Like department stores, the retailers here cover your daily needs, from fashion to homeware. The difference: They’re intimate, design-driven and have a distinct POV.
What: Local entrepreneur Dennis Tay’s two-year-old online store with roving pop-ups. The latest at Westgate (#01-30, 10am-10pm daily, tel: 6702-3284) is its first housed within a brick-and-mortar space, biggest ever (1,500 sq ft) and longest running (open till March 2016). Sourcing both locally and globally, the company carries over 300 brands, from Singapore-based Gracesmiths, which specialises in decorative wood carvings and accessories, to Los Angeles-based leather goods maker This Is Ground.
Why visit: Tay believes that well-designed items not only look good, but are also “relatable to everyone with everyday purpose”, so everything is Instagram-worthy yet accessible. Friendly prices aside (from $10 for a notebook), the team looks out for small, functional objects that reflect design trends – for example, it recently brought in marble-patterned iPhone cases and stationery as the material is currently big in furniture. There’s also an infectious feel-good vibe, best seen in its cheeky Singapore-inspired products that include tees with popular Singlish slogans and handmade soap shaped like local confectionery.
(#01-37 UE Square, 12-8pm daily, tel: 6733-1173)
What: The just-over-a-year-old store started by Japanese duo Kozo Kawamura and Kensuke Sato, who both previously worked at hip Tokyo lifestyle label Beams. Describing its style as “new colonial” (or Western-influenced), products are mostly guy-centric, artisanal and sourced from all over the world – think Italian scarf specialist Faliero Sarti and Japanese jeweller Joia De Lequio, whose designs are made of Ryukyu glass. There’s also a small selection of womenswear, and unisex products like sunnies, fashion books and surfboards with the same cool Soho-meets-Ginza DNA.
Why visit: Few male-oriented stores here are this tasteful yet effortless. True to the thoughtful nature of the Japanese, Kawamura and Sato have made sure that all the clothes – including the suits – are lightweight enough for the local climate, with most pieces made of linen. Sartorial hipsters would also dig its in-house label, which debuted recently, offering weekend separates in cotton, denim and seersucker, with a women’s line to come. $30-$6,000
An adapted version of this story first appeared in Female‘s May issue, out on newsstands now.