Kennie Ting

Director, Asian Civilisations Museum

#SGFASHIONNOW was designed to be an experimental showcase, allowing ACM to make forays into contemporary Singaporean fashion design. The showcase also represents our exploration of a new collaborative approach to exhibitions: students from LASALLE College of the Arts’ School of Fashion take on the task of curating, with guidance from faculty and ACM’s professional curatorial, audience, and exhibitions teams. Throw in the winner of Singapore Stories, a national fashion design competition organised by the Textiles and Fashion Federation Singapore (TaFF), and we create an exhibition that is an unprecedented partnership between museum, education, industry, and community.

Last year’s inaugural exhibition opened in the midst of the pandemic and was affected by safe management restrictions that limited visitor capacity to 25% of pre-Covid levels. All things considered, it did well, drawing more than 48,000 visitors in an extended six-month run. The majority were young visitors, 20 to 29 years of age, who otherwise would most likely not have come to the museum. The exhibition also succeeded in initiating greater dialogue about Singapore’s fashion and cultural identity, engendering some 265 stories and listings in the media, representing more than $5 million in PR value. Public feedback for the exhibition was positive, with most visitors surprised at the strength and diversity of Singaporean fashion design talent. Some wanted more designers featured, and a more inclusive exhibition the next time around – proving that we are on the right track. 

I am thus so very pleased we are presenting a second installment of #SGFASHIONNOW this year. Our showcase this time does indeed present more designers from a greater diversity of cultural, as well as design, backgrounds – for instance, we feature accessory designers this time.

For #SGFASHIONNOW 2022 to happen at all, I must once again thank Professor Steve Dixon, President of LASALLE College of the Arts, for his strong support. My love and thanks go to Circe Henestrosa, Nadya Wang, and Daniela Monasterios-Tan at LASALLE’s School of Fashion – it has been such a joy and pleasure working on this project with you! Congratulations to Ethan Lai, the lead student curator for the exhibition, as well as Chan Jian Hong, Kiara Hu, Leonard Wong, Sophie Tan, Vrinda Maheshwari, and Ong Xiao Xuan, the student team behind the exhibition. Thanks also to the LASALLE team behind the #SGFASHIONNOW 2022 e-publication. 

Big thanks also go to our partners and advisors, whom we could not do without: Tjin Lee, Managing Director of Mercury Marketing and Communications Pte Ltd; and Semun Ho, CEO of TaFF, and her colleagues Leonard Choo and Partheban G K. Thanks to FARM for the fabulous exhibition design last year and again this year. Thanks also to the ACM team, in particular, Dominic Low, who is Curatorial Mentor this year, as well as Ng Wan Gui, Arielle Lau, Ian Liu, Lum Jia Yi, Jackie Yoong, and many others. 

Finally, my heartfelt thanks goes to all 16 designers and design studios featured in the exhibition this time – Thomas Wee, Ashley Isham, Max Tan, Singapore Stories 2021 winner Jon Max Goh, as well as Keng How & Kage Chong, Bryan Yeo, CHARLES & KEITH, Fahmy Ishak & Erliana Kamiti, Gin Lee & Tamir Niv, Harry Halim, Joshua Suarez, Latika Balachander, Lina Osman, Putri Adif, Rachael Cheong, and Shawna Wu. You represent hope and inspiration for all the young visitors to the show!