Dressed to Thrill

by David Fuhrmann-Lim


The Singapore fashion scene continues to develop at pace. We talk to four local designers instrumental in the surge of international interest in Singaporean design.


Started in 2012, K.BLU Swim is luxury swimwear developed and designed for Asian women who enjoy sea-sports and want swimwear that is fashionable yet functional. It was founded by Lyn Rosmarin and named after her daughter Kenzi. We asked her about her collection.

What sets your designs apart from your competitors?

Rosmarin: The fitting and the sense of practicality. I fit my swimwear on Asian women, so my swimwear caters to the smaller Asian frame. K.BLU’s designs are also elegant, yet practical — I ask myself why one would wear a certain piece of swimwear before finalising each design.

Who are your regular customers?

I get customers from all over the world. Most tend to be confident, fashionable individuals who are looking for something a little different.

What can shoppers look forward to in this collection, and what’s the hot item this season?

This collection is a great mix of functionality and high fashion. I think that any piece would make a great addition to any wardrobe. Le Grande Bleu exudes confidence and elegance, while Gems Ashore offers added functionality. So far, a lot of women are drawn to the detachable camisole top and bottom from Gems Ashore as it provides a two-in-one look. The bikini top is reversible with one side in solid blue, and the other in a seashell-inspired print. In addition, you can button on the attachable camisole anytime you want to change your look. It’s a very versatile set, and it was something that I was excited to develop.


Tel: +65 6696 6961 (to make an appointment in the showroom)

Website: www.kblu.com

Social Media: 

facebook / instagram / pinterest / twitter




Workshop Element is a retail pop-up store pioneered by local fashion veteran Alfie Leong, representing local and regional designers as a singular, cohesive collective.

Leong launched W.E.#3 (its third iteration) in June 2014, which also carries his own label AWOL (All Walks of Life) and Mu. Leong describes W.E as a business but also a place to support Singapore’s fashion scene. He curates the designers for the shop, and it attracts a wide range of customers, “from students to people who are 60 years old,” he adds.

What can shoppers look forward to in the latest collection, and what’s the hot item this season? 

They can expect to see more black and white, in both plain and printed forms. One of the most well-loved items this time round is a pinned-up dress. I usually experiment with draping, so that has become one of my signatures.


Workshop Element (W.E.)

313 Orchard Rd,


Singapore 238895.

Tel: +65 6634 14 34





Jo Soh studied fashion design at St Martins and launched hansel at the Mercedes Australian Fashion Week in Melbourne in 2013. It immediately attracted a lot of media attention and she’s parlayed all that interest into full collections in an Orchard Road store. She’s also won design awards for her quirky yet wearable clothes – usually bought by 25-45 year old working professionals. hansel has collections with a different whimsical theme every season and uses custom printed fabrics developed from Soh’s original hand-drawn art.

When asked why her clothes are so popular, Soh says it’s because she’s a problem solver: “I feel accomplished and excited when my customers tell me the impact that my designs have had on their daily lives. From loving the practical hidden pockets in their dresses, to the designs being so flexible they can wear it pre-, during and post-pregnancy, or that their hansel dress is their ‘happy dress’!”

Hansel’s latest range has three different unique prints inspired by the quintessential symbol of festivity, fairy lights. Named ‘Fairy Lights, coiled Lights and String Lights’ the collection’s hottest selling item is the Fairy Lights Printed Maxi Dress at $419.



#02-14 Mandarin Gallery

333A Orchard Road

Singapore 2388867

Tel: +65 6836 5367



Instagram: @josoh_hansel 

Official online retailer: 





Arc was started in August 2012 by Islean Valath. It’s a homegrown brand that speaks to a more sophisticated, grown-up woman, or as Valath puts it, “a corporate femme fatale type who is in control and doesn’t mind if others know it.”

The clothes are technically acceptable in the workplace, but still push the boundaries a little. Let’s just say the ARC woman doesn’t mind a raised eyebrow here and there.

On her structured and sleek designs, Valath says: “I have finally come to a strong and definite brand ethos which I will be developing further with future collections. Corporate women are attracted to the brand. I think it could be the sense of power these outfits exude. Most of them are in their 30s to early 40s, very successful, incredibly independent. One of my best customers is an MD at a Swiss investment bank and despite having two young children to keep her busy, is training to climb Mount Everest. I find women like her inspirational.”

What can shoppers look forward to in this collection, and what’s the hot item this season?

The mermaid skirts have been very popular, most likely because they’re cut in a very flattering manner, whereas many mermaid skirts can be problematic for curvier hips.

My favourite piece for FW2014 though is probably the cape-jacket in wool cashmere, because whilst I keep it practical when I travel, I secretly want to look fashionable for the photos. This cape-jacket goes so well with everything, from long-sleeve tops, to sleeveless dresses. I wore it everyday recently in Bhutan; it kept me both warm and stylish.


ARC Showroom

8 Emerald Hill

(For appointments,

email islean@arcival.com)

Instagram: @arcbyislean






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