Poppy Dinsey, founder of the fashion social network What I Wore Today and London Fashion Week correspondent was recently in Singapore to host a very exclusive event for the Spa Esprit Group as part of the WIWT World Tour. I got to meet her at the event and chatted with her about local Singapore fashion and blogging trends.
From first hand experience, I think blogging is a very thriving enterprise in Singapore.
The internet penetration rate in Singapore is a whopping 77.2%. [Source]
With a total population of 5 million in 2011, Singapore has more than 3.37 million internet users. The country has more broadband accounts than homes with the broadband penetration rate at 148.9% in 2009, representing more than 5.96 million subscriptions. Singapore has more broadband accounts than homes, and the growth of internet users is quite remarkable when compared to other countries in the South East Asian region. [Source]
I won’t go into blogging trends in Singapore, but I will say that when it comes to Singapore fashion, I am personally really hot on local designers and indie labels. Even though most of their designs have a minimalist approach, I think local Singaporean designers are a very creative bunch with strong conceptual opinions which they want to express via their garments. I feel sad sometimes that they are not afforded a larger commercial market, but that’s a problem universally shared amongst nearly every business sector in Singapore because this is a small country after all and there just isn’t enough volume to attain economy of scale for brand perpetuation. Blogshops are a-okay for me as a business model, but for the most part the merchandise are supplied from the same sources so in terms of style and trend (since we are talking about fashion), I don’t see a lot of originality, strong brand positioning or cutting-edge merchandise. Nonetheless it’s great that blogshop items are affordable and accessible.
I also find that the e-commerce system here for most fashion merchants – blogshops included – is unique in its own way and somewhat different than what I was accustomed to when I think of “online shopping”. I think it’s interesting that many Singaporean online merchants are set up with basic two options for transaction completion: credit card payment gateways via Paypal, and bank transfers (which is rather analog and involves offline steps for buying customers, imo, but I guess it’s been effective for years; mahfan but effective). Being an active observer of digital media marketing, I can think of various possible business reasons behind this. With that said, there’s a part of me that feels there’s a lot of unexplored potentials when it comes to e-commerce in this country. Anyway, don’t mind me and my ramblings, I’m just being a geek.
Anyhoo~ *chucking the geek cap off*… Spa Esprit Group and Poppy D hosted a delightful afternoon which included a VIP Browhaus treatment (I got my underarm waxed for the first time), introduction to Spa Esprit products, a custom essential oils blending session and high tea buffet!
The Spa Esprit Group is one of Singapore’s unique homegrown beauty and F&B brands, with an aim to better the lifestyles of people. Established in 1996 with spa esprit, it has since evolved into ten distinctive brands: Browhaus, Mask, Strip, Qi Mantra, Beauty Emporium (Beauty) and House, Barracks, Camp, Skinny Pizza and Tippling Club (F&B). A trendsetter, SEG is always on the cutting-edge of style and choice, passionate about bringing quality, value, innovation and creativity in all its products, services and design. To date, the group has 22 outlets in prime locations in Singapore and global presence in KL, London, Manila, Jakarta and Shanghai, with more expansion plans in the pipeline.
I thought the Hungarian organic face masks product display inside the Beauty Emporium was so cute! They were housed in a supermarket-style deli meats chiller and sitting atop vintage books. That’s adorable and because the products are organic, the fridge display makes perfect sense.
While at Spa Esprit, what I enjoyed tremendously was the custom essential oils blending session where I got to learn about the different types of essential oils, their therapeutic benefits and how they are grouped as families, and can be blended according to base notes, middle notes and top notes (just like perfumes!). I blended mine using eucalyptus, lemon, peppermint and bergamot – which were shaken together like a cocktail after being added to a bottle of shower gel.
I named my personalized shower gel “Lunar Awakening” and let me tell you, it smells amazing. The fragrance wakes me up in the morning and puts me in a (relatively) happy mood; I don’t get along well with early mornings so showering with “Lunar Awakening” shower gel helps to blunt my grumpiness. And after a long tiring day, “Lunar Awakening” smells soothing and relaxing, effective in helping me unwind and be in a more zen zone. I think I did a fantastic job in blending the essential oils for myself and I’m really damn happy with the custom blend. *beaming in happiness*
After we finished custom-blending with essential oils, it was time for the Vintage Tea Party at House! Thursdays and Fridays only, 3PM – 5:30PM, $25++ for adults/ $16++ for kids.
If all high teas are served in such a beautiful setting and with so many varieties of bite-sized foods (both savory and sweet), I think I shall soon declare tea time as my fave mealtime of the day! I eat like a bird anyway so this arrangement works really good for me. Small portions and variety. And with a good pot of tea to boot. Perfect.
Rustic bread, bolognaise, mushrooms in truffle oil, chicken salad, roasted duck breast with sauerkraut, mini red velvet cupcake and passionfruit cupcake. Some may say it’s fancy, while others may say it’s simple fare. Either way, yumz for me. Rustic bread with bolognaise is good with me anytime. Kinda like a grown-up version of Sloppy Joe’s, which I happen to love.
Boy, I think I gotta go back again to this Vintage Tea Party at House! :9~
All in all, it was great meeting Poppy – I thought it was wonderful to swap insights with an overseas fashion blogger. I know that many fashion bloggers in Singapore work really hard (evident through their blogs and social media posts); I’m sure they are watching and learning from overseas peers too.
If you’re a fashion blogger reading this, what’s the big break/gratification that you seek via your blog?
And for general readers, I’m curious to know what you regard as local Singapore fashion and blogging trends, so please share your observations below, yah?