Have you ever stepped into a clothing store and thought, "None of this resonates with me." On the flip side, have you wished you could own the entire store? Personal style is all about finding brands that align with your personality and how you want to present yourself to the world.

Today, we're going to explore why venturing into uncharted fashion territory and embracing lesser-known brands can elevate your personal style game. But before we dive in, let's take a closer look at the shopping scene in Singapore and why preloved fashion might just be your go-to option.

In Singapore, you'll find a plethora of local and smaller fashion brands to choose from. However, when you're on the hunt for global, mid-tier, or premium brands, they can be a bit elusive. Why is that, you ask? Well, Singapore poses challenges for international fashion brands looking to set up shop. Most opt for distributors (such as Club 21, housing brands like Alemais, Comme des Garçons, Zimmermann, and Erdem) or franchise channels (think FJ Benjamin, the force behind stores like Cole Haan and Rebecca Minkoff). These companies have a better grasp of the local market and customer preferences. Larger brands may establish company-owned stores, but the high costs of operating in Singapore, including rent, logistics, import fees, and staff training, often translate to higher retail prices than what you'd find in their home countries. The recent closure of Crate & Barrel's Singapore store is a prime example. I still fondly remember the Theory store in Wisma Atria, and back then, affording it was a distant dream, both here and back home in America.

Now, let's see how the preloved market can fill this gap.

Singaporeans are avid travelers who love to shop abroad. In 2019, Singaporeans made approximately 11.2 million outbound trips. On average, this means that each resident took about two trips abroad per year. All those shopping sprees overseas eventually trickle down to the preloved market, presenting us with a golden opportunity to explore brands we might not otherwise encounter locally.

As of 2020, Singapore was home to over 1.6 million expatriates, making up about 27% of the total population. Expatriates living in Singapore frequently return to their home countries for shopping, bringing back a treasure trove of brands like Mister Zimi, J.Crew, Banana Republic, Scanlan Theodore, Whistles, Boden, and many more. 

With such a wide variety available in the preloved market, why settle for what everyone else is wearing?

Here are some expert tips on shopping preloved, discovering new brands, and elevating your style:

  1. Don't Fixate on Luxury Brands: We all love a luxury deal, but sometimes, we get caught up in brand names. Instead, focus on the garment itself. Do you love the fabric, color, and design? If yes, give it a try, irrespective of the label.

  2. Conduct a Quick Search: Once you embrace the idea of exploring unfamiliar brands, you might notice a trend. Are you consistently drawn to a particular brand? If so, take a moment to Google it. You'll be surprised to find articles extolling the brand's virtues, discovering its status as a fashion cult favorite, and realizing what a great deal you've stumbled upon.

  3. Stalk Their Social Media: Head over to Instagram and check out the brand's imagery. Does it resonate with the vibes you want to exude? If the answer is yes, this brand could be a perfect fit for your personal style.

  4. Hunt for Your Style: As you search for your newfound favorite brand, you're likely to stumble upon other brands that align with your desired image. Don't be afraid to go against the current fashion trends and stick with what you genuinely love.

So, there you have it! The world of preloved fashion is a treasure trove of untapped style potential. Embrace it, explore new brands, and watch your personal style soar to new heights. Happy shopping! 🛍👗✨