As the Lion City turns 58 this month, there are many reasons to celebrate – the most recent being the Singapore passport being crowned the world’s most powerful. For the rest, the SilverKris team has put together a comprehensive list of all the things to love about Singapore – from its vibrant arts and cultural scene and world-class dining experiences to its wide variety of entertainment offerings.
In the first part of the series, the team penned an ode to the city-state’s captivating arts and cultural scene, and in the second instalment, it was all about the best places to wine and dine in Singapore.
In part three, discover where to go to enjoy a spot of retail therapy – whether you’re looking for a pre-loved piece of furniture for your new home or a one-of-a-kind suit tailored just for you – as well as some actual therapy for your body, mind and soul.
31. Local fashion brands with an international outlook
From prints based on HDB flats to batik outfits inspired by Singapore’s national flower, the Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid, these home-grown fashion labels incorporate well-loved local icons and traditions into contemporary designs. Family-run brand YeoMama Batik turns Indonesian batik into comfy maxi dresses and jumpsuits, while Lark & Peony puts a modern twist on the Chinese cheongsam. The Emporium Group assembles a trove of indie labels at its Lavender Street store, from furniture to curios. Founder Sylvia Lim, whose own brand Triologie is stocked at the store, says of their latest Majulah! collection inspired by the laundry poles of public housing flats: “We want to celebrate the community spirit, cultural diversity and the stories of each household, from the rear of the flat where the kitchen is situated, where colours sing stories on the bamboo poles.”
32. Tailoring that stands the test of time
Forget fast fashion; home-grown tailoring is still alive and well in Singapore. At Meiko Tailor, founded in the 1970s, master tailor Chung Chi Kwong lends his experience of more than half a century to the crafting of bespoke suits and shirts. He and his team construct suit jackets the full-canvassed way, and use premium fabrics from renowned mills such as Cerruti and Loro Piana in Italy and Holland & Sherry from London. The family business has been an anchor tenant at the Pan Pacific Singapore hotel since 1986.
33. Bespoke bling by local brands
Get ready to sparkle with pieces from some of Singapore’s most beloved jewellery brands. For elegant luxury, B.P. de Silva has been crafting classic creations for over 150 years, while those who have edgier taste can commission something unique from A Tale of Two Bandits. Want a bit more colour in your life? EDEN + ELIE offers intricate beaded earrings and necklaces, and MADLY does rings that feature colourful gemstones. And if you’re after more affordable options, By Invite Only’s dainty pieces are all made with materials that are safe for sensitive skin.
34. A historical garment made modern
The kebaya, a sheer blouse traditionally worn by women throughout the Malay Archipelago, is Singapore’s most recent bid for Unesco’s intangible cultural heritage list, which it is sharing with Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. You can purchase a piece of potentially Unesco-worthy heritage at boutiques across Singapore, from storied family business Toko Aljunied, which was founded in 1940, to more modernised styles at Baju by Oniatta. Kebaya by Ratianah founder Ratianah Tahir, who set up shop nearly two decades ago, says, “The kebaya, in my opinion, is a ‘thread that binds’. It’s a historical garment that holds a lot of intangible significance within our multicultural community here in Singapore and the Southeast Asian region. When you wear a kebaya, it gives you a sense of confidence.”
35. A one-stop retail destination for discovering local brands
Browse more than 100 home-grown brands in one place at Design Orchard in the heart of Singapore’s shopping district. The space, operated by the Singapore Fashion Council, features apparel, accessories and lifestyle products across a variety of brands. Here, you can find designs from the likes of Singapore tailoring legend Thomas Wee and artsy label Ans.ein; or sustainable products such as Bykurahome’s collapsible lunch boxes and ChopValue’s wares made from recycled chopsticks. The building also houses a co-working space for designers, called The Cocoon Space.
36. Hidden gems around a heritage neighbourhood
Orchard Road may be the shopping epicentre of Singapore, but if chic boutiques are more your speed, then look no further than Joo Chiat. This charming neighbourhood is packed with independent stores. Crane Living, for instance, curates a selection of beautiful homeware, while A Vintage Tale is a treasure trove of fashion from the 1950s to ’90s. And if you’re after local souvenirs, Cat Socrates and The AC have got you covered. While you’re in the area, be sure to pay a visit to the colourful shophouses at Koon Seng Road.
37. A colourful neighbourhood brimming with history
Another must-visit historic neighbourhood is Kampong Glam, which promises something for everyone. Heritage buffs will admire the Sultan Mosque and the Malay Heritage Centre, which will reopen after renovations in 2025. Foodies will be spoilt for choice, from traditional fare at Warong Nasi Pariaman, which has been dishing up nasi padang for more than 70 years and counting, to contemporary Italian cuisine at Cicheti and Mediterranean classics at Alaturka Restaurant. Shop for fabric among the glittering bolts lining Arab Street or trendy clothes in hipster Haji Lane. Don’t miss out on specialty shops such as artisanal perfume shop Sifr Aromatics or Wardah Books, which specialises in Muslim titles.
38. Artsy bookshops and Chinese art in a historic mall
Bras Basah Complex, built in 1980 in Bain Street, was once known as “The City of Books” for the plethora of bookshops it housed. While many of these have since closed, the shopping complex is still home to the likes of Basheer Graphic Books, known for its range of art and architecture titles, and Chinese-language stalwarts such as Union Book Co and Maha Yu Yi. Chinese arts enthusiasts should poke around in the corners of the mall to find gems such as the Si Bao Zhai Arts Gallery, which sells calligraphy materials. Take a caffeine break downstairs at Narrative Coffee Stand, which serves up some stellar brews.
39. Thrift shops thrive here
The best fashion gems can be found in Singapore’s thriving thrift scene. Dedicate a day to go clothes swapping at The Fashion Pulpit and dig around in the Salvation Army’s sprawling Praisehaven Mega Family Thrift Store for its vast assortment of second-hand furniture, clothes, books, household accessories and more. Grittier options include Vintagewknd, a vintage and reworked clothing brand; Loop Garms for its pop culture-related pieces from the ’80s to ’00s; and Anteikei Studios, which offers a selection of fairycore, y2k, grunge and street style as well as handmade accessories at Pearl’s Hill Terrace. It’s a lot to get through, but hey, diggig is part of the fun.
40. As do vintage furniture shops
From antique rosewood cabinets, Chinese tea sets, Art Deco ashtrays and other statement pieces, there’s something for everyone at Singapore’s vintage furniture stores hidden in industrial buildings. You’re sure to find treasures aplenty at Hock Siong and Co’s warehouse in Tai Seng, or Treasure At Home, known for its rare diamond clocks and beautifully restored wooden cabinets. At Second Charm, lap up the selection of eclectic vintage-inspired chairs, ottomans and coffee tables. If Japanese aesthetics are more your thing, Aa Furniture has a collection carefully sourced from Japan’s different prefectures. There’s no better way to fill your home with objects that brim with history and soul.
41. Sustainability-minded local businesses are on the rise
Singapore is seeing a bumper crop of eco-conscious homegrown brands popping up in recent years. It’s all about the zero-waste life at The Green Collective, which stocks everything from stylish cutlery sets collapsible coffee cups to personal care products and urban composter kits. Bring along your reusable containers to stock up on everything from granola, pasta and loose-leaf tea at grocery and lifestyle store Unpackt. A similar concept applies at The Social Space, where you can bring your own containers to fill with eco-friendly cleaning products and toiletries. Shop for vegan cold-processed soap bars at My Naked Bar, made using fresh ingredients such as cucumber, aloe vera, rice and oat milk (also available at pop-up events).
42. Boutique plant shops are blossoming
Remember the stay-at-home days of the pandemic when everyone seemed to develop green thumbs? This green awakening persists even now, and plant shops have proliferated across the island. Traipse down to the Punggol heartlands to the whimsical Little Botany, designed in a way that it feels like someone’s private garden sanctuary. Here you can find monsteras, polka-dotted begonias, adorable hoyas and succulents, rare plants and a dose of warm hospitality from founder Fendi Sani. Designers and discerning plant collectors would love The 3 Keys for its strong Japanese influence and aesthetic everfresh trees and bonsais in gorgeous planters. Pop on over to Soil Boy and Tumbleweed Plants in Tiong Bahru for their curated plant collection.
43. Myriad ways to unwind and recharge
A dose of self-care does wonders for the soul, amid this stressful city life. Experience the sensation of floating in eternity at Palm Ave Float Club’s sensory deprivation tank, or pop over to Altered States for a crystal sound bath, Kundalini yoga or meditation classes (until it goes on hiatus in late October). A short dip at Yunomori Onsen and Spa does wonders for tense muscles, and likewise for private infrared saunas and cold plunge options at Sphere. Nestled within Bukit Timah’s lush greenery, witness the gentle healing power of horses through Herd Singapore’s equine assisted intervention.
That’s it for the fashion, shopping, health and wellness edition of “58 reasons to love Singapore”, a National Day-themed series brought to you by SilverKris. Look out for the last part of this series that lets you in on the best places to take the whole family.
This story was produced in partnership with Meiko Tailor.
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