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Design Orchard set to open with 61 local brands

The Straits Times by MELISSA HENG

Design Orchard, the new home for Singapore labels in Orchard Road, will open its doors on Jan 25 with 61 home-grown brands.

Located at the junction of Orchard Road and Cairnhill Road, the 2�-storey mall will include a retail showcase on the first level, incubation spaces on the second level, and a cafe and events space on the rooftop.

Home-grown retailer Naiise will operate the first-level retail showcase, which will span 9,000 sq ft.

Other Singapore brands featured include fragrance and candle brand Artisan of Sense, womenswear label Qlothe, furniture manufacturer SoftRock Living and social enterprise The Animal Project.

The new mall, a joint development by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), JTC Corporation and Enterprise Singapore, will include an incubation space on the second floor, which will be operated by the Textile and Fashion Federation Singapore (Taff).

Here, Taff will nurture independent designers and fashion businesses by offering co-working spaces with resources such as professional sewing equipment, a fabric library and collaboration and networking opportunities with industry players.

Naiise will also run a mentorship programme, covering areas such as marketing and merchandising, for the brands in its retail showcase.

The programme has already enlisted 19 mentors, including well-known entrepreneurs such as Unlisted Collection founder Loh Lik Peng, Spa Esprit Group founder Cynthia Chua and Motherswork founder Sharon Wong.

In a media statement, Ms Ranita Sundra, director of retail and dining at STB, said visitors to the shopping belt can look forward to "a livelier and more exciting Orchard Road" with the opening of the new mall.

"Singapore is home to many global brands. As these brands become more ubiquitous, we noticed that more people are drawn to local products with a Singapore story. Design Orchard is thus an exciting opportunity for us to profile the best of Singapore talent under one roof."

Designed by local firm Woha Architects, the mall has a clean and modern design of concrete, glass, timber and landscape elements.

The building features a sloping rooftop, with lush greenery and timber seats, which will be open to the public. It doubles as an amphitheatre for lifestyle and fashion events.

Ms Wee Pei Yean, director of products at JTC, said Design Orchard is a new home and showcase for local design.

"We hope that it will inspire local talents to join the community, where they can develop and grow their brands with access to mentors, programmes and facilities in a vibrant space along Orchard Road."