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Fashion forward

Some of the designs by Ko which impressed the judges. (PHOTOS: AUDI FASHION FESTIVAL)

Publication Date : 17-05-2012

 

To nurture Singapore's growing pool of design talent, the Textile And Fashion Federation has launched an initiative which matches promising young designers with fashion retailers here.

Supported by Spring Singapore, the Singapore Designer Attachment Programme will place emerging designers with mentor companies for at least 12 months.

These designers will be chosen from Audi Star Creation, the annual region-wide student design competition, and from Parco Next Next, the fashion incubator project in Parco Millenia Walk. Both are organised by the federation, with support from Spring Singapore.

Minister of State for Trade and Industry Lee Yi Shyan announced the programme on Tuesday at the Asia Fashion Exchange's Audi Red Carpet Night held in The Tent@Orchard outside Ngee Ann City, where he also presented prizes to the three winners of Audi Star Creation 2012.

Lee, who is also Minister of State for National Development, said: "To grow our fashion industry further, design talents are key. The Asia Fashion Exchange initiatives have, for three years, helped to develop design capabilities in our designers and profile Singapore and Asia's fashion talent on an international stage."

Asia Fashion Exchange is an annual week-long fashion event which comprises Audi Fashion Festival; Blueprint, a trade show and shopping event featuring emerging designers; the Asia Fashion Summit networking event; and Audi Star Creation. It is on till Sunday.

The federation hopes to place up to 14 designers a year with at least 12 fashion companies. The first group will start work in September after meeting the various participating companies.

The designers will each be paid a monthly stipend, co-funded by Spring Singapore and the mentor companies. The stipend amounts will be determined by each company later.

So far, 12 companies have expressed interest in the programme. They include Charles & Keith, Crocodile International and Escala Fashion - which owns womenswear label Les Affaires - and FJ Benjamin.

Alex Low, executive director of the Pedro Group, which is part of the Charles & Keith Group, said tapping into the programme creates 'new avenues of growth' for the company, given the limited talent pool here. The Charles & Keith Group currently has slightly more than 30 designers.

"The exchange of ideas, thoughts and experiences will definitely give our team an advantage," he added. "These young designers will provide a fresh eye in trend-spotting and will be the voice of a group of customers that we have yet to reach out to."

FJ Benjamin, which owns Raoul, has offered attachment programmes to nine Audi Star Creation winners since the event started in 2010. Last year's Audi Star Creation finalist, Audrey Wong, has secured a place as a designer with the retailer.

Describing the initiative as "a step in the right direction", chief executive Douglas Benjamin said: "The young designers come in very excited, armed with fresh perspectives and a unique view of fashion. Their input has helped us develop well-rounded collections."

The textile federation's group director, Callia Chua, said that the new programme helps to secure more jobs for aspiring designers, while giving more Singapore companies "access to this talent pool".

China's Roderic Wong, 27, South Korea's Ko Young Ji, 32, and Thailand's Soravit Kaewkamon, 23, were crowned winners of this year's Audi Star Creation, which drew a record 255 entries from 13 countries.

They each get S$10,000 (US$12,700) cash, a year-long internship with leading fashion retailer FJ Benjamin and the chance to launch a capsule collection at Audi Star Creation next year.

Wong also won the Audi Young Designer Award, which is given to the Audi Star Creation winner whose creations best embody the Audi design spirit. He receives an additional cash prize of S$10,000.

 

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