There are many moments when I can honestly feel proud to be Singaporean. When the likes of Mae Pang make it onto Style Bubble, and Ling Wu gets a feature blog post on Vogue.It. I suppose what I’m getting at is the pride derived from locally-based talents gaining recognition for their unique perspective, their individual take of the world, transforming their inspiration into the tangible and creating something distinctly different from anything else.
And yet, there are “ponding” moments that draw out only dismay.
So how does this all relate back to fashion?
Well, couple of weeks back, I read an article (which I have since lost) about how ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson‘, the 2011 Hollywood movie adaptation and the resulting H&M collaboration were much more about Swedish pride than celebrating the anti-hero, Lisbeth Salander. Of course, the said collaboration has received much hype and heat. Internet-users the world over in an uproar about “glamourizing sexual abuse“. The most referenced online post is ‘An open letter to H&M from a rape survivor‘ by Natalie Karneef.
Having read the book and caught the movie, I’d says the 2011 Hollywood adaptation is a fair reflection of the book, leaving out 2 characters and (what I thought was) an intense scene at the family crypt but dedicating more time to the main characters and threshing out the very complex storyline (were you lost for the first 45 minutes? especially if you haven’t read the book) But referring back to the article which I can’t credit (because I’ve lost it. Sorry!) I do get the sensing that the resulting collaboration truly does celebrate successful Swedish exports. It helps that this particular collaboration doesn’t have as much hype and fanfare as the Versace one.
Thank you H&M for not being so annoying all the time with the hype marketing.
But back to my point…
Local love. Home-grown pride. When things are unique and bring to the table something different from everything else, I think that’s when we can, and should, band together and beam with pride. And I look forward to another Singaporean designer (and preferably Singapore-based too) showing in Paris Fashion Week. As well as more well-dressed Singaporeans getting shot by The Satorialist and Tommy Ton for Style.com (on the same day no less!)
Those are moments I look forward to and can bask in the pride and silent knowing that I’m kinda, sorta like them too because “we from the same hoood, yo!” 😀
Yet, there are also those disappointing moments of Singaponding… when I want to drown myself in a pond, almost.
When I don’t know where to put my face and scream ‘HAVE WE NO DIGNITY?!!!?!’,
When major local retailers “borrow” inspiration from luxury brands and sell knockoffs of such likeness that its a bit hard to deny.
At some point, I truly believe that we, the consumers, need to draw the line. Especially if these profit-seeking monsters ignore the ethical boundaries of design, production and profiteering. Because, we have the power. We vote with our purchase and ought to vote against such blatant “borrowed inspiration”.
Personally, I have stopped patronizing this retailer. Not only because of this particular design, but also I find their range of shoes to be exceptionally stiff and biting. (Do you get that too?) I am sick of seeing such knockoffs, especially from a well-respected local brand. I am honestly very disappointed. Shame on you!
Please, let’s not be a Singapond. Let’s not drown in the borrowed inspiration of someone else, but bask in our own identity.