If you’ve always shunned made-in-Singapore fashion and have only ever supported anything with an international or Asian-international label on it, it’s time you changed the way you shop, because you’re missing out on a lot.
Granted, Singapore isn’t globally known for its sartorial achievements, even less so in the men’s fashion arena, but there is definitely a small but burgeoning fashion scene consisting of a crop of haute tailors, ready-to-wear designers, and genius craftsmen producing exceptional and stylish accessories just for guys. They’re not always easy to find. But it’s our job to unearth the gems for you. Check out His Style Diary’s red-hot list.
PIMABS Bespoke Menswear
Specialty: Fashionably understated custom-made shirts and suits for business, casual, and formal occasions.
First to PIMABS, then to dazzle the industry at work! That’s why guys look to this celebrated bespoke menswear label for the right togs before dressing up for all the important occasions in their life. Founded in 2004 by Singapore menswear designer and suiting tailor, Leslie Chia, PIMABS Bespoke Menswear is a proud purveyor of elegant, cutting-edge shirts, pants, jackets and suits for work, play, and special occasions like weddings and more. If you enjoy keeping up with trends but like your clothes understated and stylishly restraint, PIMABS Bespoke Menswear has the designs waiting to be realised just for you. PIMABS Bespoke Menswear’s distinguished customers include celebrities, captains of industry, and sophisticated, erudite men with a penchant for timeless, well-tailored clothes. Says PIMABS founder and creative director Leslie Chia, “Fashion is now. Style is evergreen. A good design encompasses both fashion and style through a disciplined approach to clothes-making, which must essentially be aesthetically and functionally superior.”
Specialty: Haute tailoring of hand-finished shirts and suits that are cut from specially curated fabrics sourced around the world. Their shirts also feature French seams and hand-shanked mother-of-pearl buttons.
Menswear tailor Kevin Seah believes a good suit, and any well-made garment for that matter, begins with the smooth collaboration between a tailor and the client, and that precise tailoring cannot be rushed. It’s a time-consuming, labour-intensive, detail-oriented enterprise. Each KEVIN SEAH suit takes a minimum of three to four months to make, depending on the number of adjustments needed, and customers are encouraged to attend a minimum of three fittings if it is their first commission. Buttonholes are handstitched and seams are pick-stitched alongside fine-quality buttons, linings and fabrics. That’s how serious the haute bespoke tailor is about achieving perfection in fit and finish. KEVIN SEAH shirts are no less remarkable in terms of quality and finish – besides offering clients a trial fitting to ascertain the right fit, every shirt is perfectly matched in terms of pattern before it is handed over to the customer. After all, the claim is that every KEVIN SEAH shirt is the proud epitome of impeccable workmanship.
Specialty: Custom-tailored shirts, everyday staples such as ready-to-wear shirts, and corporate uniforms.
They are undoubtedly Singapore’s most established shirt-maker, with an 83-year history and strong presence both locally and internationally. CYC, which stands for Chiang Yick Ching, an acronym of its founder’s name, is still family-run and firmly Singapore-based, as they continue to have their factory in Singapore. It was Chiang Yick Ching’s enormous dream to become “the finest tailor of men’s clothing”. With CYC’s ever-expanding business burgeoning in both Singapore and abroad, for both its custom-made and ready-to-wear shirts, it looks like founder Chiang and his posterity have more than realised the man’s original ambition.
Specialty: Androgynous, avant garde menswear fashion for guys who like a little (or a lot) of edge in their off-work dressing.
Depression expectedly only ever makes black or monotone clothes. Having said that, it must be noted that the clothes from their collections are anything but boring, or drab. Timeless in an edgy way, each Depression piece is both inclusive and democratic – everyone, from big to small, boys to girls, can pull off the look of the label with élan and flair. While well-made and impressively original, Depression is also disarmingly affordable.
Specialty: Hand-made bespoke and ready-to-wear jewellery that melds eastern and western influences. Collections are niche in designs, accessible in price points, yet limited in quantities.
Designer-artist of Chinoiserie Blu Jewellery, Way Tay – who believes that jewellery is to be enjoyed by all and worn every day, not just on special occasions and by the moneyed – is perpetually inspired by the romance of east-meet-west influences. His design philosophy and aesthetics for Chinoiserie Blu Jewellery are rooted in both modernist and refined chinoiserie styles. His collections encapsulate “the European interpretation of Chinese artistic traditions, qualities and motifs, from decorative arts to architecture, fashion, theatre and musical.” Although Chinoiserie Blu Jewellery is largely represented by collections for women, its Bespoke Service offers the customised creation of jewellery for both genders. This service caters to customers who want exclusivity, statement and (wedding) celebration pieces, as well as to re-set heirloom pieces to fashion them into more current styles. Way takes exceptional pride in working with, and supporting skilled local craftsmen, to create high quality jewellery for male and female customers who appreciate modernity and tradition.
Gnome & Bow
Specialty: Everyday accessories for men such as bags, leather bracelets, cuffs, small leather goods like wallets and luggage tags, as well as stationery.
Gnome & Bow’s story started in 2013, with, literally, stories. It’s founder and designer, Quanda Ong believes that tales are the very canvas on which life is written, and where memories live on. From their very first bag collection to their very latest small leather goods collection that will be launched on August 15th, behind each creation are fairytales that add an enchanting aspect to their smart, handsome and absolutely functional items. Their men’s accessories collection is wide yet distinctive, handsome in design and practical to use. They are well-made and will see each of its gentleman user through many years. Beside a monogram and personalisation service that allows customers to engrave their names, initials and favourite lines from beloved stories and poems, Gnome & Bow also offers a repair service. But why Gnome & Bow? It’s truly simple and makes perfect sense – the Gnome presents an element of fantasy and the Bow reflects the mark of class. These are also the principles that guide the brand’s individualistic creative and literary philosophy. This inspiring brand is both timeless and of the moment, as that is how all good stories must be.