Cosmopolitan Singapore not only has its perks, but plenty of eclectic quirks to suit the ever-growing flux of shoppers looking for a tasteful niche in independent branding and design, as well as craftsmanship from the hands of home-grown talent. Here are a trio of shops that stock more than just cutting-edge apparel for the urbanista, but also a selection of inspiring buys such as books, jewellery and unique gifts.
With six bricks-and-mortar stores, Naiise (a spin on the pronunciation of the word ‘nice’ – try it out!) offers beautifully curated objects in each of its outlets. It is one of the fastest-growing local design retailers, stocking more than 15,000 products from 900-plus emerging and established brands.
Concept store Naiise
Supporting and encouraging the creation of all things design-related, be it furniture, home decor, food, art or music, Naiise aims to bring Singapore design to a bigger platform through multiple outreach programmes, memorable retail experiences and workshops. The brand has supported emerging designers, such as Lee Xin Li, WhenIwasfour, The Edible Co and Love SG, providing opportunities for those labels to shine on the international stage.
Must-buy: signature plushies (soft toys or cushions) inspired by Singaporean street food, such as gem biscuits, peng kueh and curry puffs.
As individualistic as its name suggests, Rockstar was at the forefront in Singapore of mixing fashion with edgy concept buys. Breaking away from the monotony of cookie-cutter clothing, the retailer introduced products as diverse as handwoven books, terrariums and sportswear.
Fashion and eclectic buys at Rockstar
Rockstar is known to be the go-to parlour for funky sneakers by Superga, Jack Spade and Pointer, and produces its own Rockabilly line of all-year-round clothing. Magazine distributor Allscript also curates a shelf that brims with design and lifestyle glossies, so you’re never far from reference material for a fresh injection of inspiration. Other items recently spotted on the store’s shelves include accessories by Anastasia by Raine, bags by A Pale Petal, and stationery by The Paper Bunny.
Must-buy: intricate accessories to complement Rockstar’s garments, including custom-made jewellery by WoonHung and Sifr, watches by HyperGrand, and keychains by Orbitkey.
Porcelain plates at Supermama
Gallery shop Supermama
Art enthusiasts can rejoice in the serene and restful space of gallery shop Supermama, which houses contemporary design and gift collections built on the Japanese premise of omiyage: a ‘sharing box’ lovingly filled with presents that are given away after a trip abroad. Supermama also emphasises the importance of cultivating and crediting heritage. Hence, it works with local and notable Singapore talent, from illustrators to creative studios and agencies, including Hjgher, The Little Dröm Store and Olivia Lee, among others.
Must-see: Supermama has an outlet at the art precinct Gillman Barracks, where it ties in visual art exhibitions of its own (www.gillmanbarracks.com/others/supermama).