Orchard Road – Singapore’s prime shopping belt – has for a long time been dominated by international retail brands owned by global corporations that can afford its high rent. But a new Singapore-focused facility might be changing things up at the end of the month.
Design Orchard is a new 2.5-storey development at the junction of Orchard Road and Cairnhill Road that will be home to 61 Singaporean brands when it opens its doors on Jan 25.
New and emerging brands are given a tenure of one year – with the possibility of a one-year extension – while established brands are given that of six months, Ranita Sundra, the Singapore Tourism Board’s (STB) director of retail and dining told Business Insider.
Spearheaded by Enterprise Singapore, JTC and STB, the development features a 9,000 sq ft retail showcase – where all 61 brands are located – on the first floor.
All brands – except furnishing companies Doob and SoftRock Living – occupy an equal amount of space in the retail showcase, Dennis Tay, founder of Naiise, told Business Insider.
Home-grown retailer Naiise is set to operate the retail showcase which features 11 start-ups, 47 emerging brands and three established brands.
More than half (38) of the brands featured sell fashion apparel and accessories.
Apart from featuring the conventional menswear and womenswear designers, Design Orchard also features unique fashion labels such as Dotted Line and Ying The Label.
Dotted Line sells cheongsams (a traditional Chinese dress) with modern silhouettes, fit and details.
Ying The Label offers clothing that are hand-painted by founder Phuay Li Ying. Phuay uses watercolour paintings to create one-of-a-kind prints for her label.
Chubby Chubby, a label which sells children clothing and lifestyle products, will also be featured.
And of course, there will be shops selling fashion accessories such as jewellery, socks, bags and eyewear.
Some of the more distinct brands include Stringwares, Pew Pew Patches and The Mindful Company.
Stringwares is the brainchild of two unlikely people – a corporate manager and a third-generation hawker. It’s known for its bracelets handcrafted using genuine semi-precious stones and a curated selection of charms.
Pew Pew Patches – which has worked with Uniqlo and Vans – produces original iron-on and sticker patches.
The Mindful Company designs and makes modern jewellery with meaningful messages such as “breathe” and “gratitude”.
Singaporeans love their food. Design Orchard will house six locally born and bred F&B brands.
Jewels Rock Sugar Sticks offers naturally crystallised rock sugar sticks that are ideal for pairing with coffee, tea, sparking water, cocktails or simply taken as a candy.
Another brand, Sucre, is known for their pineapple truffles – a modern rendition of the local pineapple tarts. The brand also offers mooncakes, cookies, butter melts, gift teas and other artisanal products.
Design Orchard isn’t skipping out on beauty and wellness brands. There are five local brands offering these products at the development.
One of the brands is Singapore Memories, a series of perfumes dedicated to the flora of Singapore. Each scent is supposed to trigger memories of icons from Singapore’s past.
Design Orchard also features four small home furnishing brands that offer products such as candles and bean bags.
SoftRock Living, co-founded by events specialist Jay Cheng and musician Shane Low, offers high quality bean bags hand-crafted in Singapore.
Design Orchard also offers a one-stop destination for tourists to get some souvenirs.
One of the brands – Little Red Box – offers magnets, notebooks, folders and postcards designed by self-taught artist Ryan Hiew. The brand is known for designs that feature icons from past and present Singapore.
Photo Phactory’s products are based on the photography of Valley Arora, who turns her works into unique souvenirs and art. The range includes coasters, serving trays, cushion covers and clutch bags.
- Photo Phactory
Design Orchard also features three sports apparel and accessories labels.
One of these – August Society – makes some of its products from recycled plastic waste that would have otherwise been sent to a landfill – or worse, the ocean.
There is also one social enterprise brand at Design Orchard – The Animal Project – which sells art pieces and home and lifestyle products embellished with animal illustrations drawn by artists with special needs.
The artists earn royalties through the sale of these products.
- Sean Lim / Business Insider
The Animal Project also employs special needs workers to work in warehouses where they’re tasked with jobs such as stock management, product delivery and labelling.
The second level features co-working and incubation spaces, including The Cocoon Space operated by the Textile and Fashion Federation Singapore (Taff) and targeted at local lifestyle and fashion designers.
Design Orchard also has an events space at its rooftop, where visitors are welcome to chill.