Cool new shops arrive in Haji Lane

Cool new shops arrive in Haji Lane

Mondays Off
76 Haji Lane
Tuesdays to Sundays: Noon to 8pm

Occasionally, Mondays Off founder Leyna Poh will get e-mail from dismayed customers who visit her multi-label boutique on a Monday.

"Some people don't get it, despite the name," she says with a smile.

Misunderstandings aside, the store is a welcoming space. It stocks homeware, decorations and accessories, all selected by the 26- year-old. Items range from Sketch a Tote pouches to Paper Bunny stationery to Green Banana terrariums.

The graphic designer, who used to work at an interior design magazine, first started selling posters of her own creation, online. She opened Mondays Off in February last year to finally realise a brick-and-mortar dream.

She adds that the roughly 250 sq ft Haji Lane location was right for her because "I wanted a place where I could choose the hours".

She adds: "The people that come here aren't interested in malls. They're looking for something a bit more special."

Urban's picks

1. Floti necklace, $65

This simple necklace, with its geometric shapes, reminds us of playtime building blocks. The lovely cream and pink pastel colours lend it further charm.

2. Blute candle, $45

This berry-scented candle looks pretty even without being lit, thanks to the flowers and seeds embedded in the wax.

3. Izola cup, $30

What looks like a compass or yo-yo (below, left) transforms into a portable cup (right) when the cap is lifted. Great for camping trips but also cool for showing off to your friends.

4. My Matching Studio bow tie, $45.90

Add a dose of whimsy to your dapper look with this animal-print bow tie, where a well-dressed fox and panda share the stage.

5. Qorkcom pouches, $19.90 and $25

These cork pouches have a great art-teacher vibe. The cork colour is neutral and easy to match. Meanwhile, the accents - one with clear plastic and the other with patches of colour - make them unique.


34 Kandahar Street
Mondays to Saturdays: Noon to 8pm;
Sundays: Noon to 6pm

Multi-label store Et-i-kit's name reflects founder June Huang's hopes that the store's offerings will encourage people to dress up.

"It comes from the pronunciation of 'etiquette'," she says, referring to dressing etiquette in particular. "And how people in other places take the opportunity to dress up for plays, shows and nights out," she adds.

The charming, roughly 1,000 sq ft exposed brick space, which opened a year ago, carries mainly fashion and accessories labels - many of which are from Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Ms Huang (left), a former accountant, had studied in the UK and Down Under and wanted to bring the labels she had grown to love there, to Singapore.

Et-i-kit offers fashion-forward and feminine styles, without going the pink and pastel route. Some of the exclusive brands include Self- Portrait, Shona Joy and Thea by Thara.

"Sometimes, when you combine something edgy and dainty, you come up with something even better," she says of the selection.

The 29-year-old previously worked at a branding agency down the street and took advantage of the flourishing retail and food and beverage scene on Kandahar Street - a few roads down from Haji Lane - to open her shop.

Urban's picks

1. Self-portrait dress, $585

London-based designer Han Chong's designs are incredibly popular right now, and deservedly so. This dress has all the brand's signatures - lace, sheer panels and feminine details.

2. Addison jacket, $330

The leather-like jacket gets an update thanks to the fresh white colour and perforated design.

The draped opening also gives it a fun, casual vibe.

3. Vita Fede bracelet, $530

Edgy and elegant, this gold-plated cuff with malachite accents is great both for stacking and for wearing on its own. It has a nice weight to it, too.

4. Cameo skirt, $165

Preppy stripes get a flirty twist with these ruffles. The miniskirt has considerable graphic impact, but the classic black and white colours mean it is still easy to match.

5. Shona Joy dress, $215

Blown-up geometric shapes in pink, green, peach and black jazz up a simple sleeveless dress, taking it from mundane to memorable.


Digby Duke
69 Haji Lane
Tuesdays to Sundays: 11am to 8pm

A little slice of Scandinavian design has come to Haji Lane, thanks to the opening of Norwegian glasses brand Digby Duke's new store a year ago.

Co-founded by a Norwegian and an American, the Digby Duke brand, named after the owners' pets, started out online in 2012. The clean, wood-furnished Singapore outpost, which came into being with a local partner, is the brand's first brick-and-mortar store.

Mr Cenydd Tan, the store's business development executive, runs the store and charts its direction. He says Digby Duke hopes to set itself apart from its more expensive competitors.

"Eyewear should be affordable," says the hip-looking 35-year-old, who also runs an advertising and branding agency.

"And the glasses are classic and timeless."

While the roughly 700 sq ft store carries glasses and sunglasses largely from the Digby Duke line, it also includes offerings from brands such as Ray-Ban and Hong Kong label Bighorn.

Prices for the in-house line go from $149 for a pair of prescription-lens glasses to $298 for a pair of progressive-lens glasses.

The store also offers eye exams on site.

Urban's picks

1. Digby Duke glasses, $99 (frames)

These two-tone glasses have a classic, square-oval squoval shape, but the difference in frame hues - clear and tortoiseshell - give them an added bit of interest.

2. Digby Duke glasses, $99 (frames)

Do your best Waldo impression with these trendy plastic and titanium alloy, round glasses. This black pair comes with circular tips for a holding chain as well.

3. Bighorn sunglasses, $289

Rock these offbeat sunglasses with a devil-may-care attitude. The quirky striped frames are topped off with a fun accent piece spanning its width.

Time After Time
62 Haji Lane
Sundays to Fridays: Noon to 8pm;
Saturdays: Noon to 9pm

It was a now-or-never moment that prompted Time After Time founders Sandra (above, left) and Michelle Chia (above, right) to finally open their accessories and vintage store.

The sisters, who previously worked as a graphic designer at a magazine and a property agent, respectively, say Time After Time was initially only an online store before they opened a brick-and-mortar store last September.

"We're in our 30s already and we didn't want to have any regrets," says Sandra, 32, of how she and her sister took a leap of faith and devoted themselves fully to Time After Time.

Adds Michelle, 33: "We gave ourselves a timeline and if it doesn't work, we can go back to our day jobs."

But things look good so far. The intimate, roughly 300 sq ft store is fairly bustling, with a steady traffic of curious customers.

The store is quite literally a jewel box, with one-off handcrafted jewellery and accessories from places such as Thailand and Korea. The store also has a section featuring vintage dresses, mostly from Japan.

"We like vintage and boho chic," says Michelle of their tastes and how they choose the store's goods.

"It's vintage-inspired modern accessories and vintage pieces that still look modern," she says. "We didn't want to be too granny-like and in the 1950s."

Urban's picks

1. Earrings, $39

Adorn your lobes with these festive sparklers. The geometric shapes of these earrings give off a slight, art-deco feel that adds to their glamour.

2. Woven pouch, $35

Can a girl ever have enough pouches? This one has a charmingly hand-stitched pattern of rows of colourful triangles.

3. Necklace, $89

This chunky statement necklace features smaller blooms and leaves within its design, making it both bold and refined at the same time.

4. Bracelet, $25

If Wonder Woman could have her cuffs, you, too, can have yours. It may not have superpowers, but it sure packs a punch, style-wise.

5. Vintage dress, $59

There is nothing drab about it. This vintage dress comes in a great orange colour and features a wonderfully modern floral graphic print.

The Nail Social
42A Haji Lane
Tuesdays to Fridays: 11am to 9pm;
Saturdays & Sundays: 10am to 8pm

On its surface, The Nail Social looks like a typical pretty nail salon with a clean, chic interior.

What makes it special is that The Nail Social, which opened in January, is also a social enterprise, training and hiring women from disadvantaged backgrounds and filling the store with goods that support its mission.

Co-founder Cheryl Ou (above) says of the socially conscious business: "I really wanted to do some good and as a business owner, I have an even bigger opportunity to make a difference."

The 32-year-old entrepreneur, who had stints in the beauty, hospitality and F&B industries, says she began to search for better reasons to do business through the course of her work.

"I made it a point to incorporate some social aspect when it comes to staff, products and what brands we support, when possible."

The roughly 900 sq ft duplex space, which takes up the second and third floor of a shophouse, also features jewellery, flowers, food and drinks from socially conscious organisations such as Hello Flowers, Puro and Ugly Cake Shop.

The nail treatments and products, such as Angel Pro nail polish, are largely organic and non-toxic as well.

"It is social, as in enterprise, as well as in socialise," she says of the space, which encourages customers to sit back, relax and enjoy the space.

Urban's picks

1. Gold-plated cuff, $59

This beautiful, minimalist gold-plated cuff is made in Cambodia from recycled landmine material, which makes for a statement that is both stylish and socially aware.

2. Hello Flowers terrarium, $28

Hello Flowers, an organisation that trains and hires low-income women in the art of flower arranging, offers cute little terrariums at the salon.

3. CND minisolar cuticle oil, $18; Seche Vite quickdry topcoat, $26; Nail Tek strengtheners, $36

Let us not forget this is a nail salon. The Nail Social has these nail oils, polishes and strengtheners on hand to keep your nails in tip-top shape.

This article was first published on Mar 27, 2015.
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