Raise your hand if you love online shopping as much as we do.
After all, scrolling through webpages in the comfort of our beds while dressed in pyjamas means we don’t have to spend time walking around while lugging our spoils.
However, shopping in a physical store has advantages that online shopping simply cannot provide. Take American lingerie label Victoria’s Secret for example. If you couldn’t enlist the help of a sales staff to advise you on how best to pick the most suitable bra size and fit, you’d probably be doing a lot of guesswork at home with a measuring tape while trying to figure out the sizing guide. The brand was well aware of that — which is why it opened its two-storey flagship store at Mandarin Gallery in 2016.
Besides, shopping in a store provides you with a tactile experience that you can’t get anywhere else. Sometimes, we really need to visually eyeball the piece, not to mention run our hands through it to assess the garment for quality. And of course, nothing beats trying the piece on for a proper fit as well, before you make your purchase.
In light of the American Independence Day — a.k.a the Fourth of July — and the reasons we’ve mentioned above, we’ve rounded up eight brands we really want a physical store in Singapore, stat.
Remember the semicircle wicker bag that blew up all over Instagram and could be found in the hands of style influencers? The it bag’s name is Ark and it came from Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) trained Jasmin Larian, who founded Cult Gaia in 2012. Since then, Cult Gaia has spawned a couple of other lust-worthy bags that have received critical acclaim from the fashion world, such as the Japanese picnic bag-inspired Lilleth and the tasseled Angelou that seriously looks like it could be worn to a blacktie event. But bags aren’t all there is to the young label. With its clean, boho-esque style, Cult Gaia also retails everything from flowy dresses and sculptural outfits to accessories and footwear with a contemporary edge.
Here’s something for all the outdoor fanatics and adrenaline seekers. Patagonia was founded in 1953 by Yvon Chouinard, an avid rock climber, who created equipment necessary to help with the ascent. Now, Patagonia is known for its extensive range of clothing and gear to get you sorted, whether you’re going hiking into the forest or scaling mountains and glaciers. Reflecting the beliefs of Yvon, the label is also heavily committed to environmentalism. In particular, it has an initiative called Worn Wear, where you can trade in certain Patagonia pieces that you don’t want to wear anymore at its stores for credit. The items will then be cleaned and resold. This aims to reduce the amount of clothing that gets thrown into landfills and extends the wear of each piece before it becomes obsolete.
A firm favourite amongst street style enthusiasts, Supreme’s popularity has exploded since its inception in 1994 by English businessman and fashion designer James Jebbia. With its distinctive red logo, Supreme was created for skateboarders with influences of youth, hip hop and rock cultures. The brand continues to have a cult following with its pieces and collaborations — including the one they had with French luxury label Louis Vuitton back in 2017 — selling out almost immediately. Having a piece of Supreme in your collection instantly ups your street cred and cool factor, and we sure can’t wait to get our hands on them if they even open a store in Singapore — although we’ll probably have to queue hours for them.
For those who favour a simpler, minimalist silhouette, Everlane is the answer for you. Created in 2010 by Michael Preysman, who went to Carnegie Mellon, and Jesse Farmer, a software engineer, Everlane takes the everyday basics — from T-shirts and sweaters to denim jeans and shoes — and makes them better. How? Everlane only engages with factories that have passed its stringent ethical check, which includes criteria such as fair wages, acceptable work hours and environmental standards. Everlane doesn’t follow trends, rather it creates evergreen pieces that are meant to stand the test of time (and wear). In addition, the brand aims to be as transparent as possible. For example, Everlane breaks down the cost of every item and affords you glimpses into the factories it works with. It’s no wonder then, that Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, actress Angelina Jolie and model Gigi Hadid are fans.
Celebrating its 31st anniversary this year, Badgely Mischka is known for its wearable glamour with a heavy dose of femininity. Behind the brand is duo Mark Badgely and James Mischka, who first met while studying in Parsons School of Design in New York. The brand has made its name with its stellar ready-to-wear pieces but it is also known for its rich evening gowns and wedding dresses. It even has ranges catered for the mother, bridesmaids and flower girl of the bride. A-list celebrities such as pop stars Madonna and Jennifer Lopez, as well as actress Julia Roberts, have all worn a Badgely Mischka creation.
Another sustainable, ethical label in this line-up, Reformation prides itself on its thoughtful creation process where most pieces take about 12 to 18 months before they are manufactured and sold. The lengthy process is needed to ensure that the pieces fit a variety of body types and sizes. Moreover, Reformation is committed to being as environmentally-friendly as possible, from the fibres used to the amount of waste created from the outfit production. Each piece lists the sustainability standard so that you can make an informed purchase. Finally, Reformation lets you into its sustainable factory in Los Angeles via hosted tours so that you’re able to meet the people who make the outfits.
Lovers of jewellery need to put Chrome Hearts into your shopping list. Founded in 1988 by Richard Stark, Chrome Hearts is known for its signature high-end silver jewellery and cross-inspired designs. Richard started the brand creating clothing and leather products, and later became known for his accessories. The company has since expanded to include other metals, such as gold, and daintier silhouettes. The brand counts many celebrities as fans, including singers Rihanna and Lady Gaga and the Hadid sisters. Asian celebs such as Nicholas Tse and members of South Korean boyband Big Bang have also been spotted wearing them.
Hollister is one of the many fast fashion labels that we Singaporeans gravitate to when we ever make it across the globe to America. Known for its youthful aesthetics, Hollister also has an extensive range for both genders that cuts across clothing, lingerie, swimwear, accessories, shoes and fragrances. It’s also known for its inclusivity, with pieces championing pride as well as plus-size figures. Plus, Hollister has an accessible price point and is akin to Zara, Mango or H&M. What more can we ask for? Its parent company, Abercrombie & Fitch, is firmly rooted in Singapore, so we hope that Hollister will eventually make its way to our shores.
By Ho Guo Xiong, July 2019
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