Like most Singaporeans, the cute and loveable Ang Ku Kueh Girl has caught the travel bug and is going places. Ang Ku Kueh Girl is part of a series of food characters created by Singaporean designer Wang Shijia. Previously, the series of merchandise which includes brooches, necklaces and totebags were only available in Singapore.
But now, they are available at Singapore Airlines (SIA) KrisShop too. "SIA wanted an exclusive collection to commemorate SG50 with designs that are stylish and chic, which will appeal to the global and sophisticated traveller," says Ms Wang.
Specially for KrisShop, Ms Wang and her team of designers created a pouch and a mini totebag - useful for carrying daily essentials while travelling.
"We wanted something that travellers can use while they are on the go," says Ms Wang, whose dream holiday would be a visit to Norway or Finland to see the Northern Lights. Ang Ku Kueh Girl is seen prancing on top of a row of shophouses in the design, to capture the heritage and culture of Singapore as part of the SG50 theme.
"I've always fancied living in a shophouse myself so it was one of the first things that came to mind," she says. "I thought that traditional shophouses, with their colourful history, contrast beautifully with modern-day Singapore with its new, high-rise and contemporary buildings, on many levels."
She adds, "Ang Ku Kueh Girl shows her spunk and sprightliness in her moves, akin to the nimbleness of a young nation, standing tall on the shoulders of pioneer giants."
The two items come in black, for a stylish feel, and also to complement the golden silhouette of the shophouses. Gold was chosen to commemorate the golden jubilee. The mini-tote and travel pouch retail at S$35 each, and there are plans to sell them beyond August, which was the original time frame.
Apart from SIA, Ms Wang has also specially designed a set of merchandise for Changi Airport Group (CAG).
The group was on the lookout for local designers for a special edition of "Be a Changi Millionaire" contest to commemorate SG50 and "I thought it was meaningful to contribute to the nation's celebrations together with one of Singapore's most important icons," says Ms Wang. "They were looking for prizes with a local flavour, designed by Singaporean designers who would understand local quirks and culture."
The brief from CAG was to create a design that would incorporate memories of Singapore's past, celebrate Singapore's success, and dream of Singapore's future with the essence of Changi Airport in its design.
For this, Ms Wang created a tote bag, umbrella and cosmetic pouch, with Ang Ku Kueh Girl playing in a garden setting on them. "Singapore is the ultimate Garden City and Changi Airport has renowned gardens like the Butterfly Garden, Sunflower Garden, and Cactus Garden within its grounds. I was inspired by these gardens to create a set of premium gifts that showcase such beauty," Ms Wang explains.
She also elaborates that the tote bag has Ang Ku Kueh Girl on the outside, climbing up the ladder to peek into the bag. The lining of the bag is printed with the Vanda Miss Joaquim, sunflowers, cactus and Ang Ku Kueh Girl.
"It shows a secret garden inside the bag," says Ms Wang. "I wanted to show how the national flower can be incorporated into a whimsical and fun design too."
The items are primarily prizes for the instant-chance game, which is part of CAG's "Be a Changi Millionaire" shopping promotion which runs till Oct 31.
CAG has also set aside a limited quantity for sale at the event areas with prices ranging from S$15.90 for the cosmetic pouch to S$35.90 for the reversible tote bag. "I certainly hope to work with more companies beyond celebrations for SG50, to promote Singapore's heritage and culture locally and internationally.
There is so much more that local designers can do, beyond designing for the local market," says Ms Wang. "Ang Ku Kueh Girl and Friends can also be a good partner to bring a whimsical and yet grown-up look for products and promotions, bringing a fun side of Singapore to the world." firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was first published on June 13, 2015.
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