Girls Rule

Girls Rule
Fashion designer Sabrina Goh, whose six-year-old label Elohim is available through her flagship store at Orchard Central, Isetan Scotts and multi-label boutiques Workshop Element and Keepers.

It's ironic: In an industry obsessed about hemlines, silhouettes, palettes and prints, men, on average, still call the shots. From Bernard Arnault at the helm of the world's largest luxury group LVMH, to Karl Lagerfeld who is the creative director of Fendi, Chanel and his own eponymous brands, and who lends his name to a smorgasbord of collaborations, fashion would appear to be a men's club.

But slowly, however, the likes of Phoebe Philo, Sarah Burton and Stella McCartney are taking over the creative (and often business) reins of influential houses, while some of the top arbiters of style in traditional and social media are women.

"Celebrating women's empowerment and achievements is a big personal goal for me in 2015," says Tjin Lee, chairman of Singapore Fashion Week. "It was actually a conscious decision rather than an organic development, if you consider that despite fashion being an industry targeted largely at women, the power players and top designers are mostly men."

This year, the fashion event will feature a line-up of designers and celebrities such as designer and president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Diane von Furstenberg, pop-star-turned-designer Victoria Beckham, actress Cate Blanchett and Russian street-style Russian style influencer and former fashion editor Miroslova Duma.

Previously known as the Audi Fashion Festival and focused on being a consumer platform, this year, event organiser Mercury M&C has taken on the official name of Singapore Fashion Week, introducing a new direction that includes industry development and thought-leadership.

"I believe there is no better way for Singapore Fashion Week to make its comeback than to be led by some of the most powerful and inspiring female role models in the world," adds Ms Lee.

In fact, Ms Lee founded a social enterprise called Creating Responsible and Innovative Business (CRIB) to support women in becoming successful entrepreneurs through networking and business incubation initiatives.

As part of her efforts, she decided to focus on women during this year's iteration of the fashion extravaganza - including a platform for boosting local fashion talent, including female designers such as Sabrina Goh of Elohim, Priscilla Shunmugam of Ong Shunmugam and Chelsea Scott-Blackhall of Dzojchen.

"With some notable exceptions, it may be true for designers in past decades to be mainly male," says Ms Scott-Blackhall, whose label was launched in 2011. "In more recent years, it's been changing very fast.

Take this year's SFW headliners for example such as Diane von Furstenberg and Victoria Beckham. What's more, the majority of fashion editors are female and are very powerful influencers."

Fashion Futures is a platform that will see established Singapore designers showcase their collections and have the opportunity to be placed at renowned international retailers.

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