Get your seats to The Front Row: A digital fashion revolution

I don’t know about you, but I could spend an entire weekend intensely watching episode after episode of Next In Fashion and RuPaul’s Drag Race. Nothing is more mind-blowing than seeing contestants sketch designs from scratch and tread the journey from fabric to fashion. 

If you’re a fashion design geek like me, keep your eyes peeled for The Front Row (TFR)– a collaboration with Singapore Design Week to showcase the crème de la crème of fashion design from Singapore and beyond. 

Returning for its third year from the 16th to 25th September 2022, The Front Row seeks to take fashion to the people by transforming a public space into an interactive phy-gital gallery – presenting a trans-digital world where virtual events cross over into physical space and intermingle with reality. 

With the hashtag, #Fashtag X Raffles City Singapore spearheading this year’s theme, you can expect Raffles City Mall to undergo a makeover thanks to the curators of The Front Row.

Daniel Boey, Founder and Creative Director of The Front Row, mentioned that this year they are “partnering with exciting and, sometimes, unexpected local, regional and even international creatives consisting of designers, photographers and content curators, as well as the brightest students from Singapore’s fashion schools. We are showcasing NFTs and the metaverse, which are rapidly shaping the future of design and fashion.”

The Front Row #Fashtag: Daniel Boey
Daniel Boey, Founder and Creative Director of The Front Row

With the ever-changing landscape of design, fashion and technology, I am excited to see the new and innovative ways industry experts and students integrate elements from various fields into their own designs! Here are some highlights we can look forward to. 

First up is #METAMATTERS –  a phygital exhibition blending fashion, photography and art. Content Creators include Singapore’s Chuando & Frey and Mirl incubator, as well as Filbert Kung from the Philippines. The creators are in a special cruelty-free collaboration with photographer Rui Liang, fashion designer Thomas Wee and former Singapore top model Pat Kraal.

The Front Row #Fashtag: Pat Kraal
Pat Kraal, former Singapore Top Model, striking a regal pose

For the crypto geeks out there or those who are simply intrigued by the metaverse like me, be sure to check out #MADEINREALLIFE. This is a special NFT showcase curated by MIRL, the organisers of Meta Jam Asia, the first NFT Festival in Asia and Singapore’s first Digital art and experiential festival. The centrepiece of this is an upcycled couture gown with NFT elements created by Joanna Lim, one of the founders of MIRL.

A central goal of TFR this year is to showcase designs aligned with sustainability and eco-friendliness. With the fashion industry often being libelled for unsustainable practices, many creators are now searching for innovative ways to do their part for the environment. 

#FASHIONAVATARS does just that. It is phygital showcase of sustainable, eco-friendly, responsible underground Asian fashion labels. Labels showcased include COVERMENOT and SEAN SHEILA from Indonesia, Tube Gallery from Thailand, Jude Ng from Australia, Ki Lee from Korea, Joe Chia from Malaysia and couturier Michael Cinco from the Philippines. The team also includes fashion upstarts Outdwell and A-Jane from Malaysia.

The Front Row #Fashtag: Michael Cinco
Couturier Michael Cinco

While the environmental crisis has plagued us for years, a more recent threat showed up in the form of the COVID virus. Many were thrust into a new way of life with lockdowns and vaccinations. While the pandemic brought its fair share of detriments, some creatives have found a ray of inspiration and silver lining amidst the chaos. 

#COVIDCREATIVES is a showcase of virtual runway shows and fashion films created by fashion producers during the pandemic, as a tribute to their ingenuity in creating ground-breaking work despite the limitations of pandemic restrictions. The exhibit features work from MAX TAN, Nuboaix and Shirt Number White from Singapore, as well as JESUS LLOREN, PVR – PAOLO RAYMUNDO, EXTA COUTRE, BEATRICE SAMSON AND AMATO from the Philippines, and is directed by ARIEL LOZADA.

TFR also features work from blooming local artists. #FASHIONFUTUREFACES is a showcase of works created by fashion students from Raffles Design Institute, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and LASALLE College of the Arts, with a strong emphasis on upcycling, eco-conscious and cruelty-free creations that are leather and fur-free as well as the use of XR to create fashion content.

A sample of some of the creative work by local youths in the fashion scene at #FASHIONFUTUREFACES

Another exhibit leveraging the voices of youths in the fashion scene is VOID DECK #CONVERSATIONS. On this open discussion platform, Singapore fashion schools, such as Raffles Design Institute and LASALLE College of the Arts, share their inspirations and respective journeys in creating upcycled or digital projects. You can look forward to special sessions, helmed by Susannah Jaffer of Zerrin on being a sustainable, responsible fashionista, and Daniel Boey, who discusses ageism, racism and size bias in the fashion industry. 

As a part of Void Deck Conversations, #USEYOURHANDSCAMPAIGN is a unique and meaningful sharing session by three creatives who have made recycling, upcycling and sustainability the cornerstone of their business. Spearheading the campaign are creatives: Irene Kusuma; and, The Kang and Becky + Rosie.

The Front Row #Fashtag: Irene Kusuma,
Irene Kusuma, the creative behind IKV, a cross-border collaboration

Running from 16 to 25 September 2022, catch the various exhibits at The Front Row! For more information, check out The Front Row’s website and Instagram. Fashion is certainly not limited to seasonal trends or mere pieces of clothing.

In fact, Fashion is at its precipice of change, encompassing art, design and technology while deeply related to issues like the climate change crisis. It can be at the forefront of solutions for the future. I cannot wait to see a glimpse of that innovation through The Front Row, 2022.

Visuals courtesy of The Front Row.

Srinidhi Ragavendran

Usually uses her miniature height as her sole personality trait, but also likes to be known for her weird obsession with Astrology, Breaking Bad and Road-Trip movies.

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