Fashion First in Singapore

Arts & Culture

Soh's beloved Jack Russell terrier has been immortalised in the label's logo!

It is no question that Singapore is one of Asia’s favorite and most affordable shopping destinations. There's no introduction necessary when it comes to Singapore shopping. The main shopping strip, Orchard Road, is a world-renowned shopping paradise for both tourists and locals. You can easily spend hours zigzagging from high-end malls such as ION Orchard and Mandarin Gallery to departmental stores such as Isetan and Takashimaya.

Based on 2011’s Global Language Monitor annual survey, Singapore propelled to 8th position from 2010’s 15th position as one of the top ten fashion capitals of the world. You may think that Singapore’s fashion scene needs a major paradigm shift to join the lofty ranks of , Paris and New York City. Interestingly, however, that shift seems to be occurring right now.

Scroll down here for a guide to our favourite top five emerging Singapore designers. Their store addresses are listed so you can navigate your way around and enjoy an authentic ‘local’ shopping experience in Singapore:

1.     hansel

Launched in 2003 at Mercedes Australian Fashion Week, this whimsical label by Singaporean designer Jo Soh is now a household name in Singapore. Did you know that hansel is named after Soh’s beloved Jack Russell terrier? What makes it even more delightful is that her pup has been immortalised in the label’s logo!

Soh’s minimalist, girly and retro-inspired designs have earned her strong and regular patrons over the years. A reflection of Soh’s personal style, hansel has its own brand of humor with quirky names for the collections such as “Tiers of Joy” and “Flyaway Donkey” etc.

In February 2011, hansel launched a diffusion line called hello hansel which targets the young, carefree women in search of the everyday and casual wear. Cheeky, light and captivating, this fresh line retain hansel’s signature bold prints and vibrant colors.

Today, the hansel collection is available from its flagship store, multi-label boutiques in Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia and United States.

The hansel Shop

02-14 Mandarin Gallery
333A Orchard Road
Singapore 238867
Tel: +65 6337 0992

2.     Ashley Isham

Known for his signature draping and sharp tailoring, London-trained Ashley Isham is one of Singapore’s most prominent fashion designers. Highly acclaimed in the fashion world after the successful debut of his collection in November 2000, Isham’s designs have become a permanent fixture of London Fashion Week. Besides London, he has also showcased at Singapore Fashion Festival (2004, 2006 & 2008), Audi Fashion Festival (2009) and Fashion Rio (2009).  

Fans of Ashley Isham love his strong yet feminine luxurious gowns with a touch of elegance. It is no wonder that the women he dresses feel like goddesses. To date, Isham has dressed strong, desirable female celebrities such as Florence Welch  (BRIT Awards 2010), Christina Aguilera (Grammys 2007), Kylie Minogue, Lady Gaga, Pixie Lott and Cheryl Cole.

Ashley Isham boutiques are located all over the world in London, Beijing, Moscow, Singapore and several cities in the Middle East.

Ashley Isham (Flagship boutique)
The Fullerton Hotel
1 Fullerton Square, 01-04
Singapore 049 178
Tel: + 65 6536 4036

Ashley Isham
333A Orchard Road
02-15 Mandarin Gallery
Singapore 238897
Tel: +65 6737 6732

3.     Depression

It took 15 years in the ‘depressing’ corporate world for design duo Kenny Lim and Andrew Loh to realise their creative dream with the birth of Depression in 2006. Depression is their “creative outlet… to express their inner demons”, and these demons are making waves internationally.

Depression’s signature style is mostly monochromatic, androgynous and borderline quirky. It takes an attitude and fashion-forward mind to wear Depression – minus the moody face. Fans of Depression label include Taboo from The Black Eyed Peas, pop star Derrick Hoh, actor Andie Chen and actress Michelle Chong. Taboo fell in love with the label during his trip to Singapore in December 2011 and hopes to collaborate with the local creative duo.

Depression stores are located at Cineleisure Orchard and Millenia Walk Parco in Singapore. The label is also distributed in Beijing and Taipei.

Depression Stores
Cineleisure Orchard
8 Grange Road 03-05A
Singapore 239695

4.     Ong Shunmugam

This new kid on the block is set to be one of Singapore’s hottest fashion labels since their bestselling Guardianship cheongsam collection in September 2011. Ong Shunmugam is a local contemporary womenswear label founded by Malaysian Priscilla Tsu-Jyen Shunmugam.

This label modernises traditional Asian silhouettes and batik prints making her collection relevant for the everyday woman. Shunmugam stayed true to her Asian roots as she proudly claimed that every Ong Shunmugam piece is made in Asia. Also, Shunmugam designs for the intellectual woman who values craftsmanship and good fit over aesthetics. In short, it’s all about quality. Most of the pieces are one-of-a-kinds or produced in limited quantities.  

Her designs are available at Atelier Ong Shunmugam located at Raffles Quay.

Main image by Francesco Rachello

Atelier Ong Shunmugam
16 Raffles Quay B1-36
Hong Leong Building
Singapore 048581
Tel: +65 6223 4804

5.     ELOHIM by Sabrina Goh

Four years after graduating from the LASALLE College of the Arts, Malaysian Sabrina Goh debut her label ELOHIM at Audi Fashion Festival 2009 as part of the Blackmarket fashion show and the rest, as they say, is history.

Inspired by architectural form and sensuous silhouette, Sabrina Goh is one of Singapore’s emerging fashion designers who enjoy experimenting with structure, cuts and colours. Her ready-to-wear collection is made for the bold, daring man and woman.

ELOHIM by Sabrina Goh is available from its flagship store located at Orchard Central and Skin Couture at Great World City. The label is also distributed internationally in New York, London, South Korea, Greece, New Zealand,  and online at

181 Orchard Road,
#02-11/12 Orchard Central,
Singapore 238896
Tel: +65 6634 2201

Skin Couture 
1, Kim Seng Promenade, 
Great World City #02-20A/E, 
Singapore 237994. 
Tel: +65 6235 0058