As the country continues to celebrate SG50 with special events, promotions and shows, we spoke to fashion designer Eileen Yap, from the local brand Noel Caleb, about her ongoing Singapore Fashion Runway project. This community embracing initiative, which runs until the end of the year, looks to design a new national dress for Singapore, inspired by the county’s history and the diverse cultures of its population.


What are the main aims for Singapore Fashion Runway? What do you hope to achieve?

 Noel Caleb

Bridging fashion communities from past to present and the future, Singapore Fashion Runway (SFR) is a nationwide initiative that aims to gather Singaporeans and Singapore residents from all walks of life to co-create and try their hand in designing the national dress of Singapore inspired by Singapore for Singapore. Through this project, we will bring together traditional fashion traders from Singapore’s pioneer generation such as textile manufacturers, tailors and craftsmen, present-day contemporary fashion designers, and students who are aspiring fashion designers. Together, they will be tasked to design 50 fashion pieces that will be showcased in the ultimate Singapore Fashion Runway to be held at the end of 2015.

The aims for Singapore Fashion Runway is to create an opportunity for Singaporeans and Singapore residents to do a project inspired by our nation, in a fashionable way. Fashion is not only about clothes, it’s about creativity, self-expression and art.


What is unique about the Singapore fashion scene?


The Singapore fashion scene is unique because we are an economically strong country with well-positioned international branding. As a country, we attract people from various countries, ethnicities, religions and races to live here harmoniously. The uniqueness about the Singapore fashion scene is that we are backed by strong government support and that means a lot when you want to kick-start or internationalise your brand. If you are a local fashion brand, you get assistance from government agencies such as Spring Singapore and Textile and Fashion Federation Singapore to kick-start your fashion business or brand. The Singapore fashion scene is vibrant, with big established brands like Raoul and Charles and Keith. And every year, the government organises the Singapore Fashion Week (previously known as the Audi Fashion Festival) where we see well-known international designers and models alongside our homegrown labels.


What events have been held so far this year? When will we see the final results?


We launched the SG50 Singapore Fashion Runway on June 6 – 7 this year at the Singapore Expo. From August to December 2015, we are also planning runway shows which will showcase the designs inspired by Singapore, by Singaporeans and Singapore residents. We will promote these pieces and gather the public and media from the fashion industry to vote for their favourites. By December 2015, the best 50 Singapore pieces will be showcased at the finale runway show.


Where did the idea for Singapore Fashion Runway originate?

The Singapore Fashion Runway idea originated because we wanted to get Singaporeans and Singapore residents to learn more about our local talents and do a creative project together in a fashionable way. In 2011, I started my own local fashion brand known as Noel Caleb. As a new fashion label, we had to kick-start a brand, build brand awareness, design our own collection, sew, and then market and sell. We realised that resources were limited. Today, through our efforts and the realisation of various people’s dreams, we allow our customers and fans to co-design certain pieces with us. Thus, we feel that if we bring this co-creation concept to a bigger level, we could also get Singaporeans and Singapore residents to come together to design, co-create and co-sew the outfits. This would realise our vision of: One Project, One Fashion, One Singapore Dream.


Who are the emerging talents of the local fashion scene?

I hope I can be considered! We started our fashion mentorship programme in 2014 and we see many young designers and professionals coming on board. Chere & Dillon is one label from our mentorship programme that I especially like because they are eco-friendly, have strong aesthetics and a positive attitude.


How does SG50 make you feel as a Singaporean?

Over 50 years, Singapore has progressed so much! I feel very proud to witness this development as a Singaporean.


What advice would you give to the younger generation looking to establish their design talents?


I would say join our Noel Caleb fashion mentorship programme, and take part in  SG50 Singapore Fashion Runway. Singapore is your runway. Live it. Believe in it!

Images courtesy of Singapore Fashion Runway

 For more information, visit noelcaleb.com or singaporefashionrunway.com.



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