Forget the tacky Merlion stuff; there are better souvenirs and collectibles easily accessible that’ll make a much better quality piece of Singapore to bring home. From local literary works to unique trinkets that take inspiration from our local heritage and neighbourhoods, here are a few places that we turn to (especially since National Day is ’round the corner).
Gallery & Co.
Situated at the National Gallery, Singapore’s very own contemporary Southeast Asian art museum, is one of the coolest museum stores in the region. Complete with a bookstore and a café, Gallery & Co. is definitely the place to get quality souvenirs with major creative art and design themes by both local and international designers. Yayoi Kusama’s Life is the Heart of a Rainbow is currently exhibiting so you can look forward to things like socks and mugs inspired by her art pieces.
At this little gallery shop, you’ll be able to find collectables as well as meaningful objects that were created by Singapore designers in collaboration with Japanese craftsmen, all in the name of producing meaningful local souvenirs. This store is ideal for those who love their china- porcelain plates, teacups, and the like. Source for timeless pieces of clothing and accessories here as well, if you wish to bring back something that’s uniquely Singapore. A word of warning: once you enter, you might never want to leave.
Fellow book worms, we’ve got you covered with this one. Upon entering this quaint independent book store in the enchanting neighbourhood of Tiong Bahru, you’ll likely feel like you’re completely transported to another world. One where cats could romp around freely and where the walls were made of books, of all shapes, colours and types. It doesn’t hurt that most of the literature available here were either written or illustrated by Singaporeans, and poetry readings occur quite frequently in BooksActually as well.
An independent lifestyle store, Cat Socrates curates and sells everyday (aesthetically pleasing) items that includes home decorations, kitchenware, fabrics and sewing accessories, plants and pots, fashion accessories, vintage memorabilia, and more. They even have metal plates that they used to use ‘in the olden days’. Like Megafash and Naiise, much of their stock are either made in Singapore or designed by locals. Plus, did we mention that both stores are populated by a cat?
Cats Socrates can be found online, or at 448 Joo Chiat Road Singapore 427661, and #02-25 Bras Basah Complex, 231 Bain Street, Singapore 180231. For more information, check out their facebook page here.
Similar to Naiise, Megafash started as an online marketplace that shone the spotlight on craftsmen from all over the globe. Compared to the polished and sophisticated Naiise, Megafash definitely has a more fun and quirky vibe. This is the place to be if you wish to get your locally made candles, jams, cards and even clothes. You can also expect other cute novelty items like curry-puff cushions and Singaporean inspired notebooks and pins.