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Home » Singapore Sees Fewer Fashion Design Graduates; Schools Working to Offer Students Better Prospects

Singapore Sees Fewer Fashion Design Graduates; Schools Working to Offer Students Better Prospects

by Chase Mitchell
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SINGAPORE: Industry practitioners are calling for a more integrated fashion community, on top of the government’s initiatives to profile Singaporean designers. 

They hope to encourage more Singaporeans to take up the trade, as the number of fashion design graduates dips.

According to the Singapore Fashion Council, the number of graduates across local fashion degree and diploma programmes fell by 7 per cent from 2021 to 2022.

Fewer adults are also taking up diplomas at the Textile and Fashion Industry Training Centre (TaF.tc). The number of graduates at the fashion school has fallen by a fifth.


Singaporean designer Gin Lee said obstacles remain, especially when it comes to making things locally. 

“Singapore is a small country. So we don’t have a lot of options. If I want to produce, who do I go to? If I want to buy fabric, my buttons and all that?” said Ms Lee. 

“So then, eventually, we still have to go overseas for things. For brands that are starting out or designers that are starting out, sometimes that presents an issue because it’s not within the ecosystem, within Singapore.”

Designers are hoping that other industries can see the potential in local fashion.

Often, designers need to create small batches for them to experiment with new motifs and patterns.

“If you have a bit of an ecosystem in Singapore, it’s easier for you to sample, it’s easier for you to do a small batch production, but there’s no such system,” said Ms Lee, who believes these hurdles could turn people away from design as a career.

“So if you want to find someone to create your pattern, you might face a bit of an obstacle because you cannot go around easily finding out, getting your things made or stuff like that.”

Designers are hoping that other industries can see the potential in local fashion

The Singapore Fashion Council is looking to use digital platforms to connect designers with a greater variety of regional manufacturers and retailers.

It is also trying to give fashion students more opportunities to work with big brands.

Ms Sharon Lim, vice president of the Singapore Fashion Council, said: “With schools, it’s a longer roadmap. It’s them understanding that there’s employability…”

She added: “We’ve actually been engaging the schools to say, big multinationals are also coming in here. So beyond the SMEs (small- and medium-size enterprises), you also have the other pool and they’re coming in and saying, we need more talent. We actually are lining this up.”

Meanwhile, the TaF.tc is also getting its students to look beyond Singapore. 

For instance, it is sending students around the world to pick up different tips and trades, and teaching them digital marketing to expand their reach. 

“Fashion is global,” said Ms Doreen Tan, chief executive of TaF.tc. “I also noticed that design influence can be not necessarily from the Western world. It can be from Bali, it can be from parts of China, it can be from anywhere. 

“So the more globally exposed you are, the better it is. We can link the dots better.”

Source: Channel News Asia

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