Day 1: Orchard Road

Shoppers outside the Emporio Armani boutique at Mandarin Gallery at night
1 Orchard Road

A world-renowned shopper’s paradise, Singapore is noted as one of the world’s most business-friendly cities, which attracts both famous international brands and local designers to set up shop in our business-friendly metropolis. Through Singapore’s inspiring plethora of local wares, shoppers can catch a glimpse of our city state’s history and our designers’ influences.

In service-oriented Singapore where retail is a holistic experience, collectors can bear witness, through countless goods and services, to the cultural diversity that makes Singapore the uncanny melting pot.

One of the most famous shopping belts in the world, Orchard Road evolves continually and provides its shoppers with numerous options and experiences to be had. It continually sees the rise of gleaming new malls like 268 Orchard Road, which recently welcomed Surrender.

Girl posing in an off-white pink cap and denim jacket
2 Surrender

A Singaporean success story, Surrender is the brainchild of owner Earn Chen, whose dream to set up an underground multi-label boutique in Singapore, was realised two decades ago.

Today, the boutique introduces up and coming labels like Fxxking Rabbits and Fear of God to Singapore’s growing fashion-savvy community.

Surrender is flanked within 268 Orchard Road by Japanese label Christian Dada and American label Off-White, which let their collectors reinvent themselves with the most cutting-edge looks in fashion today.

View of TANGS at night from across the road
3 TANGS

Slightly further up Orchard Road, TANGS has persisted as a household name in Singapore since before the Second World War. Housed within a majestic pseudo-Chinese building in the middle of the belt, TANGS is an ardent supporter of local designers such as Aijek, which purveys affordable high street styles, and In Good Company, which expanded from an accessories brand to a full-fledged international purveyor of bold apparel.

Other luminaries who have elevated Singapore’s fashion scene include streetwear maven Mark Ong of SBTG and award-winning womenswear designer Priscilla Shunmugam of Ong Shunmugam, whose creations can be purchased from Haji Lane and Holland Village respectively.

Arguably the founder of Orchard Road shopping belt, Tang Choon Keng arrived in Singapore from China in 1923 with just two trunks of lace and linen. Tang laboriously hawked his wares from door to door until he was able to set up his own shop. After World War II, Tang set up the third ‘House of Tang’ along Scotts Road, which ignited the metamorphosis of the Orchard Road precinct into a world-class retail district.

Take a walk in Singaporeans’ shoes by picking up footwear from popular local shoe retailers Charles & Keith and Pedro. Their numerous branches in the city centre teem with shoppers every day and their immense success has led to these labels opening several outlets across Singapore, around the world and even online.

A couple’s silhouette walking down the steps outside Paragon at night
4 Paragon

Two-decade-old luxury mall—Paragon allows the ardent collector to indulge in the world’s most esteemed brands, while ION Orchard encourages collectors to walk through its above-ground and underground strips, where collectibles of a wide range of price points are up for grabs.

Day 2: The Civic District

Woman in a Sabrina Goh white dress
1 Capitol Theatre

Singaporeans used to flock to Capitol Theatre, which was revived in 2015 to comprise of chic boutiques surrounding its restored vintage-style theatre.

Complemented by decorated cafes like Angelina and 1933 by Toast Box, Capitol Piazza invites its visitors to expand their wardrobes with captivating creations from local labels like Elohim by Sabrina Goh and Benjamin Barker. It resides in the Civic District, which was sanctioned by Singapore’s former colonial masters as the trading port’s centre of commerce and governance.

“When I first started out, almost everything was challenging, because I was building something new from scratch,” shares award-winning designer Sabrina Goh, whose wares now hold their own weight in the Capitol Piazza beside those of international titans like Marimekko and Dr. Martens. “Nine years later, we are now focusing on creating designs that we love and showcasing them on international platforms in the USA, China and Paris every season. More than just building a brand, we hope to build a community who loves and values good design and craftsmanship as much as we do.”

Exterior of National Design Centre, with event posters on wall pillars
2 National Design Centre

A short walk up Victoria Street, the National Design Centre (NDC) is housed within a former convent built more than a century ago and promotes good design and local creatives. Besides its constant influx of fascinating exhibitions, the NDC also empowers numerous local designers, including Carrie K. whose founder Carolyn Kan left the corporate world in 2009 to pursue her passion for off-kilter jewellery designer.

Stacked ceramic plates of various sizes from Supermama
3 Haji Lane

We highly recommend venturing into the pulsating alleys of Haji Lane and Arab Street, where contemporary genres of music and imaginative murals enliven its envelope-pushing passageways.

Experience the cuisines of the array of eateries that call this historic quarter home, which range from Singapore’s famous unnamed Teh Sarabat (traditional Malay tea) stall to the immensely popular live music hangout Blu Jaz Café. Have a suit or sari tailored for you by one of Arab Street’s revered ateliers, or up your street cred in one of Haji Lane’s irreverent streetwear boutiques.

One of this neighbourhood’s most talked about tenants is Supermama, whose Singapore-themed homeware showcases fashionable yet functional contemporary styles. “Supermama is all about thoughtful design and authentic craftsmanship,” describes its founder Edwin Low, who named his store of curios after his multitasking wife. “Our customers get to enjoy our design collections, produced in collaboration with Singaporean designers and Japanese makers, as well as the many different stories that they tell.”

Timbre at The Arts House
4 The Arts House

As for collectors seeking to catch the sunset along the Singapore River, souvenirs galore can be acquired from The Arts House, the former Parliament House that has been converted into a fine arts performance venue. Have a taste of Singapore’s emerging arts scene here, or join in the river’s teeming nightlife by dropping into live music watering holes Timbre @ The Arts House and the Barber Shop by Timbre.

Another world-class performance venue, the Esplanade too is within walking distance and invites collectors to stroll through its eclectic retail outlets even after the sun sets.

Day 3: Katong

Kim Choo Kueh Chang shopfront at Katong
1 Kim Choo Kueh Chang

“Katong is the gateway to Peranakan culture,” enthuses Raymond Wong, who is an internationally lauded Singaporean designer of traditional Peranakan kebaya (ladies’ dress) and frequently flies around the world to customise dresses for his clients. “Katong and Joo Chiat introduce visitors to the many compelling and interwoven facets of Singapore’s cultures.”

Raymond is also the son of Joo Chiat’s beloved Kim Choo Kueh Chang, whose Peranakan sticky rice cakes are unsurpassed in the peninsula and are often brought home by travellers. He invites collectors to admire the many handicrafts and sweet treats that are still sold in Katong’s colourful shophouses and are representative of the Peranakans’ rich way of life.

Lady in a traditional Peranakan kebaya, walking down the steps.
2 The Intan

Alvin Yapp too welcomes collectors to experience the unique culture of the Peranakans, which is still very much alive in this tranquil settlement.

“The Intan is an intimate Peranakan home museum,” he describes of his passion project that is now an esteemed cultural showcase. “Visitors will experience uniquely colourful heritage through the eyes of a private collector who started his collection 30 years ago while searching for his roots,” he describes of himself and the museum he has amassed.

Man stopping by a stall along Joo Chiat Complex
3 Joo Chiat Complex

On nearby Joo Chiat Road, historic Joo Chiat Complex has been revamped into an indoor mall to offer collectors a comfortable yet authentic experience. Recommended by Lonely Planet, Joo Chiat Complex is where traditional Malay-Muslim handicrafts, clothing and jewellery can be had at reasonable prices, a stone’s throw from several adept hawkers who nourish the neighbourhood with traditional Muslim-friendly eats.

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