Growing up in London, Camden market was something of a cultural rite of passage. I spent many a day loafing around, trying to convey untouchable coolness and the confident swagger that only a 14 year old can aspire to emanate. Pocket money was spent on incense – NO, I don’t smoke Dad!, studded jewellery – because I am very hard and tough yeh?, and old army fatigues- ‘cos like, olive green is soooooo my colour and I like my clothes to have lived a life before me, you know? I thought I was deeply cool, I was probably just quite annoying.
I wondered when I moved to Singapore, was there a similar spot for Singapore’s youth? A place to just hang around and be sarcastic and useless in a hip way. And it turns out, there is, but in true Singapore style it’s all a bit more productive and motivational. Rather than encourage aimlessness, *Scape Underground is a newly launched ‘street market’ that is empowering young people to tap into the entrepreneurial zeitgeist and put all that pent up angst and energy into starting your own business. It’s all very inspiring, ambitious, and a totally brilliant idea.
Scape Underground is a youth development program by Scape that aims to ‘engage and develop the aspiring youths of Singapore’. They have provided a platform for young forward thinkers, crafters and creators to test their retail prowess, craft a name for themselves and learn the basics of business development, ownership and success through fashion and lifestyle brands. This street market in the heart of Singapore’s shopping district allows young entrepreneurs to develop their business alongside some of the biggest, most established names in fashion and retail and no doubt learn a thing or two. Student’s self styled designs sit alongside imported fashion and accessories curated by each student/shop owner to create their very own shop, their own look, their own business. They have designed their own products, their own logos, and made their own creative mark.
In further efforts to support young business *Scape is partnering several education institutions, including Nanyang Polytechnic, The Singapore institute of Retail Studies, La Salle School of Fashion and ITE College East to provide training to aspiring designers through work and study programes. I think that is superb, but for me, nothing beats the practical application of business management skills, stock selection, customer service skills and all the facets of retail management through owning your own shop. All of course with a safety net and support network in place to help and guide through these first steps.
The interior design was crafted by the students of Singapore Polytechnic in a graffiti style – so far very cool. But what of the shops?
Second Look Vintage – Cheap and cheerful, guaranteed to lift any outfit into lofty fashionable heights. Shoes $22, Bags $20, Clothes start at $5
Pave and Rocket – two stalls featuring original products created by students from La Salle.
P.Avenue, Printed Graphic Tees -$39 to $69
Shibori Silk Scarves by Amuse My Soul-$40
Shibori Clutches and iPad Cases by Amuse My Soul-$30 to $44 plus many other beautiful items not pictured.
D.Y.O.N– Every colour varnish you could ever wish for, and some you didn’t know existed at ridiculously low prices. Fred, the guy that runs the store is absolutely lovely and on hand to assist you with some tough colour choices! $10 for a Opi Nail varnish.
Mocol – Phone cases for every model in a range of colours, patterns and designs, starting from $5.
Pink Candy – jewellery and accessories ranging from pretty to punk, exceptionally low prices, lots of bundle deals like 3 for $9. Go crazy!
Dress a Pet- because there is no reason why your pooch shouldn’t look cute too! Outfits start at $18.
Thy Black Beauty – studs galore! Bags, shoes and a very ‘Salt n Peppa-esque’ studded cap all starting at $30.
On top of all of that. *Scape Underground houses 4 socially-conscious shops whose proceeds go directly to charity…
The Gift Xchange: Socially-conscious products, such as items made by the less-advantaged or marginalized communities.
SAMH Singapore Association of Mental Health: They sell accessories and bags made by the people from SAMH. 75% of the proceeds goes back to them. You can visit www.samhealth.org.sg for details.
WeWorkz: They sell hand-made accessories and bags made by women from low income families. For details on WeWorkz, please visit http://nanzinc.com/weworkz-empowering-women-with-skills.
Friends of the Disabled: They sell hand-made accessories and the shop is manned by the friends of the disabled.
It’s an utterly fantastic concept and I’m just going to say this…I am a pretty old lady now (at least in my 14 year old version’s eyes!) but I shopped my little socks off! It may be aimed at the young’uns but there’s some pretty great stuff there, don’t be embarrassed, and if you are, just pretend you’re shopping for your little sister!
Written by Heh Zee