(Photo via Audi Fashion Festival)

While works by renowned designers Roland Mouret, Mugler and Zac Posen were heating up the runways in Singapore at the Audi Fashion Festival 2012 (AFF), 3 local labels stole the spotlight on May 18 at AFF’s inaugural Singapore Designers Showcase (SDS). 

“International buyers come for the Audi Fashion Festival because they are keen to see what this part of the word has to offer, what our point of difference is. We should be putting forward something they won’t get at many other fashion weeks – great Singapore labels,” Mr David Wang, Vice-President of the Textile and Fashion Federation (TaFf), and the brains behind the SDS, was quoted saying in the AFF press release.

No strangers to the local fashion scene, a.w.o.l (all walks of life) by Alfie Leong, DEPRESSION by Andrew Loh and Kenny Lim, as well as SATURDAY by Nic Wong and Daniel Loh each debuted select pieces from their Fall/Winter (F/W) 2012 collection.

SATURDAY opened the show with a bang, with 15 models marching down the runway solemnly, showing off their “Collapsible” collection in its entirety.

“Collapsible” explores a multitude of silhouettes, shapes and layered panels that drape over each other, and definitely stays true to the 3-year-old brand’s ethos – to take a more practical approach in clothes making.

Daniel Loh of SATURDAY tells UrbanWire that their clothes aren’t designed for a specific customer. “We have cut the fabric of the clothing … so that if anyone on the street were to wear it, they would pull it off,” he explains. Wong chimes in, stating simply that their clothes are for “anyone who is confident”.

Metallic numbers kickstarted the show, but the collection subsequently softened into knits, embroidered with the finest merino wool. Needless to say, SATURDAY’s signature fabric choice, jersey, also found its place on the runway. However, these outfits were a tad reminiscent of certain Alexander Wang creations. Overall, “Collapsible” was a crowd-pleaser, with wearability of the outfits being its strong suit.

While SATURDAY chose to play by the rules, DEPRESSION, disregarded them all, and paid absolutely no heed to convention. The first model of DEPRESSION’s F/W 2012 collection sashayed onto the runway with a hockey mask on, bearing a strong resemblance to Jason from the cult horror film series, Friday the 13th.

Just like its predecessors F/W 2011 “Birth Defects” and S/S 2012 “Cloudy with Consciousness”, DEPRESSION’s current collection is inspired by a medical theme. Entitled “Plastic Surgery”, it reimagines clothes as body parts. Half of the dynamic duo behind the fashion label, Andrew Loh, tells UrbanWire that this line is “more technical” than any of their previous endeavours, owing to the fact that many of the pieces can be detached and reconstructed, leaving the wearer free to pursue creative combinations.

Statement accessories and studded hats that accompanied the outfits also deserve a mention as they projected the essence of DEPRESSION’s designs – fearlessness.  A new collection of leather footwear was also unveiled on the runway. Decorated in studs and spikes, the unique designs expertly captured the brand’s personality.

DEPRESSION clearly isn’t for wallflowers – you need some serious badassery to pull off this avant-garde, new-age label. Andrew Loh explains to UrbanWire that DEPRESSION is “work wear for people in the creative industry” – individuals who are unafraid to push the boundaries of fashion even in the most proper places like the office. Lest you think they’re playing in the amateur league, consider that Taboo from popular American hip-hop group, The Black Eyed Peas, is on their list of high-profile customers.

a.w.o.l. (All Walks Of Life) by Alfie Leong ensured that the SDS was sealed with an abundance of grandeur. Leong tells UrbanWire that the inspiration for his collection is none other than Meryl Streep’s iconic character, Miranda Priestly, in the 2006 fashion-centered comedy-drama film, The Devil Wears Prada. “You see how she is in the office, and then you see how she is at home with her husband… It contrasts, it’s a different role, a different person that she needs to be.” Thus this collection, fittingly termed “Opposite Lives”, was intended to show “a woman’s life from all the different angles”, explained the seasoned designer.

Singapore’s top model Sheila Sim, the country’s first SK-II ambassador, opened the a.w.o.l. show, decked out in futuristic headgear combined with psychedelic prints on silk – the main theme in the “Opposite Lives” collection. Flowy garments paid tribute to femininity, with leather gloves and thigh-high boots embodying enigmatic secrets that reside within each and every woman.

With industry experience of up to 20 years, and having shown his creations in the fashion capitals of the world such as New York and London, Leong notes that shows on home ground are advantageous as “you dare to go further and… give that 101% more”.

All 3 labels also showcased their collections to both local and international buyers at the BLUEPRINTtradeshow that ran simultaneously with AFF 2012

Buyer Lidya Chris Feng, an audience member of the SDS, shared with UrbanWire,  “Each brand has its own individual style. Overall, each label stood for its own vision and character.” She adds, “I think it’s great that the fashion scene in Singapore is moving forward.”

Daniel Loh of SATURDAY tells UrbanWire, “AFF is a huge platform for all designers, whoever they might be. It’s great exposure. It’s not just a trade show; it’s a public show. Especially when locals come to our show… They realise who the local designers are. At the same time, there are international spectators… (who) bring back a bit of Singapore design with them at the end of the day.”


[Photo credits to Arin Alycia Fong]


Want to know more about the designers of a.w.o.l, DEPRESSION and SATURDAY? – Check out the video below!