>> It might sound a little condescending to constantly be surprised at the fact that Singapore seems to have a flourishing fashion design scene but honestly the wee wee size of the country does make you marvel at its ability to produce a sizeable number of designers presented at the Blueprint tradeshow this year. One of them which caught my eye was Mae Pang, whose collection immediatley conjured up a more refined amalgamation of things that I might have seen in Cyber Dog, a cultish store that I've repeatedly brought up on the blog as a teenage novelty haunt. The combination of black PVC, bright coloured mesh and particular sort of sheeny black polyester that harks back to the boxy jackets, oversized combat trousers and cut-out dresses that I was fascinated by at Cyber Dog. It has to be said that I never actually bought anything. The mere act of going in there was enough of a trip. Plus I wasn't sure how I'd explain to my mum that a battery back in a t-shirt was totally normal.
Mei has actually taken those elements and moulded them into a far more contemporary shapes in a mix of long and short pleated skirts, tops that are cut wide to create angular lines and strong masculine-led jackets, creating a set of pieces ripe for layering. By the by, there are no excuses for the "It's too hot for layering in Singapore!" as I wore a few silk and sheer things mish-mashed together and actually felt fairly comfortable and even cold at times in the freezing air-con and Mae Pang certainly can accommodate the climate-specific mode of layering.
The main thing that I took away from Mae Pang's collection along with a lot of the designers I saw at Blueprint, was that interesting design and interesting back stories were coupled with fairly low price points. I did look through some of wholesale prices in surprise althought It might just be my brain, inflated by United Kingdom prices. That said, buying clothes that aren't necessarily mass-market and that have some sort of design provenance or independent voice at a middling levelled price seems potently relevant now.
The advantage of that price point benefit was immediately felt when I went to visit the new A Curious Teepee shop in Singapore and bought this mesh cut-out jacket/cardi from Mae Pang's S/S 11 collection that ended up costing about the equivalent of ¬£88. That's a brack that's hovering just above Topshop prices essentially and given that there's a fair amount of design 'deets' in this jacket, I personally don't feel like quality has necessarily been compromised in favour of noticeable details such as the strategically placed cut-outs. On the back streets of Cat Street in Harajuku in Tokyo, with my limited amount of luggage, I've got a nifty bit of affordable design that perhaps is the key to marking out a lot of South East Asian designers out.