You can’t talk about shopping in Singapore without mentioning malls: they’re a defining part of the local landscape. Along the swanky, tree-lined boulevard Orchard Road, you’ll find Ngee Ann City, home to boutiques from many of the world’s best luxury brands such as Céline, Loewe and Fendi. Meanwhile, the premium Ion Orchard Mall stands out with its futuristic architecture, fluid glass façade and canopy which becomes luminescent at night.
There’s more to Singapore fashion than mega-malls: the city is also home to independent boutiques, fascinating concept stores, as well as a wealth of local brands and designers.
One of the ways in which she maintains a strong link to her roots is through collaboration with local talent. Ling recently teamed up with lifestyle brand Onlewo on a collection of bags that celebrated the city in its many guises. Onlewo, which creates textiles, provided prints depicting the architecture, culture, and flora and fauna of Singapore, which were used to wrap Ling Wu’s compact clutches.
Founded by Mike Tay, Onlewo is based in Jalan Besar, a lively neighborhood dotted with cafés and independent stores that’s recently seen an influx of entrepreneurs, agencies, and studios settle there. It is here that many upcoming designers thrive off Singapore’s creative energy.
Ling Wu very much sits within the landscape of contemporary brands creating fashion for a modern, urban audience. When Ling founded the company, having inherited an entrepreneurial spirit from her mother, she realized there was a gap in the market. “You can either buy a designer bag for a few thousand dollars or a lesser-known brand for a few hundred that has a very mature aesthetic,” she says. “I decided to make a range of bags that are modern and affordable for a busy woman like myself, who works and is a mother, and who has to multitask in her life.”
The best place to discover Ling Wu bags is at Le Salon, a stylish show space curated by Ling, where her designs sit alongside a selection of complementary brands. Ling Wu isn’t the only label based in the Holland Village neighborhood: here you’ll also find Ong Shunmugam’s atelier, one of Singapore’s celebrated womenswear designers, known for creating elegant dresses and gowns that marry traditional techniques and silhouettes with a modern aesthetic.
Creating fashion-forward designs that perfectly integrate into modern-day lives, Singapore’s brands, stores and shoppers are firmly establishing the city-state on the global style map. Visitors should probably bring an extra suitcase.
Book your stay at Conrad Centennial Singapore, located a short distance from many shopping highlights.