Growing up, Angeline Oei loved fashion drawing and fashion design, but always felt as though there was no space for such creative professions in Singapore. By chance, while on a university exchange program in the Netherlands, Oei visited the Antwerp Fashion Academy, alma mater to iconic designers such as Martin Margiela and Dries Van Noten, and found her passion instantly reignited. This led her to pursue a fashion education at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute. After working for several designers, she started her own independent brand, A.Oei Studio, in Seattle.
This year, Oei decided to take part in Singapore Stories in order to grow her brand, as well as to try her hand at creating a Singapore-inspired capsule collection. Oei, along with eight other semi-finalists, was unveiled at the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) on April 1. Organised by the Textile and Fashion Federation (TaFF), Singapore Stories 2021 is a fashion design competition which aims to nurture local talent and develop the nation’s burgeoning fashion industry. It invites designers to create a six-look capsule collection according to the theme "Fashion and Technology: A New Era" in order to spotlight Singapore’s accomplishments as a smart nation, as well as encourage candidates to approach their designs in a way that embraces sustainability as a facet of innovation. The winner of this competition will receive the Singapore Fashion Award and a cash prize, as well as an exhibit at the ACM, a retail showcase at Design Orchard, and the chance to showcase their work at Paris Fashion Week 2022.
During the unveiling event, the nine semi-finalists were invited on a tour of the ACM to learn more about Asian culture and history, as well as to gain inspiration for their upcoming collections.
We took the opportunity to speak with three of the candidates about their thoughts on the competition so far.