In recent years, the local fashion scene has seen a tremendous influx in concept stores. Spearheaded by trailblazing Gen Z collectives, retail spaces including the likes of Spadesroom and Plop Apparels have garnered a sizeable cult following. They offer a diverse selection of eclectic styles and indie brands, comprising clothing that would not be available at your run-of-the-mill vintage hunts. The latest edition to the lineup? TWON.
Behind the wheel of this newly-launched concept store at Golden Landmark shopping complex is 21-year-old undergraduate Jesselynn Ni, who runs TWON alongside her business partner Jaydon Ng. Ni is also the founder of popular preloved store TWOWORLDS, a cosy corner boutique that too is nestled in the storied mall, widely frequented by artsy locals and tourists looking to thrift. The store carries a wide array of pieces from across 30 clothing vendors, with a primary focus on secondhand garments that dabble in the fairy-core and coquette-core aesthetic.
Stepping foot into TWON, one would immediately notice the industrial design references that pervade the store, from the rugged concrete flooring to the steel racks and accessory drawers. Grunge-inspired graffiti art adorns several of the walls, the rest remaining raw and bare with the exception of pebbles and fluorescent lighting.
Ni shares that most of the brands currently stocked are small emerging brands from Vietnam—a list that includes elevated streetwear and jewellery—alongside several coveted vintage items from TWOWORLDS and one local brand, Loncho. Cropped baby tees, cargo pants and distressed outerwear make up most of the clothing, their greyscale colour palette seamlessly complementing the industrial nature of the store. “My personal favourite would be this brand called Alcyus, as many of their designs revolve around a spider motif that I particularly enjoy,” she shares.
Opening a second retail space was not without its own set of challenges, Ni recounts. With delays in production and shipping of several items, deadlines were not met and the official launch of TWON was pushed back by a month. Ni remained unfazed, however, taking each of these challenges as learning points: “At the end of the day, it’s all about adaptability. There’s always ways to work around the problem, it’s simply a matter of perspective and learning to trust the process.”
“A physical store allows us to translate our concept and vision to our customers.”
Below, the intrepid entrepreneur and creative delves into further detail on the inspiration behind TWON, her curation process and plans for the future.
What was the aim behind launching TWON?
I felt that there was a lack of clothing I liked in Singapore, and I wanted to bring in smaller brands with uncommon designs to the masses.
Who is the target audience for TWOWORLDS and TWON? And how are they different?
I’d say the target audience for TWOWORLDS is younger and more diversified, whereas TWON sees an older and more niche crowd. Most of our customers that come into TWON already have a distinct idea of what they are looking for.
Why a physical retail space instead of an online venture?
A physical store allows us to translate our concept and vision. Being able to feel and try the clothes on also allows for a more intimate and immersive retail experience for our customers.
What were some of the challenges with running the store?
The biggest challenges are definitely figuring out the administrative and logistical matters. Surprisingly, it was trickier to start TWON as compared to TWOWORLDS as there were higher expectations during the process of launching the former.
What was the curation process like? How do you guys decide which pieces or brands to bring in-store?
All of the brands we currently stock are from Vietnam, emerging labels that are interested in exploring the Singapore market. As for the specific items we carry, they are curated based on fit and styles that we ourselves would wear.
If there is one reason someone should shop at TWON, what would it be?
As fashion can seem intimidating to many at times, TWON is perfect for those looking to get into fashion—the store offers wearable everyday pieces with unique designs and twists, and the prices are affordable in comparison to luxury boutiques.
Lastly, what are the plans for TWON and yourself in the future?
For TWON, I hope to continue to develop our own identity. We are also in the midst of designing our first collection which will be released sometime next month, with the eventual goal being to exclusively sell our own clothing. On a personal level, I hope to pursue more collaborative projects with other local creatives within fashion.
TWON at #02-07 Golden Landmark shopping complex is open daily from 1.30-7.30pm.