Monday January 21, 2013
Labels made for men
By BERVIN CHEONG
Two new Singaporean labels aim to provide practical fashion for guys.
FOR fashion labels CarryallJames and The Regimen, it is the notion of giving men a more utilitarian option to dressing up that has led to their creation. The former carries a range of bags, and the latter features a mixture of apparel and accessories – but with the same basis of making fashion accessible to guys.
Both of the labels are designed with the modern man in mind. The founder, Young Kong Shin (or more affectionately known as Kong to his friends) says that the brand is based on the idea of utility.
“The aesthetic that is immediately apparent is one that may not be necessarily trendy. Instead, it fits a person who can be described as style-savvy,” he explains in an e-mail interview.
Kong, 47, was born and bred in Singapore, but has had the experience of living abroad for many years. He first studied at the University of California, San Diego where he was pursuing a pre-med major, before he dropped out and returned home to work in fashion.
“When I got back at that time, I was offered a job at Esprit. Working with that company, I realised that I enjoyed doing product development within the industry,” relates Kong.
“This was in the 80s and back then, one could easily get a merchandising job just through eagerness alone.”
Kong then went on to enrol in the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and this time round, he graduated with an associate degree in textile development.
The reason for choosing that particular subject of study is that he sees the need to understand the materials better before he could fully pursue product development in fashion.
When Kong returned to Singapore, he began working for GAP – whereby he performed licensing work for men’s shirting brands like Kenzo, Arrow and Van Laack. He later joined FJ Benjamin and thereafter Raoul. He stayed with Raoul for 12 years and during that time, he worked exclusively on the brand’s menswear and accessories.
Kong says that he started the labels, CarryallJames and The Regimen through the encouragement of a friend, who happens to be his present business partner. CarryallJames debuted with an Autumn/Winter 2012 collection, while The Regimen is newly launched with a collection coming out for the upcoming Spring/Summer 2013 season.
CarryallJames is considered to be Singapore’s first bags-for-men label and it has built a reputation for pushing forward a particular bag type: the tote. The label firmly believes in the tote’s versatility and functionality, and has made it even better with the incorporation of a hard-wearing construction.
For Spring/Summer 2013, CarryallJames expands on the ideas seen in the debut collection but with a more evident sports influence. The use of bolder colours and rugged design are evident, and paired with textile checks as seen on a man’s shirt.
The Regimen, on the other hand, looks to a more military style of design. As the name suggests, the label takes the quintessential army uniform out of the combat zone and redesigns it into modern civilian wear. Inspired by regiments from all over the world, the new collection offers menswear and accesories with subtle military details.
The apparel and bags from both the CarryallJames and Regimen collections are priced from SG$219 (RM549) to SG$519 (RM1,302).
Kong and his business partner have also recently opened a new boutique for men in Singapore that showcases a range of fashion apparel and accessories, as well as lifestyle products. Named 1st Storey, the store is home to various local labels, which are picked “based on their design merit and quality finish.”
Keen to introduce his brands to more markets, Kong is on the lookout for possible distributors in the region, including Malaysia.
For more information, log onto www.carryalljames.com.