Nine-year-old Swedish apparel brand & Other Stories finally made its debut in Singapore with a flagship store at ION Orchard on Aug 19. But why the long wait? According to managing director Lina Söderqvist, the company has had its eye on the Southeast Asian market for a very long time but was waiting for the right retail space to launch.
Sold all around the world — namely the US, UK, South Korea, China, Middle East and most parts of Europe — & Other Stories’ addition of Singapore, as well as presence on Zalora (Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore), brings the tally to 77 stores in 27 markets worldwide. According to Söderqvist, plans are underway to open a second Singapore outlet at Raffles City Shopping Centre in the spring of 2023.
“We are so delighted to finally be able to bring our stories to Singapore, as well as Malaysia and the Philippines via Zalora. It’s been heartening to receive such positive reception to the brand from the local audience, and we cannot wait to bring even more stories and inspiration to Southeast Asia with the opening of our second Singapore store next year,” she says.
Stylish and sustainable
Founded in Stockholm in 2013 for “fashion-loving women who don’t go unnoticed”, & Other Stories may be a lesser-known sister of brands COS and H&M, but it has become a cult favourite of many fashion insiders for its timeless yet trendy clothing sold at high-street prices. “Our aim is to inspire different kinds of women to find their personal style or their personal story through a diverse range of designs. The goal is to become a leading fashion brand for modern femininity,” says Söderqvist.
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The key differentiation for & Other Stories is that it offers very diversified collections by its three global ateliers in Paris, Stockholm and Los Angeles, made with high-quality sustainably-sourced materials. Although the collections from each atelier do not overlap, they maintain a cohesive design language that is overseen by its design head based in Stockholm.
“The Stockholm line is minimalistic and edgy with a focus on structured tailoring and neutral tones. The Paris collection is uber feminine with girlish details, soft colours and romantic prints that exude the city’s heritage. Los Angeles is bold, free-spirited and effortlessly coordinated with a hint of glam using bright energetic colours. I like to say she would always rather be overdressed than underdressed for the party,” describes Shawna Trunk, concept designer for its Los Angeles atelier.
In line with H&M Group’s sustainability ethos, & Other Stories has set very clear targets toward halving carbon emissions by 2030, as well as using more sustainably sourced materials and a reduction in packaging (for its beauty products).
“We design our collections to last for years. We use sustainably-sourced materials as often as we can and offer recycling possibilities in our stores. We also collaborate with companies that do rental services so that our clothing can be used over and over again. Sustainability is very high on the agenda for us as a brand,” says Söderqvist.
Summer is here
Just like its other boutiques around the world, & Other Stories at ION Orchard acts as an extension of the three design ateliers, while drawing inspiration from the creative environment of Singapore. The interior decor features marble, brass and birch dotted with plenty of greenery, applying more natural architectural materials to give the store a feminine yet warm feel.
For its big opening, the store will carry all its apparel, bags, shoes, accessories and beauty products currently available at all of its three ateliers. Söderqvist says that the team is using the ION store to understand the local market better, after which, it will make local adaptations.
Themed “Bold Hues”, this summer’s collection sports plenty of arty patterns, vivid blooms and vivacious colours and bold silhouettes. Think wearable coordinates in maxi or mini lengths, with details such as spaghetti straps, halter necks, ruffled tiers, balloon skirts, ruching, sequins and cut-outs, and high-quality lightweight materials like satin, plissé, silk, cotton, linen and Tencel.
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Trunk, who leads a team of over a dozen designers in Los Angeles, assures that there will be plenty of fun occasion pieces in lightweight fabrics and versatile "treasures you can keep in your closet forever".
"We're definitely trend-based. But I think what we're more focused on is having beautiful pieces you can wear for a very long time," says Trunk.
The Hawaiian-native, who is half-Korean and half-German, has been with the brand for the last six years after honing her skills with Calvin Klein and BCBG Max Azria.
“Conscious consumption is a huge movement now and we’re really excited that we get to lead the change and make a difference," Trunk adds.
Coming this Oct 27, & Other Stories will launch a capsule collection co-created by London-based designer Natalia Alaverdian of A.W.A.K.E. MODE, known for her fashion-forward aesthetic and art-like yet wearable pieces