Singapore fashion week offers homegrown labels a shot at global fame

By Reuters

Mar 14, 2015 04:55 AM EDT

Designers Victoria Beckham and Diane von Furstenberg headline Singapore's celebrity-studded fashion week in May, putting the spotlight on a new partnership with a U.S. industry group that promotes homegrown talent and designer labels.

Organizers of the five-day annual fashion week said they had tied up this year with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), headed by Furstenberg, to nurture emerging designers in Singapore and help showcase their talent abroad.

The CFDA has been a treasure trove of new labels in the past, having produced celebrated international designers such as Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang and Phillip Lim.

This year's Singapore Fashion Week (SFW), previously known as the Audi Fashion Festival Singapore, is the first in its new avatar. Hollywood star Cate Blanchett and South Korean actress Yoon Eun Hye are among the celebrities attending.

"Singapore Fashion Week allows us to stand shoulder to shoulder with all the international fashion labels that we aspire to be like," SFW Chairman Tjin Lee said on Friday.

"But with the name change also comes great responsibility, and a greater sense of having to build the industry, by empowering and training designers."

Less well-known fashion labels Ong Shunmugam, Elohim and Dzojchen have been chosen this year for the CFDA initiative, which arms local designers with a seed fund of S$150,000 ($108,000) to promote and eventually sell designs to global retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Harvey Nichols.

The Singapore Fashion Week opens on May 13 with a von Furstenberg collection and will wrap up with a finale by former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham.

Singapore celebrity Velda Tan will debut her fashion label, while Thai-American designer Thakoon Panichgul, a favorite of U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, features among the line-up of established designers.

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