Fashion Made for The People: 4 Singaporean Entrepreneurs Share Their Journey On Crafting Their Own Fashion Labels


By Alvina Koh

June 18 2019

Forget over-hyped Western fashion franchises – we are Team Singapore all the way.

While more prominent home-grown brands such as Love Bonito and Benjamin Barker have made their mark on an international level, there are several up-and-coming local brands that we feel are incredibly deserving in their rights.

Besides donning on wearable art such as those from Ying The Label, and timeless clothing made sustainably and ethically from Esse, we also take you through other wardrobe must-haves, such as thrifted vintage jewellery from Go Margaux and functional yet beautiful lingerie pieces from SUSY + BAE

STYLEGUIDE talks to 4 local fashion entrepreneurs to gain more in-depth insight into the fashion scene in Singapore, and their respective journeys in conceiving their labels. 

Ying The Label 

Li Ying (@yingthelabel

Why and how did you start your label?

I started Ying The Label due to my immense passion for painting. With so many art pieces to showcase and zero clue on what to do with them, I was lost! My mother had also injected in me the belief that artists often only gain fame after they’ve passed on, which I then thought to myself – no, I better not become an artist!

On one occasion, I had the opportunity to print my artworks digitally on fabrics, which after some experimenting, led to the creation of Ying The Label! With a lack of wearable art labels in Singapore marked with fun colours and painterly prints that looked good when worn, I was committed to producing pieces that allowed people to feel elegant, graceful and confident when wearing them. Besides, I feel that the unique floral designs make great conversation starters for those wearing them.

What makes your brand stand out?

As one of the first movers in the wearable art scene in Singapore, I believe what makes Ying The Label truly special is the idiosyncratic quality of the designs produced. To me, hand-painted art pieces are often hard to replicate, as compared to digital prints, and this is what makes the apparels created truly unique. No artist, including myself, can recreate that unique art piece generated in that specific moment!

Limitless Dress, SGD$309 

Favourite launch so far?

My favourite collection has got to be my “Steady Heart” collection, which was created in celebration of my 3rd anniversary. That collection consisted of designs that were bold and abstract.

Challenges faced?

I found Singapore’s retail scene less vibrant when contrasted to other countries. As a result, it is indeed hard for the other local brands and me to scale our businesses. I then decided to pull out of departmental stores as I could not see the value that a physical store could bring to my brand.

One advice to your younger self?

Make even more mistakes, because that gives you the ability to learn, to grow and become stronger, sharper and wiser. There’s no other way to learn than really putting yourself out there and letting your passion take you somewhere.


Sheryl (@susyandbae)

Why and how did you start your label?

SUSY + BAE is a local lingerie and loungewear label. Our brand is a small team of two – with me managing the brand’s marketing and the entire designing process!

I started SUSY + BAE due to my love for lingerie and my belief that a good inner-wear helps transform the way you feel. There’s something oddly special and unfathomable about wearing beautiful and fitting lingerie – just like how a right outfit makes you feel confident! I hope that through my designs, customers are able to celebrate their bodies and appreciate their own beauty. 

In coming up with the concept of my brand, I was largely motivated by my personal experience. As a petite-sized woman, I found it really hard to find lingerie pieces that fit well and made me feel good about my body. Sizes are often limited in Singapore and many at times, I found myself wearing the wrong sizes simply because smaller band sizes weren’t easily available.

In this sense, I feel that lingerie should never be an afterthought and that as female patrons, we should always choose the designs that make us feel our best. When I wear a bra that fits well, I feel in me a great sense of empowerment and confidence, which is a feeling that I hope to bring across to my customers when they put on our creations. I also understand that as petites, variety is hard to come by – I don’t always want to be wearing either T-shirt bras or something too extravagant! Thus SUSY + BAE – a brand which brings the perfect balance of functionality and beauty!

What makes your brand stand out?

Besides the practicality of our products, we also aim to produce designs that are one-of-its-kind. We do own substantial control over the collections that we put out in this sense, since they are designed in Singapore and manufactured in a small family workshop based in Taiwan thereafter. Beyond curating the designs and selecting the resources personally, we also begin our planning process by considering the feedback given from previous collections. Our designs are hence catered to the needs of our shoppers!

Challenges faced?

I think my biggest challenge thus far is overcoming the steep learning curve required for running a business. Because you have to be everything at once, a lot of planning is needed to make everything just right! I have gone through months where my store is practically empty because of the buffer period between the previous sales and incoming collection. It can be a little nerve-racking when you have a store with nothing to sell.

Porcelain, SGD$69 

Favourite launch so far?

It has got to be this Porcelain bralette set! Launched earlier this year as part of an exclusive collection, this design truly reminds me of the beautiful Ming vases and delftware from ancient China. When I saw this design on a sourcing trip, I was ecstatic because rarely do I encounter such styles. I immediately thought of incorporating this lace design into our lingerie sets! I’m also equally excited that the customers love this as much as I do, which I did continue to restock due to overwhelming requests to bring them back!

One advice to your younger self?

It’s easy to start a business but difficult to sustain a business! Always good to go in with a plan and remember to bring a great deal of positive energy with you. You don't always get second chances!

Go Margaux

Brenda (@gomargaux)

Why and how did you start your label?

Go Margaux is an online-only store featuring a mercurial mix of both vintage and contemporary jewellery (for now – something’s coming!).

I started Go Margaux when I was studying in New York! During my stint there, I grew a passion for everything vintage and spent almost every day after school exploring various vintage and thrift stores, which allowed me to chance upon a huge selection of beautiful vintage dead-stock jewellery. After hours of just standing there, hovering and sorting through the selection – and garnering well-deserved stares – I emerged with two large bags in hand, an empty wallet and the inventory for the first collection of Go Margaux.

What makes your brand stand out?

Go Margaux is made for the unapologetically chic. We collect and curate a whole collection of unique jewellery spanning in colours, silhouettes, types and eras, and do so in extremely limited quantities (sometimes not even by choice). On top of keeping them wallet-friendly, we also take extra care to package our items in sustainable and recycled materials, because we just don’t feel comfortable doing otherwise. To me, that’s how fashion should be – precious, exciting and nothing but feel-good fulfilling. I wanted to shop at a store exactly like it, and I couldn’t find it in Singapore, so I made it happen!