The Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) unveiled the second iteration of #SGFASHIONNOW, an experimental contemporary fashion showcase where Singapore fashion takes centre stage.
It is presented in collaboration with LASALLE College of the Arts’ (LASALLE) School of Fashion, and the Textile and Fashion Federation (TaFF) – a result of ACM’s tripartite partnership within Singapore’s fashion ecosystem.
The experimental showcase explores how each designer navigates the fashion space using their own language of draping. Based on a winning curatorial pitch by Ethan Lai from LASALLE’s BA (Hons) Fashion Media and Industries programme, it presents sixteen fashion ensembles and accessory pieces that offer a snapshot of Singapore’s fashion landscape, celebrating our diverse fashion senses and championing the next generation of contemporary fashion designers.
The public can encounter the evocative works of designers Ashley Isham, Harry Halim, Latika Balachander, Lina Osman, Max Tan, Thomas Wee, and Jon Max Goh – winner of Singapore Stories 2021, an annual fashion design competition organised by TaFF, in collaboration with ACM. For the first time, accessories are being showcased to further expand the view of Singapore’s fashion industry, featuring pieces by brands such as Closet Children by Rachael Cheong and Putri Adif.
Kennie Ting, Director of ACM and Peranakan Museum, said, “I am pleased to share that the inaugural edition of #SGFASHIONNOW last year was well received, running for an extended six-months despite opening during the pandemic. This experimental showcase represents our interest in championing innovation in the space of tradition in Singapore, and we are extremely thankful for the strong support from our partners, donors, and importantly, the designers who have come on board with us to make this second edition of #SGFASHIONNOW happen."
Surveying the fashion space in Singapore
ACM’s Contemporary Gallery is transformed into a construction site with an edgy, industrial finish, framing Singapore’s fashion identity as a work in constant progress that is generative, evolving, and open to change. Against this backdrop, #SGFASHIONNOW 2022 draws on parallels between fashion and architecture to explore how each designer navigates the fashion space using their own style and interpretation of draping.
The pieces on display are organised around their visual similarities, allowing visitors to traverse from structural shapes to deconstructed silhouettes and finally break out into freeform garments.
Accentuating Singapore’s diverse fashion identities
As part of ACM and the community’s efforts to further discussion on Singapore fashion, the second edition of #SGFASHIONNOW showcases more voices and fresh perspectives by presenting designers from a diversity of cultures, as well as design, backgrounds.
Designers featured include practising creatives based in Singapore, such as Thomas Wee, Max Tan, Keng How and Kage Chong, and Jon Max Goh; as well as Ashley Isham, Shawna Wu, and Harry Halim, who while based abroad, have had their fashion vocabularies shaped by their time spent in Singapore. Featured alongside industry veterans are emerging designers Lina Osman, Latika Balachander, and Bryan Yeo, who are representatives of a new generation.
Ashley Isham draws from the heritage of Southeast Asia to create timeless and elegantly vibrant pieces, while Max Tan draws from the design language of heritage garments to reinterpret tradition in his designs. This is an eclectic contrast to Latika Balachander’s Blurred Bodies collection, which takes inspiration from abstraction and exaggeration of human anatomy.
The inclusion of accessories in this year’s showcase expands the conversation about Singapore fashion. Displayed among the garments are accessories by brands CHARLES & KEITH; GINLEE Studio by Gin Lee and Tamir Niv; Closet Children by Rachael Cheong; Putri Adif; and Joshua Suarez.
Empowering Singapore’s next generation of fashion creatives
The curation of this experimental showcase was done in collaboration with three final-year students from LASALLE College of the Art’s School of Fashion: Ethan Lai, Leonard Wong, and Vrinda Maheshwari. The student curators were given valuable guidance from LASALLE lecturers as well as access to respective ACM staff and departments, which allowed them to produce a comprehensive experience for the public to enjoy. An e-publication will also be available, consisting of content from the showcase, video interviews with the designers, and essays by the LASALLE and ACM project mentorship teams.
Professor Steve Dixon, president, LASALLE College of the Arts, elaborated, “We launched #SGFASHIONNOW in the firm belief that it would be more than the sum of its parts—that this partnership between LASALLE and ACM would generate new ways of thinking, creating, and curating, bringing together ideas from education, museum and industry."
#SGFASHIONNOW 2022 opened on July 8 and will run till October 16, 2022. In conjunction with the experimental contemporary fashion showcase, members of the public can look forward to a series of student curator tours, interactive activities, and workshops focusing on fashion, craft, and design – available online and on-site. Entry is free for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents.