Tribe Pop Culture

Mash-Up is a three-person design collective featuring Daniela Monasterios-Tan, Nathanael Ng and Shaf Amisáabudin. The three met in Lasalle College of the Arts and set up the brand in 2012. Self-described as an interpretation of the city they live in; the people of different cultures and sub-cultures; a rendition of the parties they attend, music and DJs they listen to; stories they read and hear as well as the places they’ve been.

Mash-Up is nothing short of Singapore’s most successful amalgamation of pop-culture and commercially viable (Singapore-based) fashion brand. (I’ll explain this second part, in a little bit)

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While almost every brand boasts to target the ‘modern, contemporary, always-on-the-go’ woman (or man). Which is perhaps a nicer, more expensive way of saying (just about) EVERYBODY, Mash-Up instead opted for a niche market for their vibe, one that is youthful, edgy and unapologetically bold.

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Mash-Up draws inspiration from club and street culture, examining current affairs and observing the going-ons in social media and the evolving global styles. Their latest collection, launched last Friday at Canvas Singapore (previously Home Club), was no exception to the norm.

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#MASHUPDIGITRIBE, as the collection is titled, was inspired by the glitch art movement and explored the deconstruction of reality with and through social media. Poignantly described as “on one hand, an avenues for sharing selfless and animal videos. On the other hand a channel used of weapons of political control and warfare as shown by Syria, Israel and Cuba.”

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With an inherent DIY spirit imbued in the brand, real-life ‘digital manipulations’ or ‘collages’ inspired the silhouettes for this collection. The set-up at Canvas Singapore was very elaborate, with two looping video walls. Watch the fashion films here and here. There was also a live social media feed wall with live updates from Instagram and Twitter.

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The show started late, due to the rain, but was an entertaining and very conceptual show. All the models are social media stars in their own rights, so the event space was packed with friends and fans of those who walked the show. Everyone was also glued to their mobile phones, the models I mean, which made concentrating on the clothes harder.

Didn’t help that they blitzed through the event space. But the spot I chose to set up base camp wasn’t all that great, and I think it was a creative choice for the models to walk fast. I can imagine the brief: You know the speed at which what’s now trending on social media blitzes by, walk at that speed.

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The models also tweeted/instagrammed and insta-videoed LIVE while walking the runway. In addition to it being extremely in-sync with the collection’s theme, could also be a nod to Cara Delevingne’s backstage instagram antics – twerking, harlem-shakin’ and being her goofy self.

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There was also a flashback to a #bestselfieever moment as the show came to a close. And I thought this trio were really spot on with their collection, especially in terms of making the collection more than just clothes on a rack – but an idea, a lifestyle, a personality, a distinctive voice.

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Since their 2012 launch, I believe they’ve matured as a collective. I finally took the plunge and committed to two pieces from their previous collection, which you may have caught on my Instagram (@wearewottoncool).

Looking through the catalogue, there’s a successful executing of a conceptual idea – a denim jean manipulated and reworked into a top. And I would love to see them challenge themselves with a workwear capsule – A-line and pencil skirts, blouses, even oxford shirts, but all done in a distinctly Mash-Up way. I see the semblance of it already, in their catalogue, the pencil skirts especially. I would love to see more of such pieces, and I think there’s commercial gain from such an avenue. Think of all the funky, creative-types who need workwear that allow them to express their personality.

Perhaps as the brand matures more, and their demographic grows, we may see this evolution? Then again, maybe not!

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But maybe I think it’d fit because that middle ground is more my style as well?

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I think a top to toe Mash-Up get up is more street than I can carry off. At the launch, I chose to go with a much more muted (or at least as muted as a beaded, sequined sweater can be) outfit, pairing the sweater with an In Good Company skirt and BCBG chunky heels.

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This precious sweater is a delicate flower of a purchase. From what Shaf shared, it takes 6 hours of non-stop beading to complete. And I have to be very careful when handling it, if not, I’ll leave a trail of sequins everywhere I go!

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Mash-Up is stocked at Superspace, Orchard Gateway, #02-18 and available online at mashupcollective.com.

#MASHUPDIGITRIBE retails for between $79 for a T-shirt to $269 for their RTW jacket.

 

Iconography SG

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Depending on who you speak to, Singapore turned 50 last year. If you check out the Singapore Biennale, Boo Jun Feng and Dr Lai Chee Kien’s works allude to this forgotten blimp in our history. But come 2015, Singapore’s official 50th birthday will swing round and what better way to celebrate the big FIVE-OH with 50 #iconsofsg.

These icons have been making appearances across the island. Have you spotted any? I know I saw a couple in a TODAY newspaper, and the #IconsOfSG website, obviously. I’ve picked out four of my favourites – the kopi bag, five stones, bird singing corners and Mustafa Centre (where I get a lot of my makeup, much to the distrustful and judging looks of my mom, sister and friends).

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As much as I love these icons, I do hope that future icons will stray further from the path to comprise more far-flung options, albeit less classic and stereotypical choices but altogether equally accurate reflections of the sheer diversity of this little red dot here on planet earth. And from that thread, here are Wottoncool’s suggestions for icons to consider.

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Dawn Ng – I believe that if there’s any person who can bottle the current Singaporean state of mind, Dawn Ng is the lady to speak to. Her latest work Windowshop is a curious collection of objections and artifacts that tells an unwritten but culturally charged history. Who can forget Boomz or feng he ri li?

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Hansel – Designer Jo Soh has kept busy and grown from strength to strength since the days of ‘Mr and Mrs Tan’, ‘Me and My Camel’, ‘Criss Cross Boy Meets Plain Jane’, ‘Candy Girl’, ‘Fantastic Jurassic’ and ‘Abracadabra’. I’d be crazy to ignore Hansel, seeing that her latest collection features HDB blocks, which also made the #IconsOfSG list. Hansel also has some Chinese New Year promos at the Mandarin Gallery store, so head on over there to stock up on new clothes!

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Personal favourites include the Blk 10 Knit Dress in Mustard (above) and Strappy Tube Dress in Black both $199 each. And receive a $8 voucher with these purchases!

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The Damn Good Shop – Singaporean humour with an unapologetic flicker of brutal honesty. Everything at The Damn Good Shop is bloody genius.

Ong Kim Seng – It is my dream to own a Singapore landscape watercolor by Ong Kim Seng. Not that his works are very expensive, as I learnt at Affordable Art Fair. But I believe maintaining a watercolor in our humidity is a bit more than I can handle at this point. I believe his works are quintessential Singapore.

Sam Lo – I think “The Grandfather (road)” saga caused an awakening towards Singapore’s street art, censorship and a deeper soul searching for an identity that we could and wanted to relate to. I think Sam’s body of work also embodies at unifying humour that, regardless of race & religion, resonates.

Vice & Vanity deserves special mention for their ability to maintain such consistency in their concept and energy (I don’t really know how else to describe it…) There aren’t many other Singapore brands that you can look at and just know that it’s a piece by XXX designer or brand. Vice & Vanity is a very special exception to this Singapore norm. I LOVE their Facebook page and NEED a pair of Simona Vanth x Vice & Vanity collaboration shoes!

These are my #iconsofsg nominations. 

Better late than never

This time last year, I already had my summer planned. I had resigned from my job and enrolled myself in summer school. June 2012 was gonna be a-rockin’ and a-rollin’ in Uppsala, Copenhagen, Berlin, London, and Paris. I was so ready to get my hands off the dreadful keyboard and dirty again, in Central Saint Martin’s textile design course.

You know how I feel about prints here, and that was about when I decided that textile design was the way to go. I put pencil to paper for the first time in a very long time, drew, painted, learnt heat transfer printing, played with the giant heat press (only about the best thing ever), did some dip dyeing, visited museums, created some devore, 3D manipulation, and almost contantly felt OMG there’s so much to learn and to be in awe of! Three weeks of school in London just whizzed by, I wish I had more time to see, more time to do and even had more homework.

I want to feel like I’m ready to learn, absorb some awesomeness all over again, and if I have the time – a quick revision of the stuff that went down in class. Meantime, some pictures:

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See that crackled scar on my face between my eye and cheekbone? Berlin, I blame you.

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Swim things: Seea

I’ve been slightly disgruntled about not being able to get a swimsuit from Virgin Daisies, so since then I’ve been on the look out for ones in the same vein.

Oddly enough, the only other brand that I can say is up my alley, is Seea (pronounced see-ah), a California female surfer brand. The idea of surfing is sooooo far from me not just right now, but forever. Still, because Seea’s founder Amanda Chinchelli so expertly melded surfing form, function and fashion, I’ve found myself wanting more than just a piece from the Italian surfer-designer.

For those who are into tiny two-pieces, Seea has more than a few of those. However the ones that I’d like to bring to your attention are the rash guards and skirted bottoms. Sounds potentially grandma (wear your sunblock, protect your skin!) and highly unattractive (think professional surf brands)? Here are some of my picks to prove you wrong:

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If I had it my way, I would pair the Doheny rash guard or Paloma crop top with the Leucadia skirted high waist bottom. Which in my mind works whether you have washboard abs or a tumbly tummy.

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(Psst this might be exactly how I look like at sea, full suit + long sleeves + cap + too much SPF + under an umbrella.)

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The only thing holding me back is the weird stares I might get from wearing not only a sleeved top, but a long sleeved one at that to the pool.

Well you know if you change your mind, these friendly folks will let you in on how to return or exchange them.

Pictures from here.

Prairie for Weekday by Matthew Ames

Some people have a go-to stack of white t-shirts or white mens shirts that they’ll pull out when those “can’t-decide-what-to-wear” days hit you. I have a go-to stack of chambray shirts, short jackets and denim. I’m the serial denim-on-denim wearer. Guilty. This makes me particularly susceptible to Praire for Weekday by Matthew Ames – a lovely little denim based collection that is unlike the skin-tight fit of sister brand Cheap Monday jeans.

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Matthew Ames is an American designer skilled in the aesthetic of the minimalist, post-minimalist to be exact (a movement that I have yet to fully fathom). For Weekday, he created something “quiet, but powerful” and dare I say “affordable” given the usually price tag of his clothing.

My picks from this pared down collection:

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The skirt version of mom jeans – mom skirts. I like the longer length.

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Overalls for adults.

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And a very versatile open jacket from the menswear selection.

Frankly I’m a little late to the game. These have been on the online store since early April, but there are still several sizes available, so go click around right. this. instant.

Pictures from here.

Newfangled folkwear: Pitchouguina AW13

Vintage has been done but not quite dusted with its variations of deconstruction, reconstruction and what have you. So it seems like we won’t take these old fashions and traditional garments as is, primarily because they are overwhelmingly detailed and a little fussy for our lifestyle that has evolved since our gramps.

What’s interesting are newfangled folkwear and I say that because of their contemporary cuts and ethnic accents (plus they don’t have to be obvious and plain for all the recognize). Easy to like and wear, without coming across as tacky and to much for a dinner date, day of meetings or casual coffee run.

A designer who is particularly fond of injecting semblances of traditional tailoring and embellishment is Anna Pitchouguina. Of Russian descent and economics background from Poland, Anna took to the states and worked with Derek Lam in New York, then in London with designers like Christopher Kane and Michael van der Ham. All that rolled into a lovely, cohesive and desirable package, branded Pitchouguina, and based in East London since 2010.

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Here we get Anna involved in a short round of three questions:

What inspired you to take the route of fashion instead of economics?

Probably the need for creativity that you can touch and feel with hands. Sort of independence as well, but as economics were an interest at first, I am still really interested in the business side of running and starting a label. I think those two things combined is an advantage.

How have you and the brand evolved since your first collection?

Now that I look at it, it has grown up, materials have gradually became heavier but the color palettes are still quite limited and calm. From the very first collection I was trying to put a little handmade/ Russian-related detail, you can still see this in our fluffy hand knitted pieces and a bulky vest-jumper knitted all by hand in Russia, for AW13.

What is the AW13 collection about, and which is your favourite piece?

Collection is always a mood story, that I try to create with fabrics, colors and feminine shapes. This collection is a bit less flowy and a bit more boxy but I still kept my obsession of having some flower motifs. It’s the feeling of awakening the autumn. Favourite piece – a knitted chunky fluffy sleeveless jumper.

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You can find Pitchouguina in small independent bouquets in Eastern Europe and also online at cloudmine.pl. Stay tuned for their online store on their website come September. They will also be showcasing their collection in Guangzhou very soon!

Pictures from here.