Ever found yourself at a loss when a friend from out of town asks you where they can get their hands on well-crafted, non-kitschy souvenirs? Or when you're asked for a list of local fashion labels to give them a sense of the Singaporean fashion scene?
Come 25 January, you won't be in a fix anymore: Design Orchard, a new three-storey, multi-concept space aimed at nurturing and shining a spotlight on homegrown design brands, will officially be opening its doors on Orchard Road.
The first floor will house a retail showcase run by retailer Naiise that features 61 designed-in-Singapore labels encompassing fashion, beauty and wellness, home furnishings and food. Visitors will be able to shop from a mix of established names (Depression, GINLEE Studio, Yacht 21 and Weekend Sundries, to name a few) as well as emerging brands like QLOTHÈ and Esse.
Adding on to the shopping experience, the showcase will be technologically-equipped with features like interactive mirrors where customers can learn about the products in-store, as well mobile pods for fuss-free self-checkouts. On top of that, Naiise intends to hold workshops, seminars and other events at the space to create a one-of-a-kind experience.
But Design Orchard isn't just shaping up to be an exciting retail destination along Singapore's famous district. Its bigger goal is priming local emerging designers to take their businesses worldwide. And they have plenty of measures in place for that, such as Naiise's business mentorship programme led by well-known entrepreneurs like Unlisted Collection founder Loh Lik Peng, Spa Esprit Group founder Cynthia Chua and Motherswork founder Sharon Wong.
There's also The Cocoon Space, an incubation space on the second level of Design Orchard that is run by The Textile and Fashion Federation Singapore (Taff). There, independent designers and fashion businesses will be able to take advantage of resources like co-working areas, a Makers Studio, professional sewing equipment and an expansive Fabric Library. This, coupled with Taff's incubation program, The Bridge Fashion Incubator, are designed to help aspiring fashion startups take off.
Up on the rooftop, which is filled with lush greenery and timber seats, Design Orchard will host events for both its brands and the public; it will also serve as space for leisure where visitors can go to take a break from the busle of Orchard Road below. Get a firsthand experience of it yourself later this month, when Design Orchard officially opens at the junction of Orchard Road and Cairnhill Road.