Looking for interesting accessories, hip homeware, locally designed fashion, or a chic dress for a special event? Here’s the Style Hawker’s guide to neighbourhood fashion finds and independent boutiques in Singapore!
Before I had children, browsing through local neighbourhood boutiques was a kind of detoxification process. Fast forward ten years and three children make that kind of self-indulgence a thing of the past. It’s usually as much as I can do to get the internet food shop done, let alone discover stylish boutiques in Singapore’s multitude of gorgeous districts in search of a wicker handbag. And while it’s easy for time-stretched mothers to hop online, sometimes the detoxification comes in the act of the ‘potter’, rather than the act of clicking ‘buy’.
So next time you have a window of commitment or child-free time, rather than heading straight to the nearest mall/yoga class/computer screen/bar (delete as appropriate) take your pick from one of the below. These are independent boutiques I have done the legwork on so you don’t have to – the places I recommend to my friends and love to shop myself. All offer something a little different and all are worth a look. Plus all are in great neighbourhoods with lots of other interesting stores, coffee and general pottering opportunities. And many stock gifts, mens, and kids wear in addition to fashion so there’ll be something to take home to keep them sweet after that me time.
Click through the gallery for an edited selection from my top independent fashion stores in Singapore.
Best For: Hipsters
The first of two options in The National Design Centre, Ka-Pok sells hipster brands with a minimal aesthetic like it’s own gender neutral brand Future Classics, mixed with European labels such as APC. The store also stocks brilliant homeware and gifts, from air plants to gorgeous ceramics, plus houses a cafe. However its delights are best appreciated sans children: when I visited with my son he cut half his fringe off with a pair of decorative scissors around five seconds in.
FUTURE CLASSICS culottes $154
MAISON LABICHE t-shirt $80
KAPOK bracelet $68
APC Bag $588
National Design Centre, 111 Middle Road 01-05
Best For: Local Design
Originally a quarterly showcase for independent local designers and craftspeople, Keepers has recently set up home in the National Design Centre. The concept store stocks around 40 designers, including new Keepers kids, plus my footwear obsession, sustainable brand Another Sole. Keepers will refresh it’s collection every two months, plus its currently running a Christmas ‘PLAYSHOP’ where we can learn from the artisans themselves.
A.OEI STUDIO skirt $168
HYPERGRAND Watch $169
ANOTHERSOLE SHOES from $89.90
THE MISSING PIECE Signature cut out dress$225
www.keepers.studio.com, National Design Centre, 111 Middle Road 01-01
Best For: Quirky Prints
The Art Deco neighbourhood of Tiong Bahru is enough of a pull even before the fabulously quirky boutique that is Nana and Bird. A multi label boutique that carries a curation of emerging designers from Singapore and internationally, the prints and jewellery are standouts. The quirky animal jewellery and New York children’s label Wolf and Rita might even be enough to hold the attention of the kids for the duration of a browse (in desperate measures).
C/MEO COLLECTIVE playsuit $159.50
KUWAII fern skirt$195.30
WOOUF cactus pouch$45
WOLF & RITA Francisco shirt $30
www.shop.nanaandbird.com, 1 Yong Siak Street
Best For: Arty Types
Perched on the top floor of colonial Cluny Court, Shiva Designs is more of a homewares boutique, but sells killer accessories, plus is close enough for me to call ‘local’. An eclectic mix of artistic brands with a rock and roll edge, LA and Australian jewellery designers sit alongside fair-trade kimonos by Anockhi. Plus the art and homewares at Shiva is incredible, Jai Vasicek’s amazing handmade tiles are top of my Christmas list.
OURLIEU clutches $55
JAI VASICEK & STORMBOY necklace$165
LUX DIVINE ear cuffs$205
www.shivadesignsbespoke.com, Cluny Court, 501 Bukit Timah Road 04-04
Best For: Tropical Living
My favourite place to visit in Joo Chiat, The Attaby Collective, (full deets here) which opened earlier this year, serves up a selection of beautifully curated brands geared around living in the tropics, from the cool to the classic. Recent fashion additions are Hanway menswear and The Happy Heart kidswear. The store features excellent homeware too: Elements furniture continues to feed my wicker addiction, and new brand The Lovely Other prints are beyond beautiful.
ATTABY Sunset palazzos $160
ELISE AND I Hello Weekend Tote $149
HANWAY peacock swim shorts $125
COTE & BADT glitter flats $75
www.theac.net, 420 Joo Chiat Road
Best For: Brands with a Story
This store’s appeal lies in that it rotates its brands and pieces on a weekly basis to provide a new experience for customers on every visit. They mix local talent with designers from further afield with a story to share, featuring unusual fashion, jewellery and cool kids wear. The only boutique in my shortlist based in an Orchard Road mall, Wheelock Place also offers other independents for a less run of the mill mall experience.
HAT OF CAIN hat $225
AMADO GUDEK earrings $99
CAVALIER Dress $118
EMBLEM Shoes $169
www.threadbareandsquirrel.com, Wheelock Place, 501 Orchard Road 02-20