The Singapore Fashion Week marks its second year with a new venue, a new stage and an all-Asian roster of local and international talents.

The annual Singapore Fashion Week returns for its second run, and a lot has changed. Organised by Mercury Marketing & Communications, SGFW will be held from Oct 26 to 30, instead of May as was the practice in the past. The National Gallery also makes its debut as SGFW’s new venue and partner, replacing Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza. These changes are big: With the addition of another stage this year, more attendees can be accommodated.

One of the highlights for the event this year is its all-Asian line-up of designers on the main stage of the Supreme Court Terrace. Beijing-born couturier Guo Pei will start the event off with her spring/ summer “Courtyard” collection. Guo is an icon in the Chinese fashion industry and in Time Magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in the world this year.

To further mark her success in the industry, Guo became the first Asian designer to be invited as a guest member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, a French trade association of high fashion that houses an exclusive group of fashion labels approved by the French Ministry of Industry. The parent body is the Fédération Française de la Couture, the governing body for the French fashion industry. Under this umbrella body, all brands are allowed to use the prestigious title of “Haute Couture” for their pieces.

Indian-American designer Naeem Khan is another big name who will take to the stage this year. The designer has crafted gowns for the likes of Beyoncé, First Lady Michelle Obama and Taylor Swift. Malaysian-born designer Han Chong will also take centre stage with his Self-Portrait label, showcasing his spring collection. Based in London, his work has been recognised for the clever use of lace, and appreciated by many A-list celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon, Kristen Stewart and Kendall Jenner.

The SGFW Gallery is not going purely international, though, as local designers such as Priscilla Shunmugam of Ong Shunmugam will return to represent the local fashion scene. Shunmugam has covered a lot of ground in a short span of time: She was awarded “Designer of the Year” in 2012 and Ong Shunmugam was one of five Singaporean labels selected to have solo shows at the Singapore Audi Fashion Festival 2014.

Arissa Cheo, local style icon and founder of Carte Blanche X Group, is also making an appearance with the release of her apparel and accessories line ARISSA X. Other main stage events include Ed Hardy’s new Hardy Hardy’s apparel collection and Tiffany & Co’s premium jewellery presentation.

The Singapore Fashion Week Access (SGFWA) will make its debut as a supporting platform aimed at opening doors for budding designers and businesses specialising in online and social media. Participants from Fashion 2.0 MAX.TAN will start off the SGFWA festival, followed by first-time shows from Elyn Wong from Stolen and Danielle Woo from Aijek, among others. Other upcoming labels to look out for on the runway include Chi Chi Von Tang and Nude Femme.

Among the plethora of changes this year, SGFW has acquired Digital Fashion Week. DFW is an offline and online platform that supports the works of designers in the local fashion scene. It is the world’s first live stream fashion event that permits live purchases off the runway. Through this teamup, the SGFWA will feature a 360 Virtual Reality live broadcast straight from the runway — that airs on both official websites.

DFW and SGFW will also collaborate in an online project, #SGFWSocial, to further expand its future content and campaigns. SGFW ambassadors such as Present Purpose’s programme director Tracy Phillips; Love, Bonito’s co-founder Rachel Lim; and Elementary Co’s co-founder Charmaine Seah-Ong will take part in this online movement. Influencers from the DFW Insiders programme such as Malaysian actor Keith Foo; Kim Raymond, owner of Mezza9 at Empire Damansara, Selangor; American-born illustrator and designer Sophia Chang, and local fashion blogger Andrea Chong are in on it too.

The fashion festival this year will open up many retail opportunities with an “immediate purchase” approach. Also collaborating in the event are Gallery & Co, Zalora, Boutique Fairs Singapore and TANGS to give attendees a retail experience amid the runway shows.

SGFW retains its educational partner, LASALLE College of the Arts, to bring back the SGFW Fashion Talk Series, which has fashion technology theme this year. The talk will be conducted by social media experts, editors and designers. They will share their valuable experiences and knowledge with aspiring students and junior companies within the industry.

For more information, visit www. singaporefashionweek.com.sg

This article appeared in the Options of Issue 751 (Oct 24) of The Edge Singapore.