To mark its 25th anniversary this year, the Singapore Writers Festival (SWF) returns with an outdoor festival village and a selection of over 200 in-person programmes that explore a variety of topics. Look forward to critically acclaimed authors like Jeanette Winterson and Claudia Rankine who will be gracing the event, as well as SingLit mainstays Joshua Ip, Balli Kaur Jaswal, Boey Kim Cheng, nor and Zeha. Beyond the literary sphere, there’s talks where experts in the local fashion industry offer pieces of sartorial and cultural wisdom.
The festival anchors itself with the theme, “IF (JIKA, 若, எனில்)”, inspired by Singaporean writer Cyril Wong’s poem, ‘If…Else’. Behind this word choice is an interest in self-reflexivity, with the festival seeking to examine the zeitgeist and explore what lies ahead in the future.
“Every festival responds to its time; and the time that we are at in the world right now is fraught with conflict and uncertainty. There are many questions about where we are now as a global society and where we are headed towards as we cautiously make our way out of the pandemic,” says festival director Pooja Nansi. “The word ‘if’ conveys a feeling of hope and a second chance as it allows for retrospection and ideation. Through this year’s programmes, we consider the endless possibilities in the worlds that we create and take festival goers with us as we imagine exciting new futures as a global community.”
From style mavens to leading female voices, there’s a powerhouse line-up of speakers who will be sharing their two-cents at multiple programmes. Think influential figures in local fashion industry like creative director Daniel Boey and advocate for ethnic minority representation Sarah Bagharib. Especially in a time where fashion is shaped by what we see online, a discussion by digital anthropologist Crystal Abidin on the impact of social media and influencers is timely and pressing.
If anything, there’s plenty of nuanced ideas to engage with at the Singapore Writers Festival this year for style-lovers. As the late Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”
Below, check out what fashion-forward festivalgoers can look forward to at the 25th edition of the Festival.
Occasionally Fiery, Always Fabulous: An Epic Women’s Roundtable
The fashion world is not without its stylish icons who have fought and continue to push for feminism in the chiffon trenches. In celebration of the posthumous publishing of Simone de Beauvoir’s autobiographical memoir The Inseparables this year, the festival is having all-female roundtable discussion with writers from Singapore and France: Constance Singam, Dana Lam, Lauren Ho, Vinita Ramni, Nilanjana Sengupta, Grace Chia, Sylvie Denis and Emma Becker. Look forward to an insightful talk on the female friendships—both real and fictional—that have shaped our shared feminist legacy today.
Occasionally Fiery, Always Fabulous: An Epic Women’s Roundtable is on 12 November from 8.00pm to 9.30pm at the National Gallery Singapore.
Statement Piece: A Fashion Conversation
In the words of former ‘Project Runway’ host Heidi Klum, “One day you’re in. The next day you’re out”. Such a quote captures the way fashion trends are currently created: sartorial codes once considered unpopular a decade ago can suddenly make a comeback in style with one viral post on social media. But what is in vogue today? Here, local fashionistas Daniel Boey, Maya Menon, and Oniatta Effendi come together for a dialogue that will take you through an appraisal of recent fashion trends—unfiltered, of course.
Statement Piece: A Fashion Conversation is on 13 November from 3.00pm-4.00pm at The Arts House.
Hacking Your Attention: Ethics of Social Media and Influencers
There’s no denying that curated content and digital creators are everywhere on social media. With every ‘like’ and ‘follow’ we make online, an invisible algorithm is busy customising a page according to our tastes, lifestyles and interests. But what’s the ethos and ethics of social media and influencers? Tune in to what digital anthropologist Crystal Abidin has to say in this keynote talk that dives deep into the motivations behind some of the most bizarre pop culture trends.
Hacking Your Attention: Ethics of Social Media and Influencers is on 13 November from 3.30pm-4.30pm at the National Gallery Singapore.
Just Let Me Live!!! – Fashion and Labels
The choices we make when it comes to our clothes convey our personalities and moods. However, TikTok and social media platforms are constantly producing a new wave of aesthetics every other week. The sudden rise of a trend or a “core” has now come to determine identities and influence the way we behave too. Hear what local fashion fiends and beauty gurus Sarah Bagharib, Atiqa Dar, Farah Lola and Faz Gaffa think about the obsession with “types” and curating our personality through the things we consume.
Just Let Me Live !!! – Fashion and Labels is on 13 November from 5.30-6.30pm at The Arts House.
The 25th edition of the Singapore Writers Festival will take place from 4 to 20 November 2022. All information regarding Singapore Writers Festivals tickets can be found on Sistic.