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Mon, Jan 12, 2009
The Business Times
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Affordable chic
by Cheah Ui-Hoon

The economic clouds may be pushing consumers away from their favourite couture brands but that doesn't mean a dismal outlook on the shopping front. Taking up the slack are a slew of price-conscious yet quality-minded retail brands that are opening new stores in Singapore this year.

adidas SLVR

THE SLVR line is a brand new arm for adidas that will be launched next month at New York Fashion Week. This will be followed by a series of shops opening around the globe in the course of the year, one of which will be in Singapore.

Positioned in between the adidas Originals and Y3 lines, SLVR - brought in by adidas Singapore - comprises apparel, accessories and footwear in block colours that incorporate both eco-conscious materials (such as soybean fabric) and methods (which cut down the number of manufacturing steps needed). Examples cited by fashion magazine WWD include the 'zero waste T' made of a single piece of cloth sewn and cut just once, and the 'seven-piece shoe' made of seven pieces stitched together instead of the 25 components normally used to produce one shoe.

Those designs and more from the label's first collection will be available at the SLVR store when it opens at Mandarin Gallery in the fourth quarter of this year.

Cache Cache Paris

THIS French brand is brought in by Eurostyle Pte Ltd, in a joint venture with French-based Beaumanoir group which has four labels under its wing. The first store offers casual wear for ladies aged 18 to 30, with price points in the region of $20 to $59, and will open at Tampines 1 in the first half of the year.

'This is one of the first labels we'll be bringing to Singapore - first in Tampines 1 and later on at Ion Orchard,' says Eurostyle general manager Thomas Tay. In Europe, Cache Cache (pronounced cash cash) is collar to collar with H&M and Zara. It began its foray into Asia three years ago in China and has over 200 stores there now.

The brand will maintain its value-for-money philosophy in Singapore, with the aim to launch new collections every two weeks.

Custo Barcelona

THIS Spanish fashion house created in the early 80s by a pair of brothers has dressed Hollywood stars like Julia Roberts and Jennifer Aniston. It made its Asian debut late last year with a regional flagship store in Hong Kong.

The Californian lifestyle, expressed in the look of the surfers living in the southern part of the state, is the base for their style. Think graphics and colour. Its famous tees will retail from $159 upwards. For the Spring/Summer 09 season, in collaboration with Italian company Fuzzi, Custo Barcelona has also created a whole swimwear collection.

The boutique at Ion Orchard is managed by Imaginasia Group, a subsidiary of Retail Investments which distributes leading international brands in Asia. Its portfolio includes French kids brands DPAM and Petit Bateau.

Hilfiger Denim

JEANS lovers have yet another cut and look of denim to add to their wardrobe. Hilfiger Denim is Tommy Hilfiger's young premium denim brand, launched in Europe in 1998. Its first free-standing store at Ion Orchard joins the American line's network of stores in Europe, America, Australia, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

The brand is made up of three lines for its denims - red for core denim, white for design-led denim and blue for vintage-inspired - while other products tap into Americana such as gingham shirts and dip-dye dresses. From the worn, rugged textures of vintage '50s denim to the engineered detail of street chic, Hilfiger Denim is priced from $69 to $500. The label is brought in by the Dickson group which also distributes Polo Jeans Co, Ralph Lauren, Ralph Lauren Children, Tommy Hilfiger and Brooks Brothers.

Juicy Couture

FANS of fashion label Juicy Couture's modern rock star look will be pleased when its first standalone boutique opens in Ngee Ann City later this year.

Brought in by the Lane Crawford Joyce Group in Hong Kong, the 1,700 sq ft boutique will house the first presentation of all Juicy Couture collections in Singapore including its kids range as well as accessories such as handbags, jewellery and watches.

The brand that was founded in 1996 by Gela Nash-Taylor and Pamela Skaist-Levy was originally known for producing tracksuits but has now expanded into a multimillion-dollar lifestyle brand encompassing ready to wear merchandise as well as baby gear and pet accessories.

Expect the design concept of the store to reflect the brand's creative identity and its position in the world of fashion. Think modern fairytale - with a mix of old stripped down French antiques, hardwood floors and tall glass jars filled to the brim with candy - for a perfect balance of old English charm with a dash of glamour and humour and promises of good fun.

Just Cavalli

JUST Cavalli is a younger line of Roberto Cavalli, introduced in 1998. The collection has the younger generation in mind, so expect to see Cavalli's trademark wild colours and sensual lines given a youthful, modern vibe. Prices will range from $299 for a round neck cotton tee to $4,999 for a long silk evening gown. Men's shirts with Roberto Cavalli's signature print range from $499 to $1,199.

The label is brought in by VGO which used to have a health division but sold it off, and set up the fashion division in September 2007. It started with a bang with multibrand store Bread and Butter which carries six international labels like Evisu, 7 For All Mankind, and Denim For Immortality.


THOSE looking for sexy without the '$' should head to Seduce in Illuma when the Bugis mall opens sometime in the first half of this year. The Sydney-based brand is known for its flirty dresses and slinky tops in quality materials that spell designer - without the outrageous price tags.

The core collection, which receives fresh designs every season, features looks ranging from rock chic to boho. Seduce has more recently branched out into accessories and denim pieces which complement its main collection.

The company bringing it in will also set up Seduce's sister brands Katherine, known for its sophisticated style, and the more youth-oriented Blue Juice in Illuma at the same time.

Steve Madden

STEVE Madden is a popular American shoe designer who has since branched out into a whole range of accessories. Its past Fall/Winter range saw themes such as vintage (block heels with checkered or floral fabric lining), gothic, country life, and folk tales (Eastern European sentiments).

The standalone store at Ion Orchard will be opened by GRI Retail which currently brings in brands like Francesco Biasa, Kathy van Zeeland, Betsey Johnson, Arturo Chiang, and Vince Camuto. Steve Madden goods will be priced from $110 to $189 for bags, shoes, sunglasses and belts.


UNIQLO will make its Singapore debut with an 8,700 sq ft outlet at Tampines One in April and a 10,000 sq ft concept store at Ion Orchard in early June this year. The market has long been anticipating the stores since the announcement last year, given Uniqlo's fame for its wallet-friendly casual basics.

The Japanese brand teamed up with Wing Tai Retail - which already represents 18 key brands in Singapore and Malaysia - for its foray into the Singapore market.

Fans rave over Uniqlo's cuts and fabric, and what makes it different from other casual brands is that it regularly collaborates with cutting edge designers to bring in stand-alone capsule collections at affordable prices.


THIS collaboration between adidas and Yohji Yamamoto has spawned many other joint projects between sportswear labels and fashion designers since it launched in 2003, but it's arguably the most successful - if only because the line is the most affordable way of owning one of the Tokyo designer's famed designs.

Combining Yamamoto's avant-garde spirit and slouchy aesthetics with hues that are more vibrant than that of his somewhat austere main line, Y3 projects a look that's street-chic, youthful ... but nowhere near kawaii. There are clothes, accessories and footwear, all of which - according to consumer electronics and fashion distributor Kwang Sia - will be available when Y3 opens its first Singapore store in the fourth quarter of this year within Mandarin Gallery. (Kwang Sia is also bringing in Hugo Boss' Orange Label and Dsquared2 to Mandarin Gallery and Ion Orchard, respectively, this year.)

Current-season Y3 pieces include scrunched wool pants and Yakutat boots; fashion fans can expect equally cool threads when the Fall/Winter 2009 collection kicks off the Singapore store.

With additional reporting by Audrey Phoon and Melissa Lwee

This article was first published in The Business Times on Jan 10, 2009.

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