Fashion exhibition #SGFASHIONNOW returns for the second year at the Asian Civilisations Museum

The second edition of the exhibition spotlights 16 local designers, both emerging and established.

Harshiyne Maran

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Published: 8 July 2022, 7:06 PM

In a bid to spotlight Singapore’s fashion scene, the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) is hosting the second edition of #SGFASHIONNOW – an experimental contemporary fashion showcase. 

Running from Jul 8 to Oct 16, the showcase intends to spark conversations about the different aspects of Singapore’s fashion in relation to its multiculturalism and port city heritage. 

The exhibition is jointly presented by ACM, LASALLE College of the Arts’ (LASALLE) School of Fashion and the Textile and Fashion Federation (TaFF). Representing LASALLE School of Fashion are three final-year students – Ethan Lai, Leonard Wong, and Vrinda Maheshwari.

The student curators worked in tandem with LASALLE lecturers and ACM staff to produce the exhibition.

This year’s edition of the showcase takes on the theme of Architecture of Drapes. It presents 16 local designers’ interpretations of drapery. These designers include emerging names such as Putri Adif and established figures in the field like Thomas Wee. 

The #SGFASHIONNOW exhibit is divided into three sections – Construction, Deconstruction and Freeform


At the exhibit’s entrance lies mannequins decked out in fabrics that drape over the body in a defined manner. The designs are intended to flatter the shape of the wearer, accentuating curves and adding definition to the body’s silhouette. 

Titled Construction, the first section of the exhibit displays structured garments that incorporate different styles such as pleating and tailoring while challenging the norms expected of such garments.


The ensembles on display range from dresses to top and bottom combinations. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/HARSHIYNE MARAN


One such piece in this section that tests the limits of drapery is the one-seam shift dress by pioneer contemporary fashion designer Thomas Wee.

Debuted as part of his comeback collection at the Singapore Fashion Festival in 2008, the silk taffeta dress is the result of a process of distillation.

Thomas had decided to repeatedly remove elements of normal dresses which he considered unnecessary such as zips, buttons, hooks and belts. This strips the dress down to its core – a single seam. 


This design has subsequently been  reproduced by Thomas on multiple occasions, including variations of the signature look. PHOTO CREDIT:YOUTHOPIA/HARSHIYNE MARAN


Situated in the middle of the exhibition space, the second section is aptly named Deconstruction. The garments displayed in this section act as a middle ground between the sections, breaking down conventional formats of design.

This results in ensembles that are a combination of design structures, not being tethered to a certain concept or idea. Rather, the pieces are a culmination of different inspirations woven together. 

The Hujan jumpsuit by designer Max Tan echoes this sentiment. 

The ensemble, which comes from the Spring Summer 2021 collection, Wanita, draws inspiration from the design possibilities of a sarong. The jumpsuit adopts the wrapping capabilities of sarong to stay true to the roots of the garment.


The piece incorporates extended pattern pieces and slits that gives the garment a flutter each time the wearer moves. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/HARSHIYNE MARAN


Another ensemble, a handmade batik corset piece by womenswear designer Putri Adif, toys with the idea of juxtaposing Western influences such as the corset against emblems of Malay culture like batik fabric.

According to Putri, the floral motif patterned batik corset aims to empower its wearers by utilising its body conforming quality as a tool to increase the wearer’s confidence.


The corset is made with cotton and polyester boning in order to ensure the softness of the garment without compromising on its structure. PHOTO CREDIT: ASIAN CIVILISATIONS MUSEUM


Besides garments, the ACM curatorial team has also included accessories in the exhibit’s line-up in order to showcase design interpretations in various mediums. 

Within the Deconstruction section, one such accessory is the Akita, Extra Large Boro Tote Bag produced by creative studio FIN Crafted Goods is one such accessory. 

The tote bag is made entirely from upcycled materials such as repurposed denim jeans, denim offcuts, scraps of a deconstructed French labourer jacket and seat belt webbing for its straps.


The name of the bag is derived from the ‘boro’ patchwork style, which refers to the act of repairing worn textiles with unwanted fabrics. PHOTO CREDIT:  YOUTHOPIA/HARSHIYNE MARAN


Combining the usage of various materials with varying qualities allows the bag to drape over one’s shoulder and yet retain its upright structure at the same time.  


Towards the end of the space lies the Freeform section. As its name suggests, the ensembles on display in this section embraces the fluidity of drapery as a whole. 

Many of the garments in the section are brightly coloured and flowy in appearance.


The pieces in this section are a stark contrast to the slightly more rigid structure of other pieces presented in the earlier sections. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/HARSHIYNE MARAN


On display is a piece called Axon by Men’s Folio designer Latika Balachander. The multi-coloured garment is her exaggerated take on human anatomy. 

From her Autumn/Winter 2020 collection Blurred Bodies, the piece aims to mimic the skin’s natural folds through the colourful strips of draped fabric sewn together to form an oversized and fluid silhouette. 


The inspiration behind the fluidity of the textiles comes from the skin’s ability to morph: expanding, drooping, and sagging. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/HARSHIYNE MARAN


An e-publication consisting of content from the showcase, video interviews with the designers, and essays by the LASALLE and ACM project mentorship teams has been made available online too. 

The public can also look forward to a series of student curator tours, interactive activities, and workshops focusing on fashion, craft, and design. Details for these events can be found on the ACM website.

Admission to #SGFASHIONNOW 2022 is free for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents.

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