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Wear & Tear

Surrender, a new boutique in Orchard Road, is taking no prisoners with its up-cycled, reconstructed designs. Avanti Nim reports.
Mar 18, 2017 5:50 AM

OPENING a new clothing boutique in the alreadyteeming Orchard Road is not for the faint-hearted, but Surrender at 268 Orchard (''SRD 268'') is up to the task. The 2,400 sq ft space aims to deliver a fresh retail experience through the interaction of space, music, fashion and art.

But it's not entirely new. The brand has been around since 2003, when it made its home in the Raffles Hotel Arcade. Its revamped avatar, however, is quite distinctive. The space itself, themed ''mysterious, dramatic and grand'' uses dark concrete with textured effects to set the tone.

To introduce its new lifestyle and art-centred concept, Surrender collaborated with LA-based artists DRx Romanelli and Cali Thornhill DeWitt to create a special capsule collection that was launched March 9.

DRx, whose given name is Darren Romanelli, is a master at up-cycling and his previous work includes ''reinventing'' the legendary properties of brands like Coca Cola, Jaeger- LeCoultre and Converse. His aesthetic vision involves a cut-and-sew approach which reconstructs items into entirely distinctive pieces.

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His friend for over a decade and on-andoff collaborator Cali Thornhill DeWitt has made art installations for Dover Street Market. Ginza and the Copenhagen International Fashion Fair, but what he's perhaps most famous for is Kanye West's 'Life of Pablo' merchandise.

He says: ''It was a good experience, but the most surprising thing is how many other people wanted me to do the same thing for them. In my mind, it's been done, and I'm already thinking about the next thing.''

This capsule collection comprises nine jackets ($4,750) that spell out SURRENDER, 100 T-shirts ($280), patches and zines, and three textile artworks.

DRx says of the collection: ''Our inspiration was a sort of East-meets-West theme.''

The jackets are a testament to this. Made using Asian robes and Western patches, the reversible pieces are an amalgam of about six different items of clothing. He explains: ''Each piece uses about two to three jumpers and two to three robes. They're completely reconstructed into a single jacket, and they're all oneof- a-kind.''

They also tie back to the paintings executed by Thornhill DeWitt, who painted them after the jackets were designed. He says: ''I knew what I wanted to do with them. I work with flowers a lot, and the floral theme is something that holds many different meanings for me.''

The idea of the collaboration started a year ago, but the process itself took about six months, and the most challenging part of that was finding the right materials.

DRx says: ''I go to various places in Los Angeles to find these fabrics, like there's this great flea market in Pasadena, or the Rose Bowl Flea Market. I don't really go to vintage stores anymore. But my inspiration lies in not knowing what I'm going to find there. Seeing a pattern I don't recognise gets the conversation started.''

Quips Thornhill DeWitt: ''Honestly, one of the best places to source vintage clothes is DRx's garage. He's just got so much cool stuff lying around.''


Check out SRD 268 at 268 Orchard Road, #01-03. For more information, visit