Beauty & Shopping, International Fashion, Malls & Boutiques, Singapore Fashion

5 Multi-Label Boutiques To Look Out For – Tan Lili

Up your fashion ante at these multi-label stores – they have brought in a whole lot of international and local labels whose designs range from sophisticated and elegant to quirky and outright zany!

Many of us non-fashiony people may not have heard of three-quarters of the scores of labels – emerging, renowned or cult – stocked at multi-label boutiques, but they have certainly got the style-conscious salivating over them. Here, a look at five relatively new entries in the label-crazed market.

The Label Monster,

label monster

From left: MSGM, Hisui, Frame

The newly launched homegrown fashion online store prides itself on stocking hard-to-find international labels, as well as championing emerging designers and innovative streetwear brands. Some of the labels include denim brands BLK DNM and Frame Denim; Silent by Damir Doma from France; MSGM from Italy; and Hisui by Hiroko Ito from Japan, which is available exclusively at The Label Monster.

Kapok at NDC

Local brand Stolen, famous for their signature backless outfits

Local brand Stolen, famous for their signature backless outfits

This multi-label lifestyle store from Hong Kong, renowned for discovering emerging designers, features a well-curated mix of international and local brands. There are already a handful of Singaporean labels here, such as womenswear brand Stolen and social enterprise Saught. Kapok also stocks brands from international labels like Mimo from Denmark, Seventy Eight Percent from Hong Kong, and Sandqvist from France. Kapok at NDC is located at National Design Centre, 111 Middle Road.

The Assembly

Photo taken from The Assembly Facebook page

Photo taken from The Assembly Facebook page

Opened in late-May, this charming multi-label lifestyle store and café looks like the playground for the dapper, (dare I say it) hipster men of Singapore, what with brands like Benjamin Barker, Rooney Chinos, Aark and Bellroy. Apart from the small selection of apparel for the ladies, its industrial-chic décor (think polished concrete floors, brick walls, spotlights and vintage frames) makes The Assembly a must-visit! The Assembly is located at #01-21 The Cathay.

Apres Five,

Photo taken from Apres Five Facebook page

Photo taken from Apres Five Facebook page

This local online boutique is founded by two friends – one is the owner of luxury multi-label wedding atelier The Prelude Bridal; the other, the founder of organic and eco-friendly baby clothing brand Be Green Bebe. Apres Five features a selection of emerging and renowned international brands, including James Jeans, Sachin + Babi, Graham & Spencer, and Addison. Most recently, they announced that their showroom will be receiving Fall/Winter 2014 pieces from James Jeans (we hear a maternity style will be one of their highlights) and Sachin + Babin in the next couple of weeks, so keep a lookout for them! Apres Five’s showroom is located at #03-01, 8 Mohamed Sultan Road.


Photo taken from Superspace Facebook page

Photo taken from Superspace Facebook page

The cult appeal is strong with this one. From outrageous prints to minimalist designs, Superspace stocks a massive list of cult labels from around the world, making it undoubtedly THE place to spot some of Singapore’s top trendsetters. It’s no surprise, considering who the founders are – Revasseur designer Gilda Su, Evenodd designer Samuel Wong, as well as Bobby Luo and Ritz Lim of The Butter Factory (Ritz also owns Ritz Salon, which was formerly located at Pacific Plaza and now shares the space with Superspace). Some of the other brands you can expect are Mash-Up, Ling Wu, Daniel Palillo, Heidi Lee and Patricia Field. Superspace is located at #02-18 Orchard Gateway.

About The Author: A founder of Material World, Tan Lili has previously worked in magazines The Singapore Women’s Weekly and Cosmopolitan Singapore, as well as (now, the online counterpart of Her World). She is now a freelance writer who works on this website full-time. Lili hopes to travel the world, work with wild animals, and discover more awesome Twilight fan-fiction.

Beauty & Shopping, International Fashion, Malls & Boutiques

NewsFASH: What You’ll Be Wearing this Fall – Denise Li

This list is making us want to hit the shops, STAT. By Denise Li

Do Fall collections bring to mind long sleeves, drab colours, and cuts that are just waaaay too warm for Singapore weather? We’re pleased to inform you that it doesn’t have to be so. H&M’s collection runs the gamut: From fun, feminine maxi dresses, to menswear-inspired pieces, and even … a fire-engine red PVC trousers (if that’s your thing). If you like asymmetrical hemlines and unusual silhouettes, you can’t go wrong at Whole9Yards. Don’t want to add to your bulging closet? Update your look with a few statement accessories or shoes from On Pedder. Just because summer’s come and gone doesn’t mean you can’t continue having fun with fashion!

Shift dress, H&M

Shift dress, H&M

The humble shift dress is elevated by some sparkle.

Top, H&M

Top, H&M

With sheer pieces like these, layering doesn’t have to be a warm and uncomfortable affair.

Jumpsuit, H&M

Jumpsuit, H&M

Just in time for the Singapore Grand Prix, perhaps? Pair with fun heels for a playful touch.

Dresses, Whole9Yards

Dresses, Whole9Yards

Safe enough for work, yet the unusual draping and hemlines will make you stand out from the crowd. Whole9Yards is at #01-05 Wisma Atria, #02-06 Orchard Gateway, and Level 3 Robinsons Orchard.

Bag, Coach

Bag, Coach

We don’t know about you, but we think the bucket bag should be one of your “must-have” bags. Slouchy and roomy, it’s perfect for the weekend. For a full listing of Coach outlets in Singapore, click here.

Clutch, REDValentino Disney

Clutch, REDValentino Disney

A snatch-proof clutch: Such a simple, yet ingenious idea. For a full listing of REDValentino outlets, click here.

Heels, Charlotte Olympia (available at On Pedder)

Heels, Charlotte Olympia (available at On Pedder)

Only Charlotte Olympia will think of adding embellised sky-high heels to the humble boat shoe … and somehow make it look amazing. On Pedder is at #02-12P/Q Takashimaya S.C.

Clutch, LINGWU

Clutch, LINGWU

Satchel, LINGWU

Satchel, LINGWU

If there was ever a local talent worthy of our support, it has to be bag designer Lingwu. We’re in love with her luxurious, one-of-a-kind pieces. Her Fall/Winter 2014 collection will be available from September 2014 at Isetan Scotts, TANGS Orchard, and Front Row.

About the Author: Denise Li is a founder of Material World and a freelance writer-editor. Before that, she spent a few years in the Features section of CLEO and Cosmopolitan Singapore. She considers Chiang Mai her spiritual home and makes it a point to head there for a yearly pilgrimage. She’s also a fitness buff and enjoys training in MMA, and doing conditioning workouts. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseLiTweets and Instagram @smackeral83.

Accessories, Arts & Events, Beauty & Shopping, Entertainment, Food News, Fragrances, Hair, International Fashion, Lifestyle, Makeup, Malls & Boutiques, Skincare

26 Things To Put On Your July Watchlist

Are you ready to embrace the second-half of 2014? We’re still recovering from the whirlwind that was the first-half of the year, to be honest. But with so many cool places to see, products to try and activities to check out in July, we’re all set to enter yet another whirlwind of new experiences!

A is for Anti-Ageing



Youthful skin isn’t just wrinkle-free; it’s also free from pigmentation, and glowing with youth and radiance. A two-step, in-home peel, the Philosophy Microdelivery Peel aims to rejuvenate skin by resurfacing and replenishing skin with peptides and vitamin C for smoother and more radiant skin. Best of all, results are evident after just one use, and the whole process takes less than 10 minutes!

Philosophy is at B2-03 Takashimaya S.C., Ngee Ann City; and #01-16 Bugis Junction.

B is for Becasse 

Becasse has launched its first full format dining concept at Dempsey Hill and it promises to spoil you silly with a wide menu consisting of French- and European-inspired dishes, a seafood bar and fresh hand-made pastries made on-site daily. Fans of brunch will love the Croque Madame with a truffle baked egg and the fluffy but oh-so-sinful sticky date pancakes.

Becasse is located at Blk 10 Dempsey Hill #01-21. Tel: 6479 8119.

C is for Cats of the World Photo Exhibition

One of the entries from Japan!

One of the entries from Japan!

Love cats? Then this annual exhibition is one you can’t miss! In its eighth season this year, the non-profit Cats of the World Photo Exhibition features photos of adorable furballs, taken by aspiring and professional photographers around the world. This year, look out for one-off cat-inspired creations by artists such as David Chan, Ginette Chittick, Wyn-Lyn Tan and Puffingmuffin; each artwork will be sold for $100 to raise funds for Cat Welfare Society. Of course, you can also look forward to the exhibition’s feline-themed flea market. From postcards and notebooks to accessories and even toys for cats, the Saturday Purrzaar Market has been a crowd favourite since it was launched in 2011.

Cats of the World Photo Exhibition will take place from July 2-28 at The Arts House. The Saturday Purrzaar Market, also held at The Arts House, will take place on July 5, 12 and 19, from 11am to 6pm.

D is for District 10 Brunch 


Mothers looking for a place where the kids can play while they tuck into their scrambled eggs can check out District 10 at The Star Vista. On Sundays, the restaurant installs a full-size bouncy castle to keep the kids occupied while their parents grab a bite. If you like food with a local twist, the pandan pancakes with gula melaka syrup will hit all the right spot.

District 10 is located at The Star Vista, #01-42/K3 (next to the taxi stand). Tel: 6694 2884. Email: .

E is for Exciting Fashion News

material world_zalora material girl

We may call ourselves the Material Girls, but we all know who the original Material Girl is. Apart from being the reigning Queen of Pop, Madonna also dabbles in fashion. She and daughter Lola have a popular fashion label, Material Girl, which was previously only available in department stores in the US, Australia, and Canada. But not anymore! You can now get your hands on the label’s trendy peplum tops, printed pencil skirts, bodycon dresses, and more on Zalora! The Spring collection is now available for purchase at

F is for Football Fever

So not everyone’s inclined to sit down to spend 90 minutes watching The Beautiful Game, especially when it’s screening at unearthly hours, but we’re pretty sure that practically everyone will fall in love with the Breadzil 2014 collection that Breadtalk has released to celebrate The World Cup. Our favourite? The Dillopillo, a spicy sambal chicken bun inspired by the armadillo mascot. It looks cute, and tastes even better.

For a full listing of Breadtalk stores, visit this link.

G is for Great Skin


If hot and humid weather is causing your zits to come out and party, now may be the time to switch to a BB cream that not only provides coverage but also controls shine and fights blemishes. Powered by Community Fair Trade tea tree from Kenya, The Body Shop Tea Tree Flawless BB Cream blends seamlessly into the skin to give you a great-looking complexion. At just $29.90 per tube, it’s a summer beauty must-have!

Available at all The Body Shop islandwide from 7 July 2014.

H is for Healthy Tresses

HWe’ve all resorted to trimming our own tresses at home to get rid of split ends, but now there’s an easier way to repair damaged hair. Enter the L’Oreal Paris Total Repair 5 Emergency Care Split End Sealer. Powered by active ingredient LAK1000, it promises to penetrate deep into the hair to reinforce damaged hair structure and strengthen hair fibre. Up to 6,500 strands of hair will be repaired with just one use!

Available at Watsons and Guardian pharmacies. 

I is for Instant Laksa

There’s something strangely comforting about a bowl of instant noodles, especially after a long day of work or after a night of partying. Now, MAGGI ups the ante with MAGGI SENSES Laksa, with a special wet paste made with fresh galangal, spicy red chilli, and ginger. Combined with MAGGI’s signature springy noodles, this is a slurp-worthy bowl of deliciousness.

MAGGI® SENSES™ Laksa is available at $7.95 for a pack of 4x141g at all leading super/hypermarkets and convenience stores.

J is for Jermyn Street


The trend of high-end grooming stores for men seems to be taking off in Singapore and more’s the better, we say! Jermyn Street is the new kid on the block. The decor is inspired by the 1930s style, and it offers a comprehensive suite of services including a luxury hotel towel straight razor shave, haircuts, shampoos, manicures and pedicures, eyebrow grooming and much more. Something to treat your man to on his birthday, we think.

Jermyn Street is located at 108 Amoy Street. For more information, visit

K is for Kiehl’s 

One of our all-time favourite beauty brands is celebrating its 10th year in Singapore! Kiehl’s turns 10 this July and to mark this momentous event, it is sending out Ultra Generous Trucks across 21 destinations across the island to hand out samples and treats! So keep a lookout for these trucks – there is a selfie contest too! Details in the latest issue of Kiehl’s Times at all Kiehl’s stores islandwide.

L is for Laneige


After 20 years of research (you know they mean business when they spent two decades researching on moisture), Laneige has introduced the new and improved Water Bank range, which claims to deliver eight times more moisture into the skin. Through their research, they found that Asian skin is more susceptible to moisture loss. To tackle this problem, the reformulated Water Bank range features the exclusive Moisturizing Biogene Technology and Hydro Ion Mineral Water to restore the Asian skin’s natural ability to generate and retain moisture – even under dry conditions. The Water Bank range consists of Water Bank Essence_EX ($60), Water Bank Eye Gel ($49), Water Bank Gel Cream_EX ($52), Water Bank Moisture Cream_EX ($52), and Water Bank Double Gel Soothing Mask (5 sheets, $34).

The Water Bank range is available at all Laneige boutiques and counters islandwide.

M is for Melissa


Brazilian shoe brand Melissa collaborates with some of the biggest names in fashion – Karl Lagerfeld, Jason Wu, Gareth Pugh, and J Maskrey – to roll out even more fantastic pieces for its Fall/Winter 2014 collections. These pieces will be available from July 2014 at the new MDreams Boutique at One Raffles Place, as well as its existing store at Wheelock Place.

MDreams is at #01-11/12 1 Raffles Place, and B2-03 Wheelock Place.

N is for “No” to Shark Fin

Kudos to Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and Singapore Airlines (SIA) Cargo for saying “No” to shark’s fin! Starting last month, MBS is no longer serving shark’s fin in restaurants it owns and operates, as well as in MICE events at Sands Expo and Convention Centre; from August 1, SIA Cargo will no longer carry shark’s fin on its cargo flights. The two bigwigs are the latest to join the growing list of companies that have pledged to protect the environment and play a part in shark conservation.

O is for Oleosome Technology

A sunscreen is a sunscreen is a sunscreen, right? Not so, with Dermalogica Protection 50 Sport SPF50. This sunscreen is made with the new Oleosome Technology, which is a type of technique that slowly releases sunscreen directly to your skin surface over time. This increases the UV protection minus any additional chemicals or emulsifiers. Even better, this formulation comes with botanical extracts like Licorice, Orange Peel, and Ylang Ylang to soothe and nourish your skin.

Dermalogica Protection 50 Sport SPF50 is available for $75 at all AsterSpring Centres and selected Dermalogica-authorised skin treatment centres.

P is for Pretty Homeware Collection


Racking your brain for a housewarming gift for a vintage-lovin’ friend? Cath Kidston’s High Summer collection has her name on it! Featuring a botanical theme inspired by the ’50s, the Painterly Rose baking collection includes baking ware and accessories such as a ceramic cake stand, rolling pin and adjustable apron.

Cath Kidston’s High Summer collection is available at Cath Kidston outlets islandwide.

Q is for Qi Mantra

If you’re after flawless, radiant skin for that special occasion, be sure to book yourself in for the Miracle Facial, $350, at Qi Mantra. It’s a 90-minute non-invasive treatment that marries advanced VPL (Variable Pulse Light) and revolutionary stem cell technology to stimulate collagen production and significantly improve signs of ageing. Best of all, there’s no downtime!

For a full listing of Qi Mantra outlets, click on this link.

R is for Ramen 


Sake + Ramen = one deliciously addictive bowl of noodles! The sake broth at Shin-Sapporo Ramen takes a minimum of 8 hours to produce and you can taste the potent flavor of the sake with every bite. The noodles are made fresh daily in the shop and the pork broth is painstakingly prepared by boiling the bones over high heat for 15 hours. For a taste of this awesome ramen, make your way to Shin-Sapporo Ramen at Orchard Gateway today.

Shin-Sapporo Ramen is located at B2-04A/05. Tel: 6702 4906.

S is for Summer Beauty


Founder Lili sporting Priscilla lip gloss

Founder Lili sporting Priscilla Lip Gloss in Shocking Pink.

Synonymous with poolside and beach parties, summer is all about having a splashing good time and sexy, bold appearances. Complete the sun-kissed look with Nars Summer 2014 collection, whose palette is a striking mix of pop and sultry the collection. We love Priscilla Lip Gloss in Shocking Pink ($37) – it is eye-catching and amazingly wearable! Other makeup products from the collection include Tropical Princess Duo Eyeshadow in Neon Lemon Lime and Icy Lavender ($50); Lost Coast Duo Eyeshadow in Golden Pewter and Lilac Snow ($50); Malacca Single Eyeshadow in Iridescent Peacock ($38); and Hot Sand Illuminator in Peach Champagne ($45).

Nars Summer 2014 collection is available at Nars counters islandwide.

T is for Tempting Cocktails

At a recent media tasting at Ding Dong, we were blown away by the lethally delicious cocktails. One of our favourites was The Golden Mile, which is a blend of Thai herb-infused Ketel One vodka, blue ginger gomme, and citrus. The best way we can describe is like a refreshing alcoholic beverage with nuances of Tom Yam. Sounds strange but it’s surprisingly delectable. Another drink we enjoyed was the Fujiyama, which is made with Yoghurt sake, elderflower liqueur, fresh strawberries, and yuzu liqueur. Because of the sweet flavours, this is a deceptively easy drink to down. It’s only when the buzz hits you that you realise how potent the drink really is.

Ding Dong is located at 23 Ann Siang Road, Tel: 6557 0189

U is for Ujong


The chef who brought you Wok & Barrel is back with even more tantalising treats at the newly-opened Ujong. Chef Shen has a knack for putting a gourmet spin on humble local dishes and elevating them to something amazing. And now you can enjoy her signature dishes such as Claypot Rice with Five Spice Pork, Har Zi Meen, and Hae Bee Hiam Mentaiko Capellini with a side of Col di Salici Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore. This is a zesty, dry Prosecco sparkling wine with fruity notes that pairs beautifully with the rich flavours of Chef Shen’s dishes.

Ujong is located at #01-10, 328 North Bridge Road, Raffles Hotel Arcade, Tel: 6635 6502

V is for Von Trapp


The delightful Von Trapp family comes to town! The Sound of Music, arguably the world’s most iconic musical, comes to the MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands this July, all the way from London’s West End. Based on the original 1959 Broadway production, this is one show everyone in the whole family will enjoy! Get your tickets here.

W is for Whiff of Fabric Fragrance

Downy’s latest range of fabric softeners features an innovative technology known as the Scent Switcher Technology – and, yes, it apparently does what its name implies. The new Downy Parfum Collection is formulated with two types of Downy’s signature perfume microcapsules, which will be deposited onto the clothes during washing. Through the rubbing, moving and wearing of the fabric, the Scent Switcher Technology is activated, during which the two microcapsules are released at varying amounts. We can’t be sure exactly how and whether that works, but it sure sounds interesting!

Downy Parfum Collection, from $6, is available at all leading supermarkets.

X is for X-cellent Deals

If you have a Mastercard debit/credit card, now’s the time to put it to work. Why? Cos it’s partnered with Borderfree to give you free shipping for orders above USD100 at nine US online merchants. The merchants are: Aeropostale, Adriana Goldschmied, Bloomingdale’s, Eileem Fisher, Elie Tahari, Jos A. Bank, Lands’ End, Lane Bryant and MotoSport. Simply key in the code MCSHOP when paying with your Mastercard card. Promotion is on from now till July 14, 2014.

Y is for The Fountain of Youth 


Looking perfect at every age is now almost possible with Shiseido’s new Vital-Perfection skincare series! Combining whitening and anti-aging benefits, this skincare line brings you impossibly bright and firm skin with the revolutionary ingredient VP8. This ingredient shuts off the creation of aged proteins, which are the root cause of wrinkles, sagging, dullness and yellowish skin. Results can be seen in as little as 1 week.

Shiseido Vital-Perfection skincare series is now available at Shiseido counters islandwide.

Z is for Zero Percent Worries On Spots 


SK-II’s new Whitening Spots Care series claims to give you 0% worries when it comes pigmentation and skin damage. For a targeted solution, the Ultimate Spots Corrector boasts a dual approach, breaking the vicious cycle of spot formation and helping repair existing skin damage to prevent new ones.

SK-II is available at department stores islandwide.

Beauty & Shopping, International Fashion

How To Style Your LWD – Denise Li

Denise Li is ditching her foolproof LBDs for something a little more comfortable … 

Like most women, I have plenty of LBDs on my closet. I mean, what other wardrobe staple can take you from client meetings to drinks at night in a pinch? But with the intolerably hot weather of late, I think I might be forced to retire them for the next couple of months for its (literally) cooler counterpart: The little white dress.

First, some easy tips on selecting a universally flattering white dress:

1. Unless you have a Spanx collection that can rival Kim Kardashian’s make sure it’s not too tight.


This dress is too short, too tight, and I won’t be surprised if Kim K spent the whole evening telling people, “My eyes are up here.”

A more modest look actually works very well for Kim. Sometimes, more is more.

A more modest look actually works very well for Kim. Sometimes, more is more.

2. Make sure it has lining of decent quality. Some women don’t mind it, but personally, I think that, out of the bedroom, bra and panties should be kept under wraps as far as possible.

3. When in doubt, a shift dress is always a fail-safe option as it works for all body shapes and types.

For all intents and purposes, this dress from iRoo ticks all the boxes.

FD - Product 4


To dress it UP, just add …

Heels, Stuart Weitzman

Heels, Stuart Weitzman

Necklace, Swarovski

Necklace, Swarovski

Clutch, Anya Hindmarch, available at THEOUTNET.COM

Clutch, Anya Hindmarch, available at THEOUTNET.COM

Sunglasses, Coach

Sunglasses, Coach

To dress it DOWN, just add …


Sneakers, Puma Select Collections x Sophia Chang

Watch, Casio Baby-G

Watch, Casio Baby-G

Rings, Goldheart

Rings, Goldheart

OP Exclusive_Charlotte Olympia_SS14_Cheeky Kitty_SGD1090

Flats, Charlotte Olympia, available at On Pedder

You can also add a grey or navy blazer to make the dress more office-friendly.

So, will you be rocking a LWD this summer?

About the Author: Denise Li is a founder of Material World and a freelance writer-editor. Before that, she spent a few years in the Features section of CLEO and Cosmopolitan Singapore. She considers Chiang Mai her spiritual home and makes it a point to head there for a yearly pilgrimage. She’s also a fitness buff and enjoys boxing, running and the occasional yoga session. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseLiTweets.

Beauty & Shopping, International Fashion, Singapore Fashion

[Material World x Asia Fashion Summit] Help Us Understand Fashion, Please!

If you’re not a fashion industry insider, it can be hard to keep up with all the latest trends, designers, and other inner workings of the industry. Leading fashion commentator Colin McDowell and‘s Senior Trend Consultant Yvonne Kostiak clues us in. 

Yvonne Kostiak, Senior Trend Consultant at Trendstop

Yvonne Kostiak, Senior Trend Consultant at Trendstop

Yvonne Kostiak’s mother often jokes that her daughter “window shops for a living”. As a trend consultant, Kostiak’s job is to visit trade shows, preview events, key stores and European cities to predict upcoming fashion trends. 

We notice how there seems to be a similar theme across all designers at each fashion season. How are trends born? 

“One, trends could start very small, perhaps from a lesser-known designer, but it’ll eventually snowball into something bigger. Second, there could be a particular mood in our culture that comes through in art, films, music, and fashion. At the moment, there’s a big trend surrounding the idea of “comfort”. This comes from many influences, including greater equality between the two genders. Women are now more empowered to wear whatever they want (versus what society expects them to wear), so we’re seeing a lot more androgynous styles and cuts in fashion.

Also, Australian design and lifestyle is starting to become very big, probably due in part to more Australian models gaining prominence. Australian style is all about embracing a relaxed and bohemian lifestyle. This trend of laidback luxury can be seen in all the top designers’ work, including Karl Lagerfeld. For Chanel’s Autumn/Winter 2014 show in Paris, Lagerfeld transformed the runway into a “supermarket”, where the focus was on sleek, comfortable fashion you can wear while getting your groceries.”

How does this trend of “laidback luxury” translate to clothing? 

“We’re seeing a lot of voluminous trousers and bermuda-length shorts that are trans-seasonal, and suitable for both men and women. Designers are also exploring and re-imagining trainers (running shoes).”

Fashion is pretty personal though. How do I make outrageous runway designs work for my everyday life?

“Sometimes, following a trend is not about copying the entire outfit from the runway. It can be more subtle, like adopting the trend’s silhouette or print. Street style magazines and blogs are a good way to figure out how to make trends work for you.”

Colin McDowell (right), speaking with young London designer Thomas Tate at AFS 2014

Colin McDowell (right), speaking with London designer Thomas Tait at AFS 2014

With his booming voice and sparkling eloquence, Colin McDowell cuts an impressive figure. The industry veteran has over 30 years writing and talking about fashion, so who better to speak about this scintillating industry? 

What is it about fashion that gets people so excited?

“Fashion helps you change the perception of who you are. When you look into the mirror and you like what you see, it can be a major confidence booster.”

It seems to us that when people talk about fashion, they are really just spewing out designers’ names and brands. How can we look at fashion without coming across as a brand-obsessed wannabe?   

“People who name-drop just look stupid. Fashion is about personal style – knowing what works for you, both inside and out. Ask yourself, “How do I want to present myself to the world?” and work from there. When you’re confident in whatever you’re wearing, it doesn’t matter which label you’re wearing.”

Who does fashion better – magazines or the digital media?

“The digital world is growing stronger all the time. Magazines are expensive to produce and print readership is going down. I believe the digital world will win out eventually, simply because it’s easier and more convenient. That said, I also believe consumers still enjoy the experience of being able to interact with fashion. This is why brick-and-mortar fashion retail stores will always be around, despite the proliferation of online stores.”

The Asia Fashion Summit is organised by Textile & Fashion Federation (TaFf), and is a premier business conference that creates knowledge, provides and shares expert views on fashion topics that are important to fashion industry professionals in Asia. It’s on from today till 17 May 2014 at Suntec City Convention Centre. 



Beauty & Shopping, International Fashion, Singapore Fashion

[Material World x Asia Fashion Summit] The Secrets To E-Commerce Success

Although Zalora only launched in late 2011, it is arguably one of the biggest players in the online retail market right now. We find out from Zalora’s Managing Director Harry Markl how they did it. 

You see their ads everywhere on social media and you’ve probably even received a marketing e-mailer from them, but the secret to Zalora’s success doesn’t lie in aggressive marketing. Markl explains it’s all about creating the perfect retail experience for the consumer.

Zalora MD Harry Markl at the Asia Fashion Summit 2014

Zalora MD Harry Markl at the Asia Fashion Summit 2014

How do you think e-commerce has changed the face of fashion retail?

“As a retailer, you need to offer consumers choice – if you’re not online, you will lose out. In Asia, the population is younger as compared to more mature markets in Europe, so there’s a natural gravitation towards all things web and mobile. As a retailer, you go where the consumers are.

Of course, you need to do more than just create a website and drive traffic. You need to understand your consumers and create an experience that converts them into repeat customers.”

Online shopping can be quite a cold and impersonal experience. How can brands bring a “personal touch” to the consumer’s online retail experience?

“After a customer first shops on Zalora, we will send them a short email to get feedback on their experience. For customers who rate our service as anything less than excellent, we will drop them a call to find out what exactly went wrong and how we can improve. Internally, we hold weekly meetings with all the departments to sort through these issues. This has had significant results on our customer relations. Between the time Zalora first launched and now, we’ve had far less reasons to call up customers.

Another way to engage with consumers is through pop-up store concepts. This allows your customers to touch and feel the products before buying, and interact with the people the brand. The important thing to remember is, pop-up stores are not about driving revenue. It’s about creating value for your consumers.”

How can e-commerce stores draw the line between being engaging and being spammy?

“Over the years, consumers have evolved from saying, ‘I want stuff’ to saying, ‘I want an experience’. Thus, it’s important that you don’t confuse your consumer or overwhelm them with too many products and clutter. One great way to engage with your consumers is through valuable content like brand stories, magazines, and trend reports.”

A peek at Zalora's latest trend report.

A peek at Zalora’s latest trend report.

Brands are often concerned about creating a beautiful and exciting brick-and-mortar storefront. How do you convince brands to overcome this and sell their products online on Zalora?

“For some of the brands we work with, they’re given a shopfront concept where they can talk up their products through videos and other branded content. In addition, we also spend a significant amount of time and money on models and product styling. The truth is, you can sell a not-so-great-looking product on a nice-looking model but not the other way round.”

The Asia Fashion Summit is organised by Textile & Fashion Federation (TaFf), and is a premier business conference that creates knowledge, provides and shares expert views on fashion topics that are important to fashion industry professionals in Asia. It’s on from today till 17 May 2014 at Suntec City Convention Centre. 

Beauty & Shopping, International Fashion

The Material World Accessories Edit, May Issue – Denise Li

Bags! Sunnies! Shoes! By the truckful! I wasn’t planning on doing another fashion-related post so soon, but having seen previews of these beautiful pieces in the past few days, I just couldn’t wait to share them with you.

I maintain that accessories are still the best way to (not-so-literally) wear your personality on your sleeve; a bright bag instantly elevates a conservative work wardrobe, while an outrageous pair of sunnies will make passersby do a double take when they walk by you on the street.

These spring/summer, pre-fall pieces all have one thing in common: They are timeless shapes given super modern updates, like Prada’s bejewelled cat-eye sunglasses in colours of the rainbow, and Victoria Beckham’s doctor bag encased in tweed (her collection will be available at On Pedder stores locally, hurrah!).

When it comes to accessories this season, here’s what you need to keep in mind:

1. Small bags are the way to go

Most women already own a large-ish bag that functions as an everyday day they bring to work, but small bags have their advantages as well. If you’re a compulsive hoarder like I am, small bags will get you into the habit of regularly clearing it of receipts and other miscellaneous items that accumulate all too quickly. You’ll also be surprised at how little you need to survive on a day-to-day basis when you’re carrying a small bag. (Note to self: I really don’t need to carry around FOUR pink lipsticks of varying shades with me all the time).

Givenchy Mini Nightingale

Givenchy Mini Nightingale, available at Bag Bistro

Victoria Beckham, available at On Pedder

Victoria Beckham, available at On Pedder

Clutch, Alexander McQueen, available at On Pedder

Clutch, Alexander McQueen, available at On Pedder

2. When it comes to sunglasses, go big or go home.

And I’m not just talking about size here. Sunnies are also a great way of helping you step out of your style comfort zone. If you’re a strictly monochrome girl who wants to start playing around with prints, colours, or embellishments, sunglasses with such designs will ease you into the process. Plus, they make great conversation starters.

Prada, available at Prada boutiques and selected optical stores

Prada, available at Prada boutiques and selected optical stores

Miu Miu, available at Miu Miu boutiques and selected optical stores

Miu Miu, available at Miu Miu boutiques and selected optical stores

Miu Miu, available at Miu Miu boutiques and selected optical stores

Miu Miu, available at Miu Miu boutiques and selected optical stores

3. When it comes to shoes, towering heels aren’t the only chic options. Even for work.

I was a bridesmaid at Deborah’s wedding recently, and for the ceremony, I decided to wear my Melissa + Karl Lagerfeld heels. While it is one of the most comfortable pairs of heels I’ve ever owned (also, gorgeous, if I may say so myself), I really couldn’t foresee myself wearing them for the whole night. Heels really don’t mix well with Jaeger Bombs and rum & cokes. Plus, even the men were making fun of the way I was tottering around in them. Anyway, I changed out into my trusty Adidas high-top sneakers for the rest of the night and it was only the best decision ever. I survived the night of wine, beer, Jaeger bombs, and whisky (relatively) intact.

On the other end of the spectrum are women so committed to wearing heels that they will cross hell and high water in them. I should know. Twice a week, I head to one of Singapore’s largest publishing houses to help out at one of their titles’ beauty desks as one of their writers is away on maternity leave. The office is located on the third storey and … there is no lift, owing to the fact that it’s a really old building. Still, I see many women making the faithful trek up and down three flights of stairs in their stilettoes and I always take the time to admire their dexterity. It sounds like I’m being facetious or satirical here but really, I’m just jealous. Jealous at how they remain so fleet-footed despite their own natural heels being in a permanent state of being lifted three inches off the ground, when I myself have tripped and fallen on those very same stairs WEARING MY SNEAKERS.

I am, however, resigned to the fact that my flat, broad feet are adamant about remaining footloose (haha) and fancy-free so I’ll probably be wearing sneakers till I’m 80.

The point of this overly long-drawn out anecdote is this: Wear heels. Or not. Wear whatever feels good. But I’m of the firm belief that heels aren’t only the chic, office-appropriate options out there, ESPECIALLY if you work in a creative environment. Don’t believe me? Then check out these options from On Pedder:

Charlotte Olympia, available at On Pedder

Charlotte Olympia, available at On Pedder

Sophia Webster, available at On Pedder

Sophia Webster, available at On Pedder

Robert Clergerie, available at On Pedder

Robert Clergerie, available at On Pedder

Nicholas Kirkwood, available at On Pedder

Nicholas Kirkwood, available at On Pedder

About the Author: Denise Li is a founder of Material World and a freelance writer-editor. Before that, she spent a few years in the Features section of CLEO and Cosmopolitan Singapore. She considers Chiang Mai her spiritual home and makes it a point to head there for a yearly pilgrimage. She’s also a fitness buff and enjoys boxing, running and the occasional yoga session. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseLiTweets.

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Beauty & Shopping, International Fashion, Malls & Boutiques

NewsFASH: Pieces That Will Help You Stand Out – Denise Li

Because looking like one of the crowd is just … boring.

Have you heard of the term “normcore”? A hipster backlash, it’s a fashion “trend” where you dress to blend in (think: white t-shirts, blue jeans, no visible labels), rather than to stand out.

Personally, I’m not a fan. I think fashion is supposed to be fun – to help you express your personality on the outside, to help you create your own “branding”. To think that some usually fashionable people wear clothes to look as ordinary and unimpressive as possible just to make a statement … fashion really is crazy I guess.

Thank goodness normcore has remained somewhat of a micro-trend. If you intend on trawling the stores in the next couple of months or so, you’ll find plenty of cool statement-making pieces to love. Here are our top five picks.



iRoo is one of those stores that continually surprise its customers; one month, you’ll find flirty feminine pieces, the next, you’ll see punk chic pieces like these worthy of Blondie herself.

For a full listing of iRoo stores, click on this link.

Kate Moss x Topshop

1st Campaign Shot (2)


Playsuit, $169

Playsuit, $169

Fringe leather jacket, $439

Fringe leather jacket, $439

As if Kate Moss anything would look boring! This collaboration was anything but subtle – think tassels, leather, lots of fringe, and tons of embellishment. It’s a pretty comprehensive collection that’ll take you from afternoon brunch to late-night parties.

For a full listing of Topshop stores in Singapore, click on this link.

Funky Sunglasses

Dolce & Gabbana

Dolce & Gabbana



The best and easiest way to add pizzazz to your look!

Dolce & Gabbana and Prada sunglasses are available at the respective brand boutiques.

Melissa’s designer collections


Melissa Black Tie + Karl Lagerfeld

Let’s face it: When Melissa shoes was introduced to the market, its fate could have easily gone the way of Crocs. Not only has Melissa managed to maintain their popularity, the brand has grown from strength to strength. It has collaborated with a number of designers and sees no sign of stopping, if it’s FW 2014 collection is anything to go by. Melissa once again collaborates with The Kaiser and Jason Wu, but also adds Gareth Pugh and Campana Brothers to its esteemed list of collaborators.

The Melissa FW 2014 collection is available from July 2014. The new MDreams Boutique, which stocks Melissa shoes, will also open in July 2014 at #01-11/12 One Raffles Place.

About the Author: Denise Li is a founder of Material World and a freelance writer-editor. Before that, she spent a few years in the Features section of CLEO and Cosmopolitan Singapore. She considers Chiang Mai her spiritual home and makes it a point to head there for a yearly pilgrimage. She’s also a fitness buff and enjoys boxing, running and the occasional yoga session. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseLiTweets.

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Le Pliage Cuir Personalised By Longchamp

Beauty & Shopping, International Fashion

Le Pilage Cuir Personalized by Longchamp – Deborah Tan

Longchamp celebrates the 20th anniversary of its iconic Le Pilage bag this year and, as a treat for its die-hard fans, the brand is marking it by allowing you to personalize your own Le Pilage Cuir. Deborah Tan gets her own Le Pilage Cuir in this story.

Admittedly, I’m not a fan of Longchamp’s Le Pilage nylon bags. But when I was introduced to the Le Pilage Cuir, my heart warmed just a tad bit towards the world-famous foldable bag. And when Denise returned from her holiday in Belgium with a brand new Longchamp Planetes (a bag inspired by the Le Pilage), I was officially flirting with the idea of putting money down for a Longchamp tote.

The Le Pilage Cuir – although made of leather – is foldable, just like its nylon sister. Made from a specially crafted leather that is soft, supple, yet strong, the Le Pilage Cuir retains the bag’s iconic foldability without cracking.

You can fold the Le Pilage Cuir just like how you would with the Le Pilage nylon.

You can fold the Le Pilage Cuir just like how you would with the Le Pilage nylon.

This invitation to personalize my own Le Pilage Cuir couldn’t have come at a better time. For this, I made my way to the Longchamp boutique at Paragon.

First, you choose the size. Although the personalization service is available for a clutch, to truly get a bag that’s uniquely yours, I recommend you go with a proper Le Pilage bag. I’m looking for a bag that I can use as a work-bag when I travel so, it’s gotta fit my laptop, charger, phone, notebook, Kindle and a multitude of stationery and chargers. The Medium, which measures 32cm by 28cm by 17cm, is a bit too small. I decided to go BIG (40cm by 31cm by 18cm)!

This is the Le Pilage Cuir in Big.

This is the Le Pilage Cuir in Big.

Next, it’s to the shop’s iPad to personalize my bag. You get up to 8 colors to choose from for every part of the bag (with the exception of the lining) – how’s that for choice! Every part of the bag can be personalized – body, handle and flap, shoulder strap, tabs, and the inner lining. You even can put your initials on the bag to mark it as yours.

For an idea of how crazy you can go, here’s one where every part has been given a different color:

You can pick a color for every component of the bag.

You can pick a color for every component of the bag.


Some thoughts that crossed my mind as I was personalizing my Le Pilage Cuir included …

1. “STOP CHOOSING BLACK! If you wanted a black bag, just get a black bag.”

Screen shot 2014-04-17 at PM 01.59.22

2. “Hmmm … this looks like an ACJC bag …”

Red, blue and yellow - AC colors!

Red, blue and yellow – AC colors!

3. “Okay, now I’m just going crazy! Will I ever carry an orange bag?!?!”


In the end, I came up with 3 combinations I really liked. As much as I wanted to create a bag that reeks of my individuality and creativity, I decided it still has to be a bag that I would want to carry every day and one that wouldn’t look too out of place with my wardrobe of black dresses. Can you guess which one I went for in the end?

Which one did I pick?

Which one did I pick?

Once you’ve decided on your design, an order is sent through to France. Your bag will take about 6 weeks to make. Before I end, here’s what Vanessa said she would put on her bag (I decided to make a sombre looking one for some contrast):

What Vanessa's bag might say ... haha!

What Vanessa’s bag might say … haha!

The Le Pilage Cuir Personalized is exclusively available at Longchamp’s Paragon boutique. Deborah was invited to experience the service for review purposes. All opinions are her own. The post was neither paid for nor advised by Longchamp.


About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, and Suits. She hopes her bag will be ready by the time she heads to Japan for a work trip! Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

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1. 7 Ways To Rock Pantone’s Color Of The Year

2. How To Care For Leather

3. I Bought A Designer Bag And …

Beauty & Shopping, International Fashion

How To Care For Leather – Denise Li

Buying designer leather shoes or bags is somewhat of an investment. We speak to an expert to find out how you can maximise your ROI on it.

When I bought my first designer leather bag a few months ago, I took EXTRA good care of it. I would check and double check each and every surface before placing my bag on it. I freaked out big time when I once accidentally spilled tea on it. I took it to Belgium last December and would worry about the bag getting wet whenever it rained (which was every day. Shitty European weather.)

After awhile, I realised that I was just being silly. After all, I bought a designer bag because I wanted to own something of high quality. And since I paid so much for it, surely it would be able withstand being thrown around a little?

Beyond making sure that it wasn’t going to be sitting on spilled food at the food court and rubbing a little leather conditioner on it every now and then, I realised that I didn’t really know how to care for leather, this being my first quality purchase and all, so I asked Richard Siccardi, a footwear manufacturer and leather expert for some easy leather care tips. Mr Siccardi has had more than 20 years in the footwear business and is also a trainer at Ars Sutoria, a renowned footwear school based in Milan. He’s worked with with brands such as Manolo Blahnik, Christian Loboutin and Collette Dinnigan.

Footwear expert Richard Siccardi

Footwear expert Richard Siccardi

What are the characteristics of quality leather?

The main characteristics of leather are good tear resistance, elasticity, breathability. Quality leather should also have air and vapor permeability, thermal insulation and be able to retain its shape well. Some standards of quality are fixed by the rules and regulation of various international organisations.

Using a leather conditioner on our bags once every few months – is this sufficient to maintain our bags’ quality?

For standard cleaning, regular leather conditioners work well to remove dust and grease. Where you store your bag is also very important. The bags needs to “breathe” and should not be stored in plastic bags. It is also good to air the bags at least twice a year to help prevent mould from growing on your bags. 

Think of leather as skin ... and what does skin need to look its healthy best? Moisture, of course.

Think of leather as skin … and what does skin need to look its healthy best? Moisture, of course.

What’s the difference between a leather cleaner and a leather conditioner?

Leather cleaners are a mix of light solvents that help “dissolve” dirt, whereas conditioners rehydrate your bags and help keep its fibres in tiptop shape.

What’s the best way to get stains out of a leather bag/shoes?

First, you first need to understand the kind of leather you’re working with. If the leather is Nappa or suede, go to a professional for help unless you have experience caring for leather.

To get stains out of regular leather, here are the steps you need to get the stains out of your bag: First, get a quality cleaner and apply it to a small and not very visible corner of the bag to see how the leather reacts to it. Leave the product on for five minutes. Next use a cotton cloth to “absorb” the stain diluted by the cleaner. Take care not to “spread” the cleaner around the bag. Dab at it instead. If the stain remains despite your best efforts, you may try using a coloured cream to cover the stain. However, do note that this is not advisable unless you’ve had experienced doing it.

Given Singapore’s hot and humid conditions, are there any extra steps we need to take to care for leather?

You need to make sure that your bags are able to “breathe” as much as possible. Try to leave them close to a place where this is a lot of air-flow, such as the air-conditoner or by a window, and be sure not to put them close to items that have already been attacked by mould.

About the Author: Denise Li is a founder of Material World and a freelance writer-editor. Before that, she spent a few years in the Features section of CLEO and Cosmopolitan Singapore. She considers Chiang Mai her spiritual home and makes it a point to head there for a yearly pilgrimage. She’s also a fitness buff and enjoys boxing, running and the occasional yoga session. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseLiTweets.

Beauty & Shopping, International Fashion

Because Kate Moss Wore Those Boots! – Deborah Tan

I’m not someone who’s easily swayed into buying something just because my favorite celebrity or supermodel is endorsing it. But there was ONE picture I saw that made me very determined to get my hands on a pair of Hunter boots (wellingtons, strictly speaking). It was a picture of Kate Moss. The supermodel was caught on camera wearing a pair at a music festival. She wore her mud-splattered Hunter boots with such a casual getup, I thought to myself, “Wow! This would totally work for hot and wet Singapore!” I imagined myself fashionably trotting around town in exactly the same thing. Well, I definitely forgot something – I do not have the model’s long, skinny legs. But it’s okay! Who says I have to look like Kate Moss to enjoy beautiful shoes! I bought the Hunters anyway!

Kate Moss rocks out in Hunter boots, mud and all.

Kate Moss rocks out in Hunter boots, mud and all.

Such is the power of one of the world’s most recognizable faces in fashion. And this season, Kate Moss tempts me once again with her mile-long legs in boots created by well-loved shoe designer Stuart Weitzman. Photographed by Mario Testino, the black and white images once again put into spotlight the model’s effortlessly stylish casual look.

Kate Moss in Stuart Weitzman's Fall/Winter 2013 ad campaign

Kate Moss in Stuart Weitzman’s Fall/Winter 2013 ad campaign

Boots take centerstage in Weitzman’s Fall/Winter campaign. From the thigh-highs you see on Kate Moss to lace-up combat boots to menswear-inspired Chelsea boots, this collection scores points among the frequent flyer set for its comfort, style, and great construction.

Some of my favorites are:



1. NEGEV – Masculine in inspiration, feminine in its detail, this ankle-high boot is perfect for our weather. Wear with pants or jeans, or even with a skirt-blazer combo.

Screen shot 2013-12-05 at PM 10.04.58


2. WORKOUT – Grunge-inspired, this boot is made to look like it will survive a hike up the mountains! But it’s got a hidden wedge (extra height! I like!) and its luxe material of soft suede makes it the perfect companion with shorts and skater dresses!

Looking for a pair of boots that ticks all the boxes for style and comfort? Then listen closely …


From December 11 to 13, simply flash the e-invite below to gain entry to the Stuart Weitzman sale happening at its store in Ngee Ann City. You can look forward to awesome deals on the designer’s creations for Fall/Winter 2013 and more! So free up your lunch hour tomorrow, the day after AND the day after to go shoe-shopping with your friends!

Don’t just stand there. GET MOVING ALREADY!

Flash this invite to gain entry to the event!

Flash this invite to gain entry to the event!

This article is brought to you by Stuart Weitzman. All opinions are the author’s own and were not vetted by the label. Please see our advertising policy here. Want to receive more of such information in future? Fill in the form below and we’ll add your email address to our mailing list!

Beauty & Shopping, International Fashion

[Infographic] Need To Know: Online Shopping Tips – Tan Lili

With Black Friday happening today and Cyber Monday just three days away, it’s the weekend online shopping sale and you know what this means … guard your credit cards, everyone!

If last year’s statistics were any indication, Singaporeans must really love online shopping. There was a 21-percent increase in sales from Singapore buyers during the Black Friday weekend in 2012, as compared to the year before. In fact, the busiest day recorded for online shopping activity in Singapore last year during the festive season was Cyber Monday – apparently, we were shopping at a rate of 10 transactions per minute from overseas websites.

But as ecommerce websites get busy this weekend, so do cybercriminals. If you think mobile shopping is the safest bet, you couldn’t be more wrong. In the US, smartphones are identified as the least secure purchasing platform – 1.3 percent of ecommerce sales via mobile shopping are fraudulent, as opposed to 0.8 percent via desktops and 0.5 percent via tablets.

For tips on how to stay safe during this online shopping bonanza, check out this infographic by PayPal:

SG - The International Shopping Spree Online Race Kit material world

About The Author: A founder of Material World, Tan Lili has previously worked in magazines The Singapore Women’s Weekly and Cosmopolitan Singapore, as well as (now, the online counterpart of Her World). She is now a freelance writer who works on this website full-time. Lili hopes to travel the world, work with wild animals, and discover more awesome Twilight fan-fiction. Follow her on Twitter @TanLiliTweets.

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