Next in Vogue was the place to be last weekend. A landmark three-day extravaganza that took place at the newly opened Singapore Edition, it was a celebration of fashion, innovation and culture—held in conjunction with Vogue Singapore’s third anniversary. Beauty masterclasses were conducted at the Vogue Glam Room, as iconic pieces from designers Bad Binch Tongtong and Miss Sohee were put on display in the fashion playground that was the Vogue Closet. A pop-up at Boutique Fairs Singapore showcased three incredible local designers, and an exclusive gala made for a night to remember.
But at the centre of the event was Next in Vogue Conversations. A series of 11 panels across two days, it assembled local and global thought leaders for insightful discussions on how innovation and culture is revolutionising the sartorial landscape. Offering a peek into the future of fashion, the first-of-its-kind gathering of fashion’s key players demonstrated Vogue Singapore’s commitment to having meaningful conversations on the topics that matter.
The first day was an exploration of innovation in style, delving into the influence of technology on the local and global fashion industry. Day two then saw a shift in focus onto the next generation of creatives—with a series of conversations led by those who will be shaping the fashion industry for years to come. Below, we round up the biggest insights gained from the two days—across topics in fashion, innovation and culture.
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Next in Vogue—Next in fashion
To kickstart Next in Vogue Conversations, editors-in-chief of Vogue Singapore and Vogue Philippines Desmond Lim and Bea Valdes sits down with international broadcaster Sharanjit Leyl to discuss staying rooted to Southeast Asian identity amidst the global sartorial stage—and the future of fashion they hope to see.
Valdes shares, “We try to put together stories that have this deeply connective human element. I believe that for the print magazine, it has to be worth it. It has to be meaningful. With Vogue, it’s not just the magazine, it is a platform. One of the things that has been so important to its longevity is the fact that it can adapt—and not just adapt, sometimes it can lead as well. Within that space, we’ll continue to bring together stories catered to many different audiences. We will speak on important ideas like inclusivity, sustainability, or craft and creativity—but all through the lens of fashion. I think that is definitely going to be the future of fashion, and we will be there at the forefront to pave the way.”
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New Ways Forward: How emerging technologies influence the fashion landscape
‘New Ways Forward: How Emerging Technologies Influence the Fashion Landscape’ gathers some of the biggest names working in the intersection between technology, fashion and culture today: founder of Alethea AI Arif Khan, co-founder of Institute of Digital Fashion Leanne Elliott Young, APAC president of Snap Inc Ajit Mohan, founder of Spatial Labs Iddris Sandu and co-founder of beauty-tech label Kiki World Jana Bobosikova. Moderated by founder of Cash Labs David Cash, the panellists had an insightful conversation on how tech can revolutionise sustainability in fashion, the importance of keeping emerging technologies accessible to the layman and the aspects of technology that they believe will shape fashion and culture in the near future.
“Every good technology is invisible,” notes Bobosikova, “One very important thing about what we’re building at Kiki World is that it is a world that belongs to customers offline as well as online. What we’re seeing, because our token collectibles are very cute, is that customers are much more excited about them even if they might not fully understand them. When customers have that token, they can connect with other people who have it as well, and that builds a community.”
Young explains, “For me, the one aspect of technology that would play a vital role in fashion and culture is identity. Within the fashion landscape, we see that the idea of identity—how you present your digital self, and how it is involved in your physical self—is the new texture and materiality of the future. That is something that is really interesting for the fashion perspective, particularly when it comes to technologies like avatar creation or AI.”
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In conversation with Ashley Park
Headlining Next in Vogue, Tony, Grammy and Critics Choice nominated actress Ashley Park joins Vogue Singapore’s fashion features editor Maya Menon for a brilliant discussion on Asian representation on an international stage, and how fashion has become an integral part of her creative expression.
Talking about how the entertainment industry has evolved in terms of diversity, Park shares, ”When I first moved to New York City and did my musical theatre degree, we had to write down, for our showcase, what our dream part was. I wrote: the ensemble in Cinderella or Wicked. I wanted to be a part of those shows, but felt like I was being realistic in terms of what avenues would be open for me. Afterwards, there was a time when colour-blind casting was a thing. So, if I could walk into an audition room and make people forget I was Asian, then I was doing a good job. What’s interesting is that now, we’ve entered a time where it’s more about colour-conscious casting. I don’t want to be cast because someone forgot I was Asian, I want to be cast because they saw me as a whole person.”
“With fashion, I want to keep exploring and surprising myself. I used to find stuff that I could hide behind wearing. I used to think: ‘If I’m wearing that, even if I don’t feel like I look great, the clothing will speak for itself’. Now, it’s about figuring out what really inspires me. How can my clothing enhance and elevate what I’m feeling and what I want to express, so that I’m a part of the conversation?”
“What I hope is Next in Vogue is inclusion, in every way. I feel like in a lot of areas of pop culture, technology or fashion, there’s a sort of hype with feeling exclusive, or feeling like what you have is not accessible for others. So I hope for inclusion, and also conversation. The conversations we are having now are not the same conversations we were having a few years ago. At least that’s the case for me. The things that I’m asked now on sets or at events have completely changed in the last couple of years—and I hope that continues, whether that’s in fashion or in other ways.”
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IRL vs. Virtual Worlds: Challenges & opportunities for fashion's new world
From immersive metaverse experiences to online showcases, the way we experience fashion has changed drastically in today’s hybrid landscape. Moderated by Vogue Singapore publisher Bettina von Schlippe, we investigate what this means for the fashion industry—with the help of creative director of Bad Binch Tongtong Terrence Zhou, director of global affairs at Journee Ida Kymmer, founder of Spin.fashion Eliana Kuo, vice president of global industry partnerships and APAC commercial at Farfetch Alexis Bonhomme and founder of Cash Labs David Cash.
Zhou shares, “As a fashion designer, creating immersive experiences is a long term journey. We are always striving to tell the best story with our imagination, but the challenge used to be that we didn’t have the technology to support that. It’s really incredible to see all the different technological tools today that can make our imagination a reality.”
At the end of the day, technology is what we make of it. Cash elaborates, “When we start looking at these really transformative technologies like AI or XR, they allow us a path to start experiencing reality differently. But it’s up to us how we take on that challenge—and whether we perceive this as an opportunity or to a detriment.”
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Singapore Style: Fashion identity in a multicultural nation
Bringing together key names pushing the fashion landscape of Singapore forward, Vogue Singapore examines what local style means through notable emerging trends and how they are tied to our identities as a nation. Joining in on the discussion are Singapore Fashion Council CEO Semun Ho, director of Asian Civilisations Museum Kennie Ting, fashion lecturer at Lasalle Daniela Monasterios Tan, fashion director Daniel Boey and footwear designer Firdaos Pidau.
“The world and the fashion scene has evolved, and as role models ourselves, we have a responsibility to be open and to make it a safe space,” Boey says. “We have to champion inclusivity, and champion the designers who are going to be the next generation of role models, the next generation of important voices in fashion—regardless of what they look like or their skin colour.”
On what he hopes to see more of in the local fashion scene, Pidau shares, “Conformity used to be a virtue in Singapore, and I feel like that is changing slightly now. I would like to see Singapore fashion be more experimental, more open and more progressive.”
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How the music and entertainment industry is influencing fashion
Fashion has never existed in a vacuum. Here, actress Fiona Xie, creative director and fashion stylist Andrea Wong, actor and musician Glenn Yong and actress and producer Tan Kheng Hua come together to explore the dynamic connection between music, entertainment and fashion—in an insightful conversation led by host Yvette King.
Concentrating on the local entertainment industry, Tan talks about the intrinsic relationship between fashion and acting. “Here in Singapore, we don’t give enough consideration and respect and time for the designers of make-up, hair and costume,” she reflects. “I think the more time we spend with them as fellow creatives, to come up with characters, the better we are going to be able to embody the roles we play.”
Broadening the conversation to speak on international celebrities and brand endorsements, Wong shares, “I think celebrities have evolved. Look at the influence and the power that they hold. They are their own personal brands now, and there’s a lot more control over their image and their narrative. These brand endorsements become an extension of their own brand. There’s a shift in power dynamics. It’s no longer about the celebrity fitting the brand. It’s about the brand fitting the celebrity.”
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Voices: The next generation
As the second day of Next in Vogue conversations shifts its focus to the next generation of creatives, we open with a panel that gathers four young emerging voices. Producer and musician Shye, illustrator and climate activist Qiyun Woo, creative multi-hyphenate Mae Tan and digital artist Shavonne Wong come together to discuss navigating the evolving creative landscape in Singapore—in a panel moderated by Vogue Singapore’s associate lifestyle editor Chandreyee Ray.
Sharing on the potential of creative storytelling, Woo explains, “I never saw myself as a creative at the beginning. For me, it was always cause first. But I felt like there needed to be a new way of talking about environmental matters, such that people would be willing to listen. So when I started illustrating, I was very intentional that things had to look cute and be colourful, because it lowers people’s inhibitions to receiving some of these pieces of information that might not be very nice to hear. It was about how I could use art and creativity to tell these stories in a more interesting way. If I can tweak my colours or medium, maybe my audience will understand something in a new way or be more open to thinking about these things that I care about.”
“Authenticity in the age of social media is getting very hard because we are bombarded with content every single day,” Tan reflects. “It’s a competition where everyone is trying to beat the algorithm and get the numbers. I think the hard part is reminding yourself of who you are, what your cause is and what your intentions are. As creatives, this plays a very big part in remaining authentic and not simply following the trends.”
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Fireside chat with Josh Niland
Acclaimed Australian restauranter Josh Niland is known for his revolutionary approach to cooking that focuses on creating a circular economy within the restaurant, where no part of an animal goes to waste. Vogue Singapore’s deputy editor Amelia Chia sits down with Niland for a casual conversation on the opening of his new restaurant at The Singapore Edition, Fysh.
On what motivated him to begin exploring nose-to-tail gastronomy, Niland explains, “The whole idea of what we do came about when we opened Saint Peter in 2016. Usually innovation is born around a problem, and my problem was that on day one, my fish bill was $4,500. In the grand scheme of things that doesn’t seem like a lot, but on the first day, that was pretty shocking. Then, thinking about the education that’s given in cooking school, half of what you’ve purchased goes in the bin. In the western culinary world, we really only celebrate about 45 percent of one single fish, which comes in the form of the fillet. Even within that fillet, we’re really only looking at the 15 centimetres in the middle that is perfectly rectangular. To me, to have $2,500 of opportunity just thrown out, after starting with $4,500—that didn’t make any sense at all.”
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The Next Fashion Revolution: Creative jobs for fashion’s new world
With fashion having the reputation of being a difficult field to break into, Vogue Singapore gathers head of the school of fashion at Lasalle Circe Henestrosa, founder of accessible fashion label Werable Claudia Poh and co-founder of She Loves Tech Leanne Robers for an insightful discussion on the evolving opportunities and challenges in the industry.
Sharing her personal story, Poh says, “Oddly enough, I never really thought of myself as a fashion designer in the last few years. When I graduated from fashion school, my teachers actually told me that they thought I would have a very hard time finding a job. They said, ‘You think and you create more like a product designer’. They were right. When I went out into the job market, I didn’t find a place with the fashion design people, but I didn’t really fit in with the product design people either. That’s when I realised that it wasn’t about the skill set that I had. Rather, it was about what area I had an interest in and that I cared about, and how my mind works. What kind of mental models do I have, and where best can I thrive? For me, that is in a start-up space, especially in the social sector. I found out over time that my goal is more people-centred than I ever considered, and maybe it’s not locked into what we think of as the role of a fashion designer.”
With this in mind, she shares her best advice for young creatives looking to enter the fashion scene, “Being open-minded about your career and different roles in the industry would be very helpful. Think first about what you care about, and what you can do about that. Even if it’s not in your skillset, figure out what you can learn to solve that problem. Who cares what the role is called, just move in that direction and maybe you’ll find that it’s your north star.”
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Content 3.0: Where do we move with storytelling?
It’s undeniable that TikTok has revolutionised content creation. To find out exactly how so, Vogue Singapore invites Victoria Yustinovich, TikTok’s head of brand partnerships, for a conversation on the future of digital storytelling. Moderated by associate beauty editor of Vogue Singapore Emily Heng, she is joined by regional head of social commerce and digital marketing at L’Oréal Luxe Christophe Lu, and content creators Nicole Chin and Yashora Samaradivakara to lend their perspectives as creators on the platform.
Yustinovich explains, “TikTok captured this whole need for short-form content today. The experience on TikTok can remind you a bit of what it feels like to flip through channels on the television trying to find something interesting, but the difference is that we allow every creator to make a piece of content that can capture your attention in that short time—with trends that provide inspiration, and even with editing tools. What we’ve seen is a lot of brands and creators have succeeded with that, and are able to get a very strong emotional response just by telling a story in such a short time frame.”
Sharing advice for creators, she talks about the importance of understanding your audience. “When we think about TikTok audiences, it’s through the lens of the passions and interests that they have. If we want to reach out to the right audience, I think everyone needs to focus on what kind of problem you can solve for them. We’re talking about connecting people with shared concerns or common interests—or even certain communities like people with disabilities. It’s all about embracing differences while still connecting these people together, and producing the content that is valuable for them.”
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Fashion’s sustainable materials revolution
Bringing Next in Vogue Conversations to a close, keynote speaker Dr. Amanda Parkes—fashion scientist and chief innovation officer at Pangaia—shares how material science innovation is reshaping the fashion industry. Presenting Pangaia’s many research projects, she shows us the way towards a more responsible and sustainable fashion ecosystem.
“We know that we’re not separate from nature. We can now have a very nuanced relationship with it where we can use it to our advantage, by keeping it in balance—and recognising that we have to understand the world, and respect it, and live in it, and with it. At the same time, we can still have growth and experimentation through that process. It’s a much more nuanced attitude to how we see the world.”