Fresh take on Singapore fashion
Fashion designs by homegrown talent (from left) Hu Ruixian, Carol Chen and Nida Tahir Shaheryar are in the spotlight at the Asian Civilisations Museum’s exhibition, #SGFASHIONNOW. (Photos: Asian Civilisations Museum)

Fresh take on Singapore fashion

Get ready to be surprised and dazzled by the latest designs in Singapore’s fashion scene. The Asian Civilisations Museum offers a window into Singapore’s fashion design world through #SGFASHIONNOW.

The exhibition, on until 19 Dec, showcases contemporary fashion by renowned Singapore designers such as Andrew Gn and up-and-coming talent such as Jamela Law and Lionel Wong of Baëlf Design. The designs on display range from a classic cheongsam silhouette that was made with non-traditional fabrics, to a dress that has elements made by 3D printing and laser cutting.

Read on as three fashion designers: Hu Ruixian of Studio HHFZ, 27, Carol Chen of Carol Chen, 39, and Nida Tahir Shaheryar of NIDA SHAY, 36, share about their creations in the exhibition.

Tell us more about your design in the exhibition.

Chen: I wanted to combine Chinese, Indian, and modern-day aesthetics in the two-piece suit, so I incorporated zardozi embroidery, which features the use of silver threads and beads, into my design.

Hu: My design, a cheongsam with an illustrated print, aims to raise awareness of sexual objectification and remind victims of sexual assault that they should not feel less of themselves.

Nida: I was inspired by Singapore’s multicultural society and how beautifully the cultures blend together. I wanted to show the influence of different cultures in a piece of fashion that is versatile yet timeless. The blazer jacket is entirely hand-embroidered with a mix of silver and gold threads, beads, sequins and zardozi in floral-shaped patterns commonly seen in Chinese and Indian hand-embroidery. The skirt has a drape that is reminiscent of a sari’s, and the long-line jacket with a belt has a silhouette similar to that of a kebaya.

Tell us about an interesting detail in your design that people might otherwise miss.

Chen: The sleeves of the garment are upcycled from an old Indian dress I had. The sleeves are also removable, so the wearer can choose if they want the outfit to have a casual or formal look.

Hu: The massive pockets were created for convenience to fit all the things one needs when visiting relatives and friends during Chinese New Year – everything from a phone and wallet to lipstick and mandarin oranges.

Nida: The hand-embroidery on the jacket is different from my signature style. I normally don’t mix silver and gold threads, but for this piece, I decided to do so to reflect the perfect harmony of various cultures in Singapore.

Has being featured in this exhibition changed anything for you as a fashion designer?

Chen: It has given my brand and my outfits more exposure, and a sense of pride and validation as a Singapore-based designer.

Nida: I feel greatly honoured to have my design featured in the exhibition. I’ve always dreamed of having my designs displayed at the museum and I’m grateful for all the wonderful messages of praise and support I’ve received. It is a privilege and an honour to be showcased in such a beautiful museum that honours all cultures and religions.

Replies were edited and condensed for clarity.

Learn more about #SGFASHIONNOW here.

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