Singapore fashion survivors: 4 brands on lasting a decade and more in the industry

ST PHOTOS: NG SOR LUAN, GIN TAY, KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Even pre-pandemic, sticking around for 10 years in the Singapore fashion industry can be a challenge.

There are the perennial issues of rent, manpower and  fickle consumers. Brands are also facing fierce competition from online shopping platforms.

What makes or breaks a retail brand is staying relevant and adapting quickly to shoppers’ changing needs and preferences – pandemic or no pandemic.

And showing the way are four home-grown fashion entrepreneurs who have crossed the 10-year mark.


Multi-label boutique Nana & Bird is built on friendship

Not all school friendships survive the test of time, much less going into business together.

But 11 years after opening multi-label boutique Nana & Bird, Anderson Junior College mates Georgina Koh and Tan Chiew Ling, both 41, are still going strong.

Named after Ms Koh and Ms Tan's respective nicknames in school, the store in Tiong Bahru passed a quiet 10-year anniversary last year, when it began renovations just as the circuit breaker was announced.

After a four-month delay, it reopened in August last year, occupying an expanded space of 1,600 sq ft.

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Lingerie label Perk by Kate supports women through highs and lows

Ms Kate Low has an unlikely "superpower". Just one shrewd glance at your chest and the 36-year-old can accurately pinpoint the right bra size for you.

It is a skill honed over the 10 years running her lingerie label Perk by Kate, known for its signature padded lace bralettes.

The banking and finance graduate from SIM-UOL gained most of her work experience at fashion brand Club 21, where she worked her way up from a salesgirl to roles in digital marketing.

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Womenswear brand Y21 sets sail in new direction

For the last 10 years, womenswear brand Yacht 21 sold the allure of dressing for beachside holidays and resort getaways.

When the pandemic put an end to travelling, founder Jarenis Ho, 37, knew she had to quickly shift gears.

As part of a rebrand this month (September), which includes a new name Y21, she will slowly phase out the travel-themed collections and busy prints Yacht 21 had become known for.

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Benjamin Barker's suiting empire goes casual

Never in a million years - 12, to be exact - did Mr Nelson Yap, founder of men's fashion label Benjamin Barker, imagine he would one day sell so many T-shirts.

But last year, during the start of the pandemic, T-shirts and polos were the company's main revenue. Casual wear makes up half of the business, adds Mr Yap, 39.

Founded in 2009, Benjamin Barker initially made a name for itself for its range of affordable tailored suits, shirts and men's accessories.

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