Le Goec, director and buyer of Tokyo’s famous WUT Berlin, told me it was his third year at Blueprint, and this time he was about to place some orders on the brands he was watching during his previous visits. (His store is already carrying a very popular brand in Singapore called Depression.) Most of the designers I spoke to already have stockists to boast about. For example, Singapore-based accessory designer Ling Wu, who has been in business just four years, has a strong distribution in Korea, as well as stockists in Dubai, Japan, and, of course, her native Singapore. Between the shows, I went to check the local department store Robinsons, and along with accessories by established European brands such as No. 21, MSGM, and Pollini, it carried Ling Wu’s bags made of python skin.Phuong My.
There are several interesting jewelry designers in Singapore. Choo Yilin creates fine jewelry, working a lot with wood and jade, and her latest collection is inspired by the Singapore Peranakan culture. Carolyn Kan, founder and designer of Carrie K, tells me that after one year of hard work, she won the Elle Awards’ Jewelry Designer of the Year, in 2010, which made her name recognizable. Her latest collection is inspired by such objects as paper clips, razors, nails, and needles, and is very sophisticated and clean. Jewelry designer Joanne L showed her debut collection, rooted in eternal themes such as nature, geometry, and architecture, and it featured some nice bold cocktail rings. The designer describes her philosophy as “from boardroom to ballroom and beyond.”
Some of the designers from Blueprint showed their collections on the runway, which gave them more visibility among international buyers and press. My favorite shows were from Japanese brand Roggykei, Taiwanese labels Fabitoria and Phuong My, Korean brand ZêQuun and Singapore-based Pauline Ning, Depression, and Rêvasseur. The last is the brainchild of Gilda Su, who went to Bunka College and Parsons. She previously showed at Audi Fashion Festival, and even collaborated with Uniqlo, developing T-shirt designs for its FW13/SS14 season. Boasting lots of energy, Gilda and her friends opened a store called SUPERSPACE, which sells not only her designs but also brands such as KTZ, Piers Atkinson, and LaLaLove, a Thai brand that was also showcased at Blueprint.
Overall, the Blueprint trade show is a great melting pot of all the talented designers from Asia and those Europeans who want to enter the Asian market. It’s an event not to be missed, at a time when the importance of the Asian market is evident, and Blueprint is the key trade pillar of Asia Fashion Exchange.
For more information, visit blueprint.sg.
Photos: Courtesy of Blueprint