Stale & Co.

There is a subtle feeling — a whisper of a thrill — when you chance upon a brand that marries beautiful products with know-how and tradition. Such was the case when I chanced upon Stale & Co., a Singaporean label that specializes in handcrafted accessories that incorporate traditional metalsmith techniques.

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 3.56.59 PMThe brand’s brass accessories, just like the Kenny Cuff Bracelet above, take on a whole new look as the wearer uses them over time, achieving a unique patina akin to a quality leather bag or raw denim jeans. This natural personalization process adds to the charm, ensuring that each item becomes an extension of yourself. In addition to brass, Stale & Co. also works with hardware, such as silver, and softer materials like yarn and glass beads, resulting in a balance that complements and harmonizes.

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 3.57.23 PMWith a roster of fine bracelets, cuffs, necklaces and rings, Stale & Co. also regularly adds on to its existing collection in order to provide choices that will complement a variety of personal styles. One of the newest additions is the Kurt Cuff Bracelet (pictured above), which boasts a solid feel and hammered asymmetrical ends. It’s a statement making piece that’ll finish off a simple outfit perfectly.

Haystakt — The Makers’ Marketplace

In case you haven’t noticed, there has been a shift in the shopping patterns of discerning individuals. From simply buying luxury goods, they now care about the stories behind the items they purchase; they want to know the provenance behind the materials used; and ultimately, take comfort in the fact that what they bought was made with pride and knowledge.

Enter Haystakt, a new global destination for people who care about the origins of products. The website houses carefully chosen, well-designed, quality goods from a wide network of independent makers around the globe — from Asia, Europe and the US. Notable labels include TIMO, ATEM, KEDAI BIKIN, Container and The Workshop Gallery.

Founder and Director Joel Leong, who hails from Singapore, started Haystakt in late 2012 with the ultimate goal of reintroducing a human touch to the marketplace. He shares, “What the Internet has done is to allow the niche to surface. Today, purchasing a product is about understanding the process and personalities behind it. Haystakt allows artisans to showcase their work and connect with people easily.”

On Haystakt, people interact with Makers by advocating or commenting on their work, sharing feedback on how their products are used, customised and owned. In addition, products come to life with videos and photos of the artisanal process, educating and inspiring consumers while fostering a virtual community spirit.

In order to create a more holistic experience, Haystakt introduces the inaugural issue of The Makers’ Journal, a monthly online-only publication that focuses on Making in Asia, as well as the people involved, products and processes. In this issue are interesting features that include designer profiles, a unique shopping destination in Bangkok, the tea drinking tradition and more.

Maison Kitsuné F/W 2013

Maison Kitsuné’s offerings for F/W 2013 are hardly complicated. There are no elaborate silhouettes, no gimmicky cuts and is free from synthetic materials. Instead, gentlemen are getting classic, tried and tested pieces, such as shawl collar cardigans, peacoats, sport coats and varsity jackets that will look relevant season after season. As expected, colours are muted, save for a peacoat and cable-knit sweater rendered in the most elegant shade of cerulean.

Staying true to the brand’s identity, everything is styled in a way that calls to mind the elegance of the ’50s and ’60s, while still exuding a collegiate preppy look that Maison Kitsuné does so well.

 

Vanda Fine Clothing: Don’t Forget the Details

Some might say that guys get the short end of the style stick because of the limited amount of accessory options. Aside from footwear and belts, there are watches, the occasional bracelet, neck and bow ties, pocket squares and not much else. This may be a problem for gentlemen who have a penchant for peacocking, but for the understated male, it’s probably a relief.

Given the meager options in accoutrements, men can buy fewer pieces of the best quality options and use them time and again. This saves the hassle of constant and unnecessary purchasing. When it comes to neckties and pocket squares, Gerald and Diana of Vanda Fine Clothing know a thing or two about quality, as they source their fabrics from the best suppliers across Japan, the UK and Italy.

Handmade in Singapore, Vanda Fine Clothing products are crafted with a combination of traditional techniques and carefully selected materials. Wanting to create pieces that will last the test of time without the insane price tag was the impetus for starting the brand and almost two years later, the business has steadily picked up the pace.

However, it’s not just about picking up the first necktie or pocket square you see. Gerald shares, “Neckties and pocket squares are for complementing a look and they shouldn’t take over your entire ensemble. You wouldn’t want to be remembered as the paisley tie guy or the pink pocket square guy. Which is why when you buy either of the two, you want it to be as unobtrusive as possible — particularly when you’re a first time wearer. Once you’ve gotten used to them, that’s the time when you explore other colours, prints and materials.”

Diana adds, “When folding a pocket square, simply fold it neatly and have the edges peek out discreetly. It doesn’t have to be a big, elaborate pouf, which is commonly seen in some fashion magazines. You want it to look as if you didn’t try too hard.”

So if you’re starting to embrace the concept of smarter dressing, take into consideration the accessorizing tips shared by Gerald and Diana. At the end of the day, while accessory options are still limited, never underestimate the details. The best quality pieces that you can get your hands on have the power to pull your look together. (And don’t try too hard.)

Vanda Fine Clothing
Blk 1014, Geylang East Avenue 3
02-218, Singapore
+65 6842 2124
info@vandafineclothing.com

Holdall & Co Leather Folios

With the proliferation of fast fashion, people hardly buy anything these days that will last them a lifetime. It’s a shame that quantity over quality has become the norm, resulting in the disposability of clothing and accessories that, in the end, have nothing to show for except shoddy workmanship.

However, there are a few brands out there that uphold the glory of products intended to last for life, particularly those created by talented artisans who have been making tried and tested goods for decades. One example is Holdall & Co from the UK, a brand known for its leather folios that call to mind styles made popular during the 1930s.

These folios are made from full grain, naturally tanned leather and features a convenient snap-shut lock, as well as a newspaper/umbrella loop for when you need to carry those extras.

They are currently available in two sizes: The Organised (12″), which is perfect for holding an iPad, magazines and notebooks; and The Professional (14′), which easily fits a laptop, legal documents or even startup business plans.

Want to get your hands on these beautiful leather cases? Visit the website now and take advantage of the free worldwide shipping. Isn’t it about time you owned something that you can pass down to the next generation? After all, nothing says luxury quite like longevity.

Exclusive Preview: Jack Spade Fall 2013

This entry (both text and photos) was contributed by Max Kaplan – New York-based social media manager, who, in my opinion, perfectly embodies the ethos of Jack Spade.ed.

While perusing Jack Spade‘s Fall 2013 collection, it’s easy to forget the brand’s beginnings as a maker of simple, waxed canvas bags. At the preview, I was in a (meticulously curated) sea of apparel and accessories that ranged from luxe suede weekenders to herringbone suiting. Even timepieces!

Taking a closer look, though, the evolution is clear: Every piece in the collection has the durability, sensibility and aesthetic that the signature fold-over messenger bags had when they exploded years ago.

Dan Lahkman, Director of Marketing for Jack Spade, walked me through the collection. There was much to see: The brand’s new watch line (this bad boy is calling my name for spring); outerwear in an array of shapes and colors; selvedge denim; and, of course, the bags.

The Fall 2013 collection draws inspiration from Charles and Ray Eames — think geometric shapes, primary colors and clean lines. While these principles have always been a part of the Jack Spade aesthetic, we now see them more than ever, carried through prints and colors. Here are some of my favorite takeaways from the collection:

Geometric Prints
The classic Jack Spade tote was reimagined in geometric prints and bold colors, with the “big bird” print even appearing on a cozy wool sweater. I also had a moment with these navy patterned pants (I wanted to throw them on with a chambray shirt and orange belt and run for the hills).

Barbour x Jack Spade
Following in the footsteps of last fall’s successful collection, Jack will continue to liven up Barbour’s signature waxed cotton outerwear by swapping the traditional tartan lining for the brand’s signature orange.

Leather Goods
Take note, guys: This wallet is very important. Crafted in a supple brown leather, this horizontal fold-over style has been the go-to in Italy for years. It’s refined, elegant and the ultimate slap in the face to this.

Chronograph Watches
Jack’s watch collection will expand to include chronographs for fall (drool).

Outerwear
Two of my favorite pieces were a blazer made of raincoat material and a streamlined denim jacket. It’s all in the details: The blazer, made for rainy days, features a barely noticeable hole in the bottom of the breast pocket designed to drain water caught inside. The denim jacket — one of my favorites from any collection I’ve seen for its simplicity — has Jack’s signature orange wrapped around the inside of each button.

Suiting
The brand’s fall suiting, sold as separates for easy mixing and matching, features a gorgeous wool herringbone suit that will run you less than a thousand bucks.

Design Undiscovered in Singapore

It was a design-filled Saturday afternoon, which started at TheLibrary at the SunnyHills boutique on the third floor of the Raffles Hotel Shopping Arcade. This popup library has over 500 titles available for browsing, all dedicated to the creative fields of architecture, design, art and photography.

The book selection is curated by leading industry professionals, showcasing books that have influenced their creative pursuits. This initiative, led by Jing Quek of SUPER Studio, aims to raise the level of creativity and arts appreciation among Singaporeans by providing free access to these creative resources.

TheLibrary’s current location (until 31 May) at SunnyHills is the perfect setting for a relaxing afternoon. The shop’s interiors is beautifully designed, marrying rich wooden surfaces with minimalist lighting and shelves.

As soon as visitors step in, they are led to a comfortable spot and offered complimentary pineapple cakes from Taiwan and a soothing cup of oolong tea. Look for SunnyHills’ co-owner Regine who will gladly tell you about the brand’s history and gourmet pineapple cakes.

Next stop was the industrial area of Tai Seng. I was on the hunt for brass bookends or a statement chair at one of the secondhand furniture stores, but stumbled upon Grafunkt instead, an independent design brand established by Nathan Yong, ex-founder of Air Division and an award-winning furniture designer.

The showroom is housed in a rather nondescript building that’s easily overlooked. I worked in this area for two years and didn’t even know until yesterday that this place existed! As soon as you step out of the lift, you’ll find that every corner is filled with beautiful furniture and home accessories from local and international brands like Vitra, Folks, Nichemodern, Miniforms, Bludot and more. Displays were put together in a playful manner, sparking unique ideas on how to decorate your future home.

These two photos are great sources of inspiration for my future bedroom. I particularly love the leaning lamp and the green side table. It’s quite funny that even if none of the pieces match, they all work together harmoniously.

Good design doesn’t have to be taken too seriously. Can you spot the toys – particularly the Star Wars ones?

Designer bric-a-brac that proves clutter can be pretty. My personal favourite would have to be the concrete key holder/paperweight in mustard by Luca Nichetto. Its simplicity is captivating!

Looking for chairs? You’ve come to the right place. The Acapulco chairs above made popular in the 1950s are wonderfully nostalgic and modern at the same time. They’re made out of a coated steel frame and PVC cord, and are available in several colours.

Lighting can make or break any interior so choose wisely. Luckily, there’s a wide range of lamps and light fixtures at Grafunkt that double as conversation starters, such as the Wire Light by Decode London.

The next time you need a jolt of inspiration, drop by TheLibrary and Grafunkt and discover Singapore’s creative side. Since these places are tucked away in “undiscovered” parts of town, you’ll be able to avoid the crowds and enjoy browsing and shopping in peace.

 

TheLibrary
SunnyHills, 3rd Floor Raffles Hotel Shopping Arcade
Singapore
thelibrarysg@gmail.com

Grafunkt Flagship Store
Tong Yuan Ind. Bldg
85 Playfair Road, #02-01
Singapore

 

 

The Hunt: Statement Blazer

It all started with this beautiful Our Legacy printed blazer I saw on Tres Bien:

But who am I kidding? That print, while beautiful, was a little too much for my tame self. However, I still wanted to get my hands on a blazer with a little oomph, so over a course of two weeks, I scoured the high street shops that were all on sale. To be honest, it was slim pickings, but there were a few interesting finds.

I saw this green blazer with a shawl collar lapel at Topman and as I tried it on, I couldn’t help but think: Jersey Boys cast member. Next!

This seersucker blazer was another Topman find. Unfortunately, it was a little too big and the last one in stock.

This maroon blazer from H&M was quite the looker, but I wasn’t so happy with the fit. I had several issues with length and the shoulders.

This grey wool blazer from H&M was one of my favourites, but the material was a little too thick and hot for Singapore. If I was traveling to a cooler country anytime soon, I would have gotten it. Unfortunately, the next trip I’m taking is in Bangkok and it’s not exactly freezing over there. This one went back to the rack as well.

In the end, I chose this blazer from Zara. It fit perfectly and the only work needed is getting the sleeves shortened a bit. The length is flattering, the material is comfortable despite the dark pattern and it’s blackwatch – I’m a sucker for anything blackwatch.