World Travel Magazine

Bespoke designer shopping in Singapore

Kevin Seah

Kevin Seah

While there are scores of designer luxury brands in Singapore to shop at, including at Marina Bay Sands and Orchard Road, we take a look at a more intimate and personalised shopping experience featuring the best bespoke local designers in the city.

Lion City's designers shine

Curate a wardrobe from top to toe with Singapore’s best local bespoke designers.

While there are scores of designer luxury brands in Singapore to shop at, including at Marina Bay Sands and Orchard Road, we take a look at a more intimate and personalised shopping experience featuring the best bespoke local designers in the city. These include tailor-making a suit, an ethnic outfit that represents the diversity of Singapore’s cultures, as well as pairing them with accessories and shoes.

Hwa Seng Textiles Bespoke Jeans IMG_0025

Getting Dressed

Together with one of Singapore’s most prominent designers, create an ethnic outfit that will be an elegant souvenir and perfect for either your wedding or an exclusive event. Designer Priscilla Shunmugam of Ong Shunmugam has showcased collections at several fashion weeks, including New York Fashion Week, and also does custom womenswear and ethnic costumes like a cheongsam, sari or baju kurung for the Chinese, Indian and Malay ethnicities respectively. Fabrics can be chosen from the catalogue or sourced if necessary. Each of the custom outfits take about three to four months to create.

Starting out as a supplier of classic fabric in 1960, Hwa Seng Textiles increased its range of offerings to include custom-made suits and shirts, and when the owner’s son, Goh Cher Peng took over, he also learned how to make bespoke jeans. These usually take about two to three weeks to make, and the price depends on the fabrics, e.g., top quality selvedge fabrics from Japan or bespoke designs, such as a pair of Thai Farmer jeans made for an aficionado.

Hw Seng Textiles SAM_5600

Choose from more than 25 and eight colours for fabric and selvedge respectively, patterned pocket designs, buttons and rivets. For that extra-special touch, we recommend having your initials or signature laser engraved on a leather patch. Hwa Seng is also working on a charity event with international personalities who will be customising their own bespoke jeans for auction.

Enjoy the Savile Row experience right in the heart of Singapore with one of the best tailors in the country, Kevin Seah. Their range of suiting and jacketing fabrics—sourced from English and Italian Mills like Harrisons of Edinburgh or Vitale Barberis Canonico—are suitable for a variety of weather conditions and temperatures, even hot and humid Singapore. The client would ideally attend three fittings for their first commission to make sure that the suit is made according to his exact specifications, and would take about three to four months to complete, each of which are entirely hand-finished. Choose a made-to-order pair of shoes from Masaru Okuyama, Justin Fitzpatrick or Gaziano & Girling to complete the outfit.

Other customisations might include safari-style suits, ornate velvet smoking jackets, or jackets lined with vintage Hermès scarves. One client even had a suit made from a cloth his grandfather had kept in storage. It’s also possible to order what Kevin considers to be the ultimate luxury garment, a bespoke vicuna coat.

Kevin Seah Portrait 2018

Luxurious Accessories

For other bespoke accessories, whether for corporate gifts or yourself, custom-make them at The General Co., which has already created several custom designs for brands like Jermyn Street, Bentley and Audi. These could include handmade small leather goods, journal covers, or a gin bag similar to one that they handcrafted for Atlas Bar. Other options include custom straps for luxury watches, bags and accessories, and the process can take from two weeks to a couple of months.

Creative Director Colin Chen says, “It really depends on the design of the product, whether we need to specially indent materials such as hides and leathers (the hides come from France and Italy) as well as the labour hours needed to hand craft the pieces.” Each of these are hand cut, hand stitched, and can be customised with your initials or logos. An exclusive limited edition scarf was gifted to Maria Sharapova when she visited Singapore for the WTA.

The General Co Workspace

Designed and handcrafted locally using environmentally friendly materials, Amado Gudek produces one-of-a-kind pieces with their own character. The brand has collaborated with companies like Nespresso and Kapok to create limited edition collections such as a range of accessories with recycled Nespresso capsules, metal foil, glass beads, bioresin, and chains. The metal foil is treated to become iridescent, and then pieced together to create necklaces and earrings.

Ethan Koh of Ethan K was born into a family that has been trained in tanning exotic skins. His designs, such as the 2017 kite collection, evoke memories from his childhood. Choose from his collection, or create a bespoke bag of your very own, a service offered to his most exclusive clients. They will be able to pick from a range of exotic skins, semi-precious stones, colours and finishes to produce a bag that is not only incredibly luxurious, but also immensely personal.

Diamond Walker

The Perfect Fit

Collate your perfect shoe closet with Diamond Walker, with a collection ranging from sneakers, loafers, boots, active footwear and oxfords, suitable for myriad occasions. Each shoe is made from the finest Italian grade leather and entirely handmade. It’s also possible to further customise your shoes with exotic leathers like ostrich, eel and crocodile. While mainly targeted at male clients, women’s shoes can also be tailored and made upon request, ranging from sneakers to a brogue with heels.

It takes 45 minutes to an hour to have your feet measured and fitted at their store, and the bespoke design process usually takes about four to six weeks. Their clientele include CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, David Foster and members of the Qatari royal family. Victor Lee, CEO of Diamond Walker, says that his most challenging requests have been creating shoes for customers with drastically different-sized feet as well as one who wanted different styles for both feet.

Diamond Walker DW Shoes (21)

Having designed headpieces for royalty like Her Royal Highness Princess Mary of Denmark as well as for international celebrities, Chee Sau Fen, the founder of Head of State, can create custom headgear. The brand works with ladies in the Philippines to create hats via looms and abaca fiber, giving them an invaluable source of income through sustainable means. Choose from a classic hat that shields you during your travels or an impeccably stunning fascinator to steal the attention at your next event.

Oo La La Workshop

Scented Bliss

Finish your custom-made wardrobe with a personalised scent. There are a number of places to do this in Singapore, including one at Oo La Lab, where they use sustainably sourced ingredients that are cruelty-free and not tested on animals. The workshop will help you create an Eau de Parfum that is perfectly tailored to your likes and dislikes, and a 20ml sample will be ready. It is also possible to customise the perfume with your name or message.

The fragrance library comprises more than 1,000 scents, including quirky ones like laksa and bubblegum. Each month new ingredients are added. One of the more challenging requests has included using the aroma of chilli crab in a candle. The brand has also participated in Singapore Fashion Week and Laneway Festival, and local celebrities and designers have made perfumes with them.

freda making perfume

Curate your own privatefragrance label at Freda ’D, choosing from the very best—and cruelty-free—ingredients to develop your signature scent, followed by selecting a perfume bottle design, atomiser and cap. Personalise your very own label and design packaging. Even the production capacity can be adjusted according to your specifications, whether you’re limiting your scent to just 25 bottles, plenty if it’s just for your personal use, or up to tens of thousands of units. The process takes about four to eight weeks.

Freda shares that customers may choose from 160 raw ingredients to create their signature scent at their store at OUE Downtown, and to find one—with their help—that triggers a specific memory that they’d like to immortalise in a bespoke perfume.◼

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© This article was first published in Aug-Sept 2018 edition of World Travel Magazine.

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