Young, vibrant and cosmopolitan, Singapore is rapidly becoming a hotspot for industry insiders and fashion lovers alike. And as trend hunters flock to the city-state, it is home-grown brands that are taking centre stage. Local labels are taking inspiration from the city around them and channelling it into products that are making waves across the world. Whether you are in search of luxury jewellery or speciality teas, Singapore’s leading brands should be your first point of call when exploring the Lion City
Kwanpen was founded in 1938 by master craftsman Kwan Pen Seng, whose luxurious handbags attracted an elite clientele. To this day, all the brand’s creations are designed and made in Singapore, using the finest crocodile leather.
Whether you are in search of luxury jewellery or speciality teas, Singapore’s leading brands should be your first point of call when exploring the Lion City
It takes Kwanpen’s highly skilled artisans around 30 hours to handcraft each of its covetable pieces. Its City collection, inspired by the urban landscape of Singapore, comprises a range of handbags that reflect the hustle and bustle of urban life, and would make a memorable souvenir of your trip.
‘Our customers always tell us that the sight of rich colours and the shine of our handbags are what attract them the most,’ says Jonathan Kwan, director of special projects at Kwanpen. ‘There are no identical crocodile leather patterns … every bag is unique and we only craft a few handbags of the same hue,’ he continues. ‘Carrying one of our handbags means carrying a rare piece that only handbag connoisseurs know about.’
For autumn/winter 2017/18, the City collection demonstrates this individuality perfectly, and each colourful handbag is created for functionality as well as style: the bags are effortlessly elegant, and designed to accommodate on-the-go essentials such as tablets. Highlights include the streamlined Cruiser and the roomier but no less sleek Grand Tourer.
Lee Hwa Jewellery
Lee Hwa Jewellery, one of Singapore’s leading fine jewellers, takes a truly contemporary approach. ‘We design for a customer who appreciates the intricacies of fine workmanship and the incorporation of subtle innovation to achieve that truly unique piece,’ explains Chian Yu Xian, the label’s brand manager. Using local craftsmen and in-house designers, the brand has created an aesthetic that reflects the style of Asian women and their ability to combine bold fashion choices with a clean elegance.
The Forevermark collection reinterprets the traditional Chinese ribbon shape, which has long been associated with nobility, celebration and fortune. Fine necklaces and statement rings display the flowing ribbon-bow motif and feature precious Forevermark diamonds, each of which is individually sourced.
Goldheart is another brand to have on your radar. As one of Singapore’s leading bridal jewellers, Goldheart continues to be a pioneer in the art of intricately crafted pieces that honour love and romance.
The latest Mode Gold Avant collection is striking in design, and is made using an innovative and sophisticated process called electroforming: moulding and shaping precious metals to create larger pieces without adding to the overall volume – and therefore weight – of gold used. The result is chunky bangles, rings and earrings that have a surprisingly lightweight feel. Available in white, yellow and rose gold, the range has a soft, feminine aesthetic with an avant-garde edge.
For a less expensive but no less luxurious souvenir of Singapore, look no further than TWG Tea. Founded in 2008 with the aim of celebrating the city-state’s great history as a trading post for teas, spices and fine gourmet products, TWG Tea offers an amazing variety of teas in every form from loose leaf to teabags, as well as beautiful accessories. ‘The Singapore Breakfast Tea is the perfect souvenir as it is a blend evocative of the sophisticated harmony of Singapore, created with the tastes and preferences of Singaporean tea drinkers in mind,’ advises Maranda Barnes, the brand’s co-founder and director of communications. ‘Boasting a natural blend of green tea, black tea, rich vanilla and rare spices, this tea has a complex flavour with a sweet and lingering aftertaste.’
The brand has various locations across the city, many of which feature beautiful salons in which to sample its delicious teas alongside an equally delicious bite to eat. Try the tea patisserie range that features chocolates, bonbons, biscuits and more, flavoured with different teas or infusions. As Barnes says, ‘Food is at the epicentre of life in Singapore, and there is a great curiosity for new taste sensations. All of this makes Singapore the perfect destination for foodies in search of adventure.’ And not just foodies, either …