Singapore seeks to showcase Asian fashion to the world

Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:47am EDT
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By Miral Fahmy

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Well aware that to get from the runway to the retail store takes more than fashionistas, Singapore is launching a trade fashion show this month intended to parade Asia's designers before international fashion buyers.

Dubbed Blueprint, organizers say they want the 4-day event to become the basis of the Asian Fashion Exchange (AFX), the region's answer to New York or Milan's fashion weeks.

The event is modeled on Berlin's "Bread and Butter" industry fair, and will start out with 50 designers, mainly from Asia but with some U.S. and British labels as well. There will also be an opportunity for the public to shop.

Some 60 buyers from all over the world, including British department stores Harrod's and Liberty, are set to attend, but organizers say it's early days yet to realize their ambitions.

"Asia has much potential as a market for the fashion industry and with its growing pool of talent, there is potential in developing a premier fashion initiative for Singapore and the region," said Andrew Phua of the government's tourism board, a main sponsor of the event.

"We recognize that as a new brand, the AFX will take time to grow and root itself in the minds of fashion professionals, but we hope that it will quickly step up to fill a current gap in the industry and become a fashion exchange hub for the region."

Shopping is often called the national pastime in affluent Singapore, a city-state of some 5 million people that, as the rest of the world slowly shakes off the global economic crisis, has been attracting luxury retails in droves.

French jeweller to royalty and the stars, Chaumet, opened its first Southeast Asian outlet in Singapore last week, adding to a long list of international names including Burberry, Giorgio Armani, Harry Winston, Prada and Louis Vuitton.   Continued...