Fashion designer wins Young Woman Achiever 2015 award; Police commander is Woman of the Year

 SINGAPORE - Local fashion designer Priscilla Shunmugam has had her designs shown at various fashion festivals such as Paris Fashion Week, the Audi Fashion Festival and Singapore Fashion Week.

The 34-year-old won the Young Woman Achiever 2015 award presented by Singapore women's magazine Her World. 

The National University of Singapore (NUS) law graduate, who hated sewing and only picked it up on a whim in 2008, launched her eponymous label, Ong Shunmugam, in 2010. In five years, she has designed and released six collections, and sold close to 2,000 pieces, according to a statement by Singapore Press Holdings.

This year, she was one of three local designers chosen to participate in Fashion Futures - a platform that gives Singaporean designers the opportunity to showcase and place their collections in some of the world's most renowned international retailers. She was also appointed a product design jury member at the 2015 Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity, making her the first representative from Singapore to be on the product design jury.

"It's nice to be able to look back at the last five years and feel a certain sense of accomplishment. When I first started Ong Shunmugam, I didn't have a lot of money, experience or connections, so I was just relying on my internal abilities - whether you want to call it talent or having a good eye or the strength and will to do something," said Shunmugam.

The award was presented to Shunmugam at Shangri-La Hotel Singapore on Friday night. Speaker of Parliament Mdm Halimah Yacob was the event's Guest of Honour.

Besides Shunmugam, another award winner is Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Zuraidah Abdullah, who clinched Her World's Woman of the Year award for this year.

Last year, she became the first woman to be appointed Commander of the Airport Police Division, where she is in charge of the security of all three terminals and the safety of all passengers in Changi Airport every year.

Her 29-year career began in 1986 when she saw an advertisement for the Singapore Police Force (SPF). She became the first Malay graduate - and only the sixth woman - to join the SPF through its direct entry programme, the statement added.

Since then, the NUS civil engineering graduate has held head appointments at the Central Police Division, Jurong Police Division and Training Command. In 2013, she became the first woman to hold the rank of Senior Assistant Commissioner - the third highest rank in the SPF.

With regards to her achievements, Zuraidah said: "This award means a lot, because it is a recognition of the work that women do and the contributions of women in the workforce. It's not just about me, but also the women in a similar area of work."

Her World has given out the Her World Woman of the Year award and the Her World Young Woman Achiever award since 1991 and 1999 respectively. The two prestigious awards recognise the achievements of women who are inspirational role models to other women.

Past winners of the Her World Woman of the Year award include Professor Chan Heng Chee (1991), Dr Noeleen Heyzer (2007) and Professor Ivy Ng (2011/12).

Justin Cheong, deputy editor of Her World, said about the awards: "Every year, these two awards throw the spotlight on local women who are confident, empowered and inspiring, and have redefined success in their own ways. As the leading women's magazine in Singapore, Her World is very proud to inspire our readers with amazing success stories like these."