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Singapore designers mix it up with design partnerships

Fashion designers are finding partners in unlikely industries, such as book-binding and lifestyle

ELOHIM BY SABRINA GOH X SAKURA COLLECTION

Singapore fashion designer Sabrina Goh, known for her structural and minimal designs, usually works with plain, solid-coloured cotton fabrics.

But for an upcoming capsule collection, she will be working with artisanal kimono fabric woven in Kyoto.

The collection was commissioned by Japanese fashion brand Sakura Collection, which organises an annual fashion event in which designers from Asia are invited to design Japanese-influenced collections.

These are shown at the Sakura Collection Japan showcase to international and local media as well as retailers to promote cultural exchange between Japan and Asia.

Sakura Collection's producer Noriko Tabata says she decided to collaborate with Ms Goh, 31, after seeing her Spring/Summer 2015 collection, which featured a digital print design inspired by kintsugi, the Japanese art of repair using lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum.

Sakura Collection has previously collaborated with three Singaporean designers - costume and cheongsam designer Lai Chan in 2012; and Mr Heng Nam Nam and Mr Chen Kah Lee of evening and bridal wear boutique Heng Nam Nam in 2013.

Ms Goh is one of six designers from South-east Asia taking part in this year's event, which will be held at Akarenga Park in Yokohama on March 5.

She will create two looks consisting of a dress, a top, a skirt and an obi-inspired belt. These will be constructed with four kimono fabrics that she picked from a selection of 10 fabrics provided by Sakura Collection, together with her own fabrics.

"I was drawn to these fabrics as they are quite new to me," she says. "The kimono fabric is made with a three-thread weave as opposed to two, which gives it a very interesting patterned and gradient effect."

This is not the first cross-cultural fashion collaboration she has done. In 2013, she was approached by Vogue Thailand to design 10 looks using Thai silk for Vogue Fashion Night Out Bangkok.

The collection, priced from $300 for a top to $500 for a dress, sold out upon release.

She plans to retail her capsule collection for Sakura Collection at her Capitol Piazza flagship store here after the showcase in Japan. The pieces will be limited and she estimates they could range from $300 for a top to $2,000 for a dress.

She says she enjoys collaborating as it allows her to "expose myself to new things, ideas and materials".

Although she has not collaborated with a Singaporean label yet, she already knows whom she would like to work with: stationery brand The Paper Bunny and tech accessories brand Fabrix.

She sells some of their merchandise at her store.

She says: "Working on a textile print for a mobile phone case or design motto quote on a notebook would give the existing product a unique touch.

"When collaborating, we tap on each other's strengths."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 04, 2016, with the headline 'Perfect match'. Print Edition | Subscribe