We discover more about three indie fashion brands in Singapore (clothes and bags) you can find at Tanglin Mall Shops at the retail collective A Raft of Otters. We find out who their founders and designers are, and what makes them and their brands tick!
Knotty by Nature Clothes
This fashion brand in Singapore was born of a desire shared by friends and now business partners, Karina and Nidhi. They create, curate and share classic yet interesting sustainable style choices for both individuals and the home. With minds full of ideas, many months of research and a massive leap of faith, they launched their online boutique in 2020.
The pair has a passion for using natural fabrics like cotton, linen and silk in combination with natural dyes and hand-block prints to create unique pieces that are kind to the environment when recycled. One of the key areas of their focus is working on the harmony between traditional block designs and modern silhouettes, which in turn brings a versatility to the range.
Another core aim is their support of small rural artisan communities in India whose unique craftsmanship techniques have been passed down over generations and who have a rich tradition of using predominantly natural materials in their craft.
Karina and Nidhi say, “We take pride in the design processes involved in making handmade garments that aren’t mass produced, and we also challenge ourselves to create pieces that transcend trends.”
They love that their products have a broad-based appeal, too. “Having clients share how much they enjoy their Knotty by Nature pieces is one of the best rewards for our small and relatively new business. We’re looking forward to encouraging more people to join us in our journey towards conscious fashion!”
This indie fashion brand in Singapore was set up in 2018 by Australian expat Jessica Broughton in response to the glut of fast fashion she saw across Asia. Her passion for authenticity and more sustainable options, coupled with great design, has seen the label grow internationally. KonaCoco now leads the charge on slow and circular fashion, with a focus on transparency and unrelenting quality. There’s a strong feminine aesthetic and an eye for detail in the pieces, too, that will work seamlessly into every wardrobe for years of great wear.
Jessica is a fashion designer and trained interior designer who serves up small batch authentic collections using more sustainable materials and practices. She says, “I design my pieces with sustainability and longer wear in mind. I’m a huge believer in circularity and buying less, but better. Okay – I really love beautiful design too!”
Jessica occasionally sources stand-out international independent designer labels, such as the beloved Devotion Twins from Athens, Greece. “They’re an authentic sustainable label with a secret formula that’s impossible to beat – and they have a cult following for a good reason!”
Desti Saint Bags in Singapore
Desti is a New Zealander who was born in Hong Kong and has lived in Asia for over 20 years. She has a background in finance and building new businesses but was a distributor for a global handbag brand before setting up her own company in 2015.
The brand focuses on rich-looking, quality fabrics, quality leathers and on-trend colours to create unique handbags that are comfortable to wear, practical to use and beautiful to look at.
New collections of these bags in Singapore include Italian leather digitally printed shoppers, metallic-leather hobos and jade ingot clutches. The styles are lined in distinctive bright linings and feature Desti Saint’s luxuriant, signature tassel, hand-carved jade and brass Chinese motifs, which give the bags a subtle Asian flavour and a distinctive edge.
The latest capsule is the Flame, which includes clutches and crossbodies in leopard- and snake-embossed leathers. The crossbodies are embellished with leather tassels on the side seams and, together with the clutches, are lined in a bright turquoise fabric.
Coming soon is a return of an old favourite: the Tassel shopper. These bags come in pewter and rose-gold snake prints and are light on the shoulder yet super durable.
Desti’s staple Xinjiang jade clutches are also coming out in taupe and blue damask, just in time for the Boutiques fair in November this year. The jade ingots make these wonderfully soft and tactile clutches unique and a real stand-out. Jump on the website for orders, early viewing and pre-orders!
A Raft of Otters is at #03-102 Tanglin Mall, 163 Tanglin Road. araftofotters.com
This article first appeared in the September 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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