Can Singapore be a new catwalk for global fashion?

Thu May 7, 2009 7:35am EDT
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By Miral Fahmy

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - London. Paris. Milan. New York. And maybe Singapore?

The Asian nation is pitching itself as the newest destination for international and regional fashion designers to showcase their collections.

And the dire state of the global economy may be a factor helping Singapore's aspirations, fashion experts say.

"There are lots of very, very, very rich people in this part of the world, and what the recession has done is just knock off one 'very'," said Colin McDowell, a renowned British fashion writer and stylist who is also creative director of the Audi Fashion Festival Singapore, the year's premier event.

"Fashion needs the very, very rich," he told reporters. "And with its rich artistic tradition and huge creative potential, the future of fashion can be in Asia and if there's going to be a core leader, it could be Singapore."

McDowell, who is senior fashion writer for London's Sunday Times, said when he came to Singapore several years ago, he had thought it "a tad complacent."

"But Singapore is the only Asian city that looks Western, where English is widely spoken and that is a big advantage," he said. "If Singapore wants, it can be part of the fashion scene."

Asian economies have been hit by the global crisis, but that has not prevented Singapore, an island nation of nearly 5 million, from courting the region's wealthy with a global gourmet gathering, luxury boat show and now the fashion festival.   Continued...

<p>A model presents a creation from the Christian Lacroix Spring/Summer 2009 Haute Couture collection at the Audi Fashion Festival in Singapore May 6, 2009. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash</p>