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IN TUNE WITH FANS
Bynd Artisan and Gentle Bones
44 Jalan Merah Saga #01-54
IT WOULDN'T be wrong to say that Winnie Chan, co-founder of Bynd Artisan, is a big fan of homegrown singer-songwriter Joel Tan, better known by his stage name, Gentle Bones.
She's such a fan that the two of them have come together to collaborate on a limited-edition collection of products, that include a wallet and bag.
"The uniqueness of his music captivates the heart and I am impressed by his ingenious use of iTunes to expand his outreach. He was able to achieve the No 1 spot on the iTunes chart in 2014 and this was definitely not an easy feat for an indie singer then," elaborates Ms Chan, a strong supporter of local talent.
This is not the first time that the leather-binding company has worked with local talents to create special collaborations.
Past collaborations include "Sign Of Our Times" with creative director Larry Peh from &Larry; "The Perfect Sketchbook" with sketch artist and educator Erwin Lian; evening clutch bags with womenswear label Ong Shunmugam; and camouflage painting on Bynd Artisan's leather products with visual artist and painter Cherin Sim.
Ms Chan adds that collaborations with local talent have always been one of Bynd Artisans' unique selling points since day one. "We always knew it was very difficult for local talent to find a good producer of their designs and even if they did, the minimum order quantity would be high, not to mention the costs. By working with local talent, we create a platform where both parties will benefit," she says.
So far, the response for each collaboration has been overwhelming, and most items have sold out. "Followers of both our brand and the designers form a big part of this clientele," says Ms Chan.
Working together, the duo discussed items which Mr Tan wishes to have that would bear both the Gentle Bones and Bynd Artisan names. "A prerequisite is that the items need to appeal to him as a user and also his fans," says Ms Chan. Besides the wallet and bag, the collection includes a T-shirt and cap, which represents Mr Tan's daily necessities. Each product is emblazoned with a motif which Mr Tan conceptualised.
Designed in steel grey, the motif consists of the capital character "S" and is followed by a solid rectangular block of the same colour, an association with Singapore's national registration card number.
The "S" indicates the first alphabet of the NRIC for those born before the millennium and the rectangular box is intentionally left blank to highlight the non-existence of duplicate numbers.
Prices range from S$40 for a cap to S$200 for the drawstring bag which is made of genuine full-grain calf leather. A collaboration between a musician and a leather-binding company may sound like an unlikely partnership but both parties say it works. "Sometimes we really need to think out of the box and it is very refreshing to work with someone who is so much younger and yet has the entrepreneurship and determination to do what he believes in. I hope some of his coolness rubbed off on me," quips Ms Chan.
Meanwhile, Mr Tan says that as a consumer, he doesn't get the chance to be involved in development and production processes. "These back-end efforts are usually taken for granted," he says. "Through this collaboration, I realised the amount of collective brainstorming and hard work behind the birth of every item. I am glad I was able to work with material as intricate as leather."
This will not be the last time that Bynd Artisan will be involved in collaborations. Ms Chan says they are currently working with three other talents, from the fashion, furniture and product design fields.
ON THE RIGHT TREK
PUMA and Limited Edt
TO MARK Singapore's golden jubilee last year, sneaker boutique Limited Edt partnered with PUMA to design a shoe with a distinct Singapore flavour.
Called the Blaze of Glory x Limited Edt SG50 sneaker, the design was inspired by the legend of how Singapore got its name and the Merlion, which explains the reflective 3D fish-scale graphics and faux pony hair on the shoe. Red and white laces as well as a similar-coloured heel complete the look by showcasing Singapore's national colours.
This year, PUMA and Limited Edt have released two more editions with the iconic PUMA DISC sneakers.
DISC Blaze by Limited Edt Chapter 2 is inspired by the founding of Singapore by the British and how it thrived as a port city. Designed with elements reflective of the busy sea lanes, the DISC Blaze by Limited Edt Chapter 2 features a translucent Puma Disc knob, icy blue side panels, and a reflective speckled midsole. The shoe also glows in the dark.
DISC Blaze by Limited Edt Chapter 3 depicts the modern Singapore at present and the inspiration comes through with different shades of grey tones with tree bark camouflage to symbolise the state of being a concrete jungle. Designed to reflect the glossy, clean and urban feel of Singapore, the shoes also feature reflective elements such as a specked midsole, toe guard and panels.
All three shoes pay homage to the national flag with the five-star PUMA and Limited Edt insignia at the heel as well as the red and white detailing on the tongue tab. The custom insole features a lion graphic.
Mandeep Chopra, founder of Limited Edt says: "We wanted to be very ambitious with the designs and sought to tell the story of Singapore via the shoes." The designs were all created by a team of in-house designers. "We had to make sure the designs are commercially viable and still look appealing," he adds.
Limited Edt is no stranger to collaborations, having worked with other brands such as Reebok, New Balance and Vans. "This creative journey has been a really fulfilling one as we got to give our interpretation of the Singapore story and showcase the Limited Edt design philosophy at the same time," says Mr Chopra.
Gabriel Yap, head of marketing at PUMA South-east Asia says that the collaboration resulted in three designs as "there was just too much to Singapore to encapsulate within a single design".
PUMA had originally planned for all three sneakers to be launched last year, but in the end, felt that it was better to focus on telling the Merlion story first, and leave the story of Singapore becoming a sea port and thriving metropolis to this year.
"Through such a collaboration, we help each other grow in the sneaker world, both in market share and in brand awareness," says Mr Yap. "But most importantly, we learnt from each other our brand values, characteristics and fostered a close partnership with such an exercise."
The PUMA Disc x Limited Edt Chapter 2 and 3 retails for S$270 each. Mr Yap says limited quantities have been produced and are now running low. "You may want to hurry to the stores now," he says.
NO MORE 'BORING ART'
Onitsuka Tiger Stripes 50th Anniversary
M66: Of Different Stripes
Pedder on Scotts, Scotts Square Level 2,
(Till Aug 14)
INDUSTRIAL designer Nathan Yong is usually working with materials such as wood and metal for his furniture pieces. But for a recent project, he had to work on an item that he wasn't so familiar with.
Mr Yong is one of 50 local artists/designers who were roped in to interpret the iconic Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 shoes, as part of the brand's 50th anniversary.
"At first instance, I was thinking shoes, how? And then I thought, why not? It could be fun and I see several of my peers in the design field also game to do this and it turned out to be a really fun project," says Mr Yong, founder of furniture brand Grafunkt. "I never thought I would express my designs on a pair of shoes."
Mr Yong dipped his pair of white Mexico 66 shoes partially in an oil-based grey paint to seal the seams in preparation for rainy days. He was curious to find out how oil-based paint would react with the shoes.
"The shoes look like they have been through a grey, wet day, like any shoes would, after a while," says Mr Yong. The soles were painted a neon pink to act as reflectors. Other artists/designers involved in the project include contemporary artist Jahan Loh, fashion designer Sabrina Goh and calligrapher Clarence Wee.
Kenji Oh, marketing director for ASICS Asia, says: "We wanted a diverse and engaging range of interpretations so we invited personalities, hailing from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines including arts and culture, fashion and lifestyle to express themselves creatively on a pair of Onitsuka Tiger shoes." Onitsuka Tiger is the forerunner of ASICS.
Mr Oh elaborates that each artist/designer was asked to channel their personal take on the shoes. They were given plain white shoes, and were free to do what they wanted but had to respect the Onitsuka Tiger Stripes and not alter the overall silhouette of the shoes. The 50 personalities had to work on their interpretation of the shoes themselves.
Some designers chose to transform their shoes totally, while others kept the changes simple. Furniture designers Pamela Ting and Jessica Wong of Scene Shang painted their shoes navy and gold. They titled their work, The Turtle and The Crane.
Ms Wong says their design concept is based on two icons, which are highly revered in Asian culture. On the left shoe, they created a turtle and on the right, the crane. "Together they signify longevity and friendship, making a powerful duo," she says.
They painted the shoes navy to signify the skies and the lakes in which the turtle and crane reside, and painted geometric shapes and lines to portray the shell of a turtle and feathers of a crane. To create a more three-dimensional feel, they bent brass wire by hand to create feathers, and the outline of the turtle shell. The duo also added brass hardware such as drawer pulls from their furniture line to add a bit of the Scene Shang aesthetic to the shoes.
This is the first time that Scene Shang is collaborating with a fashion brand. Ms Ting says that "Onitsuka Tiger and Scene Shang share our roots in an Asian culture, yet we continue to strive to be relevant and contemporary, to be an icon in our respective fields".
She adds that this collaboration was extremely exciting for them to express themselves on another platform that celebrates culture and design.
Printmaker Joseph Chiang is a big fan of Onitsuka Tiger and was pleased to be part of the project, as it exposes his work to a different audience, and at the same time, he was allowed full creative freedom without compromising on his artistic integrity.
His shoes, have the phrase: "I will not make boring art" running across them.
Mr Chiang says his piece is a tribute to the pioneer conceptual artist John Baldessari. In 1970, disillusioned with the state of painting and disgusted with his earlier work, Baldessari burned many of these pieces, staged a funeral, and began making works that featured text and photographs. His seminal work, I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art, is a window into his thinking at the time and his developing interest in conceptual art.
"Inspired by Baldessari, I intended my piece to mark my own departure from representational art to conceptual art, with the shoes symbolising my 'walking away' from my previous life as a representational artist," says Mr Chiang.
Using printmaking techniques, he tried to print the phrase onto the shoe. It was a challenge due to the shoes' uneven surface. In the end, he found some old-school letter transfer sheets and rubbed the letters onto the shoes. "Technically, it's considered printmaking because printmaking is about the transfer of an image from a source or matrix to another surface," he says.
While some of the shoes are eye-catching, sadly, they will not be available for sale. Mr Oh says that they were created solely for the exhibition.
SUIT UP, TUCK IN
Zafferano x The Bespoke Club
Zafferano: Ocean Financial Centre,
The Bespoke Club: Suntec City Mall Tower 1, #01-484
AT ITALIAN restaurant Zafferano, not only can you order a tasty tagliata with artichoke, with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon to pair with, but you could also order a customised suit as well.
Zafferano diners can buy a new suit from The Bespoke Club and receive a 15 per cent discount, while The Bespoke Club patrons can receive a similar 15 per cent discount on Zafferano's a la carte menu.
Shirts from The Bespoke Club cost from S$150, while suits start from S$950. At Zafferano, pastas start from S$28, while meat dishes start from S$36 for a pork belly. In between courses, diners can view the boutique's elegant leather and fabric swatches and handpicked accessories in the showcases at the restaurant’s reception lobby. They will however, have to be at The Bespoke Club to get measured.
And over at The Bespoke Club, clients can sip on Zafferano's speciality cocktail. The boutique also offers clients a S$100 dining voucher at Zafferano when they spend S$1,300 and above.
Zafferano's restaurant manager Paolo Colzani, says that dining and fashion are inseparable essentials of today's discerning lifestyle. "This is especially so at Zafferano where we often see our corporate diners enjoy their meals, dress well and appreciate good quality suits," says Mr Colzani.
He adds that, all creative minds think alike, be it in the art of Italian cuisine or the skills of tailoring. Zafferano shares with The Bespoke Club a passion for innovation, style and authenticity for the respective crafts. With the complementary brand synergy and goal to present Zafferano's guests with a value-added experience, the restaurant decided to present a new level of elegance in gastronomy and fashion. Mr Colzani says that the directors of Zafferano visited The Bespoke Club and they were impressed by its details, finesse and craft.
"From our initial discussions, The Bespoke Club team recognised that the two companies share similar passions as we are dedicated to both our culinary craft as well as extending warm Italian congeniality," says Mr Colzani. "We also found out that both of our clients appreciate good meals and well-tailored suits, all in the comfort of an elegant setting."
The Bespoke Club's boutique manager Ricky Rawat says that "a well-tailored suit is like a good meal, a good movie or a great piece of music. The difference between style and fashion is quality."
The programme is still in its initial stage as both parties have only just begun reaching out to their clientele.
"We have received an initial positive response and believe it will pick up soon," says Mr Colzani.
He is confident that the collaboration will be a success as it offers a different dining and fashion experience for both sets of clientele.
While the discounts are valid till Sept 2, Mr Colzani says that there is the possibility of extending it. "At Zafferano, we constantly seek to present our guests with a personalised experience," he explains. "We are keen to explore with the right partner, who shares the same passion and values as Zafferano, when the right opportunity comes along."
Amendment: An earlier version of this article stated that diners can run their fingers over the boutique tailor's elegant leather and fabric swatches and handpicked accessories at the restaurant. The article has been revised to reflect that diners can only view the products in the showcases at the restaurant's reception lobby.
RAZE THE RUNWAYS
Rimowa and Ong Shunmugam
Mandarin Gallery #01-11
FORGET about protecting your suitcase with luggage covers that resemble sushi. They may be cute but will not win you points for being the trendy traveller.
Premium luggage brand Rimowa is getting the chic female traveller to holiday destinations in style with its inaugural fashion collaboration in Singapore with local contemporary womenswear label, Ong Shunmugam.
This is also the fashion label's first collaboration with an international premium brand. Entitled Women on A Mission, the exclusive capsule collection consists of six unique Ong Shunmugam designs on Rimowa Classic Flight cabin cases and six complementary travel-friendly outfits. Only three suitcases for each of the six designs are produced, making them highly exclusive.
Priscilla Shunmugam, founder of Ong Shunmugam, says that as a designer, she is naturally curious about transferring her aesthetic to objects or areas which are foreign to her. "It gives you a chance to broaden your playing field and help consumers understand the application of your design theory," says Ms Shunmugam, on why she said yes to the collaboration.
She is also very familiar with the importance of travelling with a sturdy suitcase, especially on her fabric-sourcing trips.
"My check-in luggage is very often overweight on my return to Singapore, so it is safe to say I know the difference a good bag makes - it can literally make or break your trip," she says. For the Women on a Mission collection, the six designs each represent an Asian travel destination: China, Indonesia, India, Japan, Malaysia and Mongolia, which are also Ms Shunmugam's favourite countries for fabric sourcing.
The different fabrics are applied to the exterior of each Rimowa Classic Flight cabin case, using industrial adhesive. The interior of the case is lined with digitised illustrations by Singapore-based visual artist Rizibë.
In addition, Ms Shunmugam is also producing a womenswear collection to complement the suitcases. "For each luggage design, there will be a complementary outfit," she says. "So yes, if you are really in the mood to turn the airport runway into another kind of runway, why not? Fashion is about having fun. Travel is about having fun, too." Both the suitcase and womenswear collections will be officially launched in October, and prices will be released then.
Rimowa is no stranger to collaborations with local talents. Last year, it worked with artist Tiffany Lovage who hand-painted suitcases with Amazonian floral and fauna for the launch of its Bossa Nova collection. Rimowa also partnered with local artists such as Candice Phang and Dee Chia to design SG50-inspired designs for its Rimowa X Art campaign.
Mikeller Ho, brand manager for Ram Pacific, the local distributor of Rimowa, says collaborations bring "life" to the luggage, making travel much more interesting.
"It also affords Rimowa fans different lifestyle pleasures, be it in art or fashion, and helps bring them closer together," she says. "For this collaboration with Ong Shunmugam, we are bringing stylish travel to a whole new level."
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