If you’ve been keeping up with the Vogue Singapore x TaFF Innovation Prize, you’ll know that the collaboration aims to unearth Asian entrepreneurial excellence. Following an extensive programme that included a two-day bootcamp and four-week mentorship with the likes of industry figureheads such as vice president of Farfetch, Alexis Bonhomme and designer Han Chong, the journey has come to an end.
After contending with brands across fashion, beauty and technology, Claudia Poh of local adaptive fashion label, Werable, has clinched the grand prize. Adi Reza Nugroho of bio-leather enterprise MYCL took second place.
Judged by a final jury that consisted of Director of Fashion and Beauty at Google Cloud Maria McClay, Chief Commercial Officer of Matches Fashion Elizabeth von der Goltz, Creative Editorial Director of Vogue Mark Guiducci and Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Singapore Norman Tan, Poh and Nugroho were selected based on factors such as the design, innovation, sustainability and scalability of their businesses.
Poh and Nugroho will be walking away with $15,000 and $5,000 from Vogue Singapore and business development agency Enterprise Singapore, respectively. Poh will also receive editorial support from Vogue Singapore. “The mandate of the Vogue Singapore x TaFF Innovation Prize is to recognise and support Asian businesses that are solving real-world problems through the art of innovation,” shares Norman Tan. “The jurors and I really gravitated to Claudia’s proposition: why can’t beautiful clothes be easy to wear? Or expressed in a different way: why can’t adaptive fashion be beautiful? Through Werable, she has created a brand that proves that form and function—especially for those less abled—does not have to be mutually exclusive.”
Fresh off their wins, the young visionaries share their key takeaways, future plans and how we can join and support them on their journeys.
Meet the winner, Claudia Poh
Congratulations on your Vogue Singapore x TaFF Innovation Prize win, Claudia. How do you feel?
It’s been emotional and very rewarding. I’m thankful for the opportunity and mostly the support of my community; my parents, brother, grandparents, mentors, friends and colleagues. I’m overwhelmed at the kindness people have shown and deeply appreciative of their support.
What have been your key takeaways from the process?
I realised that the most impactful strategies will span beyond the month-long bootcamp and that it was up to me to help the rest of the jury visualise what Norman and I could see: a world where style and function weren’t mutually exclusive; where adaptive fashion most definitely had a place in the world of ready-to-wear fashion. It was in this process that I learnt that it was hard to shape this aspirational community with just a few staple designs. It called for a collection with an assortment all driven by a singular goal, which is defining Werable’s signature.
Werable is going to be more than just an apparel brand, it’s our first step toward serving as an agency that corrects the challenges that come with longevity.
Tell us more about the plan you proposed during your VTIP journey.
Werable is a design studio that innovates easy-to-wear styles, thoughtfully designed for life, so that regardless of your mobility or dexterity, dressing can continue to be an exciting and dignified experience.
We are a direct-to-consumer apparel brand and we also provide consultancy services. We work with occupational therapists to prototype for a variety of dressing challenges experienced by their clients.
Longevity and sustainability are problems that are here to stay regardless of geographical locations or socioeconomic status. We address iterative problems that are systemic. Werable is going to be more than just an apparel brand, it’s our first step toward serving as an agency that corrects the challenges that come with longevity.
What can we expect from Werable next and how can we continue to be a part of its growth?
A six-look collection is in the works. Before that goes live, we’ll do a soft launch of select products for waitlisted members. Follow our journey on Instagram and also join our waiting list by following this link. We’ll be running a draw for virtual tea sessions. We’d love to get to know you and to create a conversation around your favourite colours and fits.
Meet the runner-up, Adi Reza Nugroho
Congratulations on coming in as runner-up, Adi. How do you feel?
I’d like to thank VTIP for recognising MYCL as a promising innovation. It is a privilege for us to receive this award. I enjoyed the process and I was very excited about the two-day masterclass and four weeks of mentorship opportunities.
What have been your key takeaways from the process?
The masterclasses gave us many new insights into the latest developments in fashion. It is clear that the role of technology is creating a significant impact on the industry.
From Alexis Bonhomme, I learnt how technology can help us get to know our customers. From former Global Innovation Director of Cartier and co-founder of Aura Blockchain, Timothy Iwata Durie, I learnt how to utilise blockchain to emphasise transparency.
I’m very grateful to also have had Timothy as my mentor. His previous experiences in the financial industry have given me a different perspective on how to build a company. We also received valuable feedback about impact storytelling and how to make numbers and data more engaging to our audience.
MYCL’s achievements have impacted our farmer’s community and have helped to keep them employed and occupied.
Tell us about some of MYCL’s biggest highlights so far.
In 2020, we successfully delivered all of our Kickstarter campaign orders to hundreds of customers. MYCL’s achievements have impacted our farmer’s community and have helped to keep them employed and occupied.
During this uncertain time, we have also equipped our farmer’s community with financial literacy classes and continue to teach them the importance of having savings. It helps the women in our community become more empowered and better in managing their own wealth.
What can we expect from MYCL next and how can we continue to be a part of its journey?
We are still at the beginning of our journey. If the Covid-19 pandemic progressively gets better, we hope to unveil our latest products in conjunction with a few brands that will be available for purchase. I can’t wait to launch this product so people can experience by themselves this new material to be worn or used in their daily lives.