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Rebranded Singapore Fashion Council pursues innovation, tech, sustainability

10 MOUs signed for collaborations in digital tech, talent, market development and more

எஸ். வெங்கடேஷ்வரன்
Published Wed, Oct 26, 2022 · 03:37 PM

TRADE association Textile and Fashion Federation (TaFF) has rebranded itself as the Singapore Fashion Council (SFC), with a focus on developing expertise in innovation and technology, sustainability, and Asian craftsmanship.

To that end, it signed 10 memoranda of understanding (MOU) at its rebranding event at Design Orchard on Wednesday (Oct 26). One MOU with StarHub, for example, is for the deployment of digital technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and the metaverse in Singapore’s fashion industry.

SFC chief executive Semun Ho said that the trade association has evolved in the last three years, reviewing its scope to cater to the wider fashion ecosystem beyond manufacturers and brand owners.

SFC supports the industry’s growth by connecting stakeholders across the ecosystem, facilitating “meaningful collaborations and community building”, she said. “We are particularly focused on capability development to help Singapore’s fashion ecosystem expand and transform as an innovator amid changing consumer demands.”

Under an MOU with Ngee Ann Polytechnic, SFC will offer industry mentorships, internships, job attachment opportunities, and consignment sales to students and alumni. Another MOU will see Deloitte Singapore helping SFC members with market development, specifically focusing on the startup community.

The other MOU partners are the Asian Civilisations Museum, B Lab Singapore, DBS, HSBC, Lasalle College of the Arts, Stacs and Temasek Polytechnic.

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SFC president Wilson Teo said that these partnerships represent a collective commitment from the whole of industry to further Singapore’s mark in the fashion world, and will help “address the critical challenges that are driving conversations in the fashion industry both today and in the future”.

Guest of honour Low Yen Ling, Minister of State for Trade and Industry as well as for Culture, Community and Youth, noted that fashion “is an important sector that contributes significantly to our retail industry”.

“Looking ahead, the fashion industry will be increasingly impacted by technological advancements, changes in consumer preferences, and shifts in the global economy,” she added.

This August, retail sales of apparel and footwear rose by 64.7 per cent year on year in Singapore, while sales of watches and jewellery rose by 31.2 per cent. Total retail sales grew by 13 per cent.

SFC plays a crucial role in efforts to position Singapore as an innovation fashion hub in South-east Asia, such as by spearheading programmes that develop enterprises’ capabilities, said Low.

For example, SFC started its Bridge Fashion Incubator programme in 2019 with the support of Enterprise Singapore. As South-east Asia’s first fashion, beauty and fashion-tech incubator, it has nurtured over 50 emerging brands and 59 incubatees.

The trade association has rebranded many times since its origins in 1956, when textiles and apparel companies began to meet regularly. Its historical constituents include yarn companies; knitting companies; overseas investment garment factories; local garment manufacturers and most recently, the Society of Designing Arts (Fashion), in 1996.

With its network of exports and resources, the SFC will provide information on fabrics, suppliers, and supply chains to help the industry make more informed decisions, especially in business transformation, internationalisation and sustainability, said Ho.

With technological advancement and the rise of e-commerce, the fashion industry is now a more complex and competitive environment that requires expertise in data analysis, cybersecurity, supply chain, and better inventory management, she added.

“Also because of sustainability issues, there are additional costs and added demands on fashion products,” Ho said. “Fashion designers and related businesses now need to be even more clear in their positioning.”

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