Wearing Singapore’s Urban Form

In honor of SG50 I couldn’t help but write another piece that features more Singaporean designers that take their inspirational cues from urban form.  These designers, as compared to the Singapore Souvenirs collection, created wearable pieces of art that remind us of the city’s shapes and iconic buildings.

The HDB block’s simple open corridors, long blocks and and repetitive window patterns have inspired a few designer over the years in the fashion industry. The Farmstore sells a shirt by Darren Soh who related his HDB flat to a “pigeon hole in the sky.” The National Design Centre of Singapore is currently holding and exhibit on Fifty Years of Singapore Design that features more HDB inspired fashion by the label Hansel. In 2013 Hansel released a “Heartland Collection” with a series of patterns resembling HDB corridors.

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 12.40.21 PM Darren Soh’s HDB shirt and the a photo of by the author of a neighboring HDB block

Looking beyond the HDB block as one of the most obvious influences, another set of designers, and friends, have recently launched a collection of scarves that seek to capture “the richness of life, nature and architecture.” Binary Style was founded by twins, who also happen to be trained as architects, so they can’t help but notice the beauty in everyday urban design and historic architecture around them.  While their current collection of ten scarves draw inspiration from the natureclimate and historical figures of Singapore, my favorite pieces drawn inspiration from the island’s built form.

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 12.40.08 PM

Binary Style’s Tiong Bahru scarf and photos of Tiong Bahru by the author

From my first trip to Singapore in 2010 I have always admired the art deco curved lines of the buildings in Tiong Bahru . This scarf draws its inspiration from the oldest standing public housing neighborhood in Singapore that is now being rapidly gentrified.

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Binary Style’s Keppel Port scarf and photos of Singapore’s Port by Vessel Finder & Safety4Sea

The second piece displays the simple lines and bright colors of containers at the Keppel Port. It reminds me of seeing many container ships every time I flew in and out of Singapore and driving next to the busy port each time I was driven from the East to the West side of the island.

While companies like Brooklyn Industries have produced t-shirts with images from Brooklyn’s urban form for years, and another set of designers have placed iconic city maps on silk ties, it is still exciting to see how new designers across the world have been inspired by the urban form around them.

The complete collection of binary scarves can be found online here.

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