After the curtain fell on Audi’s Fashion Festival in 2017, there was very little in the way of live events that showcased homegrown fashion. Not until local fashion industry veteran Daniel Boey resurrected it last year and made it a digital event called The Front Row — Singapore’s definitive virtual fashion festival.

That bold move to marry fashion and technology in this new “phygital” (a term that describes a combination of physical and digital elements) age bagged him several awards, namely the Gold Award in the Marketing Interactive PR Awards 2021 for ‘Best Use of Technology’ and the Silver Award for ‘Most Creative — Experiential’ in the MARKIES Awards 2021.

Back for its second year, The Front Row 2021 is set to kick off on Aug 27 (all the way till Oct 31) offering a whole new realm of digital fashion and entertainment where everyone gets front row seats to the event in the comfort of their homes.

The virtual experience

This year’s line-up continues to be staged in a virtual world against a backdrop of iconic local landmarks where viewers can not only teleport between locations in the 360-degree 3D fashion village, but also move about the different environments.

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Supported by Singapore Tourism Board’s Kickstarter Fund and produced by AP Media, The Front Row will feature films shot on full scale Extended Reality (XR) sets transformed into a 3D world, and incorporate Augmented Reality (AR) showcases for runway shows.

More importantly, there will be “live” and buy-now elements where viewers can also shop the latest collections of womenswear, menswear, swimwear, jewellery and accessories from around the island and across the globe.

“The Front Row kickstarted a digital fashion revolution last year in response to changing times and a growing demand to bring fashion online into the future. We want to continue to embrace new trends in the fashion, retail and digital space, and more importantly, keep conscious consumption and minimalism at the forefront of our vision in this year’s edition, and beyond,” says Boey.

Making fashion responsible

The free-to-view festival is set to feature an impressive line-up of on-demand virtual fashion shows featuring 10 up-and-coming homegrown brands and eight regional and international labels. Other fringe events include podcasts, styling workshops, interactive exhibitions and virtual chats with industry heavyweights and fashion creatives.

One of the key focuses of The Front Row 2021 is conscious consumption, where featured brands are committed to making fashion that is responsible, inclusive and seasonless. They include ITT Swim, which designs swimwear out of recycled plastics and other waste material; Cover Me Not by celebrity model Kelly Tandiono which uses sustainable fabrics; Better Diamond which produces lab-grown diamonds instead of mined diamonds; and Sean Sheila which offers lodging, food and a sustainable source of income for its disabled tailors.

Regional and international labels participating this year include Malaysia-based Singapore designer Celest Thoi, Paris-based Singapore label Deva & Gabo, Dubai-based Filipino designer Michael Cinco, and Korean collective Vacant Label. For couture fans, expect plenty of high glam gowns from Dubai-based Filipino designer Michael Cinco and Sebastian Gunawan from Indonesia.

Fringe events

Aside from the main stage, the fashion village will also showcase an exhibition of works by celebrity photographer Filbert Kung and paper sculptor Marianne Guély, plus rising local fashion photographer Hans Goh who shot this year’s campaign image featuring models Diya Prabhakar, Lisa Van Duren, Alexis Cooke, Srri Raam and purple-haired virtual influencer Rae.

There will also be a noteworthy collaboration between Singaporean jewellery label Marilyn Tan Jewellery and local lab-grown diamond start-up The Better Diamond, both of whom have come together to create a uniquely Singaporean tiara for the upcoming Miss Universe Singapore 2021 competition.

To address matters of a pandemic-affected fashion industry, there will also be a series of chats featuring the fashion experts including owners of Singapore’s top modelling agencies like Ave Management, Misc Management and Now Model Management. Delving into a similar topic are graduate students and lecturers from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) who produced a podcast on personal insights about fashion education in Covid-19 times. The students will also showcase their graduating work to be live-streamed through a physical exhibition on campus.

For the complete calendar of events, visit www.thefrontrow.style


stunning couture gowns - THE EDGE SINGAPOREDubai-based Filipino designer Michael Cinco draws inspiration from the beauty of nature and transforms them into stunning couture gowns

Cover Me Not by Indonesian model Kelly Tandiono - THE EDGE SINGAPORECover Me Not by Indonesian model Kelly Tandiono uses sustainable fabrics where possible for its swimwear

gender neutral sense of tailoring - THE EDGE SINGAPOREJude Ng plays with a signature asymmetry and relaxed, gender neutral sense of tailoring

Nuboaix - THE EDGE SINGAPORENuboaix is focused on experimental construction with a strong concept of integrated functions

Tria The Label - THE EDGE SINGAPORETria The Label engages in small batch fabric sourcing of materials that have interesting prints and textures

Shirt Number White - THE EDGE SINGAPOREShirt Number White reinterprets the classic white shirt with carefully crafted artisanal pieces inspired by form and made for function