Sewing an array of multi-coloured pockets, using traditionally dyed cloth from Bali, and hand-painting an illustration inspired by the 1979 war movie Apocalypse Now are just some examples of how eight designers in Singapore have turned the everyday apron into pieces of art.
They were shown at a recent exhibition by product label Neighbourgoods when it launched its own aprons designed in collaboration with apparel maker FIN. The two brands also invited a diverse group — made up of designers SBTG, Christopher John Fussner, and Bureau, illustrators MessyMsxi and SpeakCryptic, tattoo and barber shop Hounds of the Baskervilles, as well as fashion labels Stolen and Ed Et Al — to each showcase their craftsmanship by creating one-off apron designs.
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“The studio is like a physical manifestation of who we are, it has to look like an expression of what we are doing currently.”
— Mark Ong aka SBTG, Royalefam
Why did you move out of the hip neighbourhood of Haji Lane into this industrial building in the sleepy estate of Commonwealth?
I started customising shoes in my parents’ kitchen back when I first started in 2003. Later on, I shared a shophouse with graphic designers :phunk studio at Arab Street and later Haji Lane for a total of four years. During that period, Royalefam had up to eight people housed in only about half the space of my current studio. When we first moved into the Arab Street/Haji Lane area, it was a ghost town. It got more popular over the years when stores like White Room and the Comme des Garçons Guerilla store moved in. Two years ago, the rent went crazy, and we needed a bigger space because our business was expanding. We started designing shoes and apparel, but have since moved on to signboards and interiors. We happened to bump into one of our embroidery suppliers and we mentioned looking for a new space. He suggested we moved into his place because he had spare room. We were happy with the size, the rent was reasonable and it was someone we knew, so we moved into this space that he partitioned for us. There are just two of us in this much bigger studio now, my wife and I. I also wanted to move away from Haji Lane, which has become very trendy. Here, you’re getting outside of the box so you don’t get influenced from inside the industry.
➜ Read the rest in art4d (Issue 196)