Orchard Road isn’t just about mass produced brands — here are 10 awesome local shops to check out

Gem biscuit, kueh tutu, ang ku kueh, and flour sack pillows. Photo: Naiise/Facebook
Gem biscuit, kueh tutu, ang ku kueh, and flour sack pillows. Photo: Naiise/Facebook

People are saying that Orchard Road is boring. That its glamor is fading because all the concrete buildings along the street house the same big name brands, repeated one after another in a monotonous cycle of hollow materialism.

Is Orchard Road in desperate need of a facelift? A complete overhaul to inject a breath of fresh air into the stale shopping stretch?

Or maybe if you actually dig a little deeper, you’ll find more than a few hidden gems stashed in the malls. For instance, local shops that feature genuinely cool stuff instead of catering to the masses and their hunger for commercialized fashion that revamps old trends every few seasons.

Take these 10 homegrown brands, for example. Shop your way through their stores along Orchard Road and you’ll never have to deal with the embarrassing situation of bumping into someone wearing the same Uniqlo top or H&M shorts ever again.

Actually: For edgy, street style looks

Photo: Actually/Facebook

The cult boutique is home to a myriad of brands, including Penfield, Fjallraven and local names like Mash Up, Band of Doodlers, Kult and Myrrh. But it’s not just a cool place to stock up on apparel and accessories – Actually also has its own in-house eponymous label, which sells tongue-in-cheek tees and quirky Singapore-inspired accessories.

#03-18 orchardgateway. Daily 11am-10pm.

Benjamin Barker: For spiffy suits

Photo: Benjamin Barker/Facebook

Dapper gentlemen can flock to this menswear label for smart casual looks that won’t cost you your firstborn child. Besides its Orchard branch, it’s also got a bunch of outlets across Singapore and even Australia, so you really don’t have an excuse to look anything less than fashionably debonair. From shirts and suits to belts and bow ties, the shop pretty much takes care of you from head to toe.

#02-11 Wheelock Place. Sun-Thurs 11am-9.30pm, Fri & Sat 11am-10pm.

Beyond the Vines: For affordable, understated workwear

Photo: Beyond The Vines/Facebook

Ladies, if you’ve been searching for stylish and sophisticated yet simple and easy to wear outfits for work, look no further than this beautifully minimalistic blush pink and gold space in Mandarin Gallery. You won’t find any psychedelic patterns or in-your-face graphics here – just clean lines and crisp designs that you can mix and match with other pieces over and over again without your colleagues wondering out loud why your wardrobe’s so tiny. Plus, the price tags take it pretty easy on your wallet.

#02-21 Mandarin Gallery. Daily 10am-9pm.

Elohim by Sabrina Goh: For chic workplace outfits

Photo: Elohim by Sabrina Goh/Facebook

The Lasalle grad’s homegrown label takes basic workwear essentials and turns them into fashionable yet fuss-free statements with chic prints, asymmetrical cuts and intricate details. Sporting a minimal and structural design aesthetic, each collection looks like it fits the modern, independent #girlboss perfectly.

L2 TANGS at Tang Plaza. Mon-Sat 10.30am-9.30pm, Sun 11am-8.30pm.

In Good Company: For classy clothes and afternoon tea

Photo: In Good Company/Facebook

Staking its claim on a sprawling space in ION Orchard, the fashion label’s flagship store isn’t just about classic womenswear, clean silhouettes and chunky statement accessories – it also hosts Plain Vanilla café’s baked goods and sweet treats. So you can spruce up your style by shopping for wardrobe staples with a twist, and indulge in desserts when you’re done with retail therapy.

#B1-06 ION Orchard. Daily 10am-9.30pm.

Naiise: For non-cheesy, locally-inspired knick knacks

Photo: Naiise/Facebook

Whether you’re on the hunt for locally-flavored teas (think ice kachang or nasi lemak brews), Singaporean-inspired accessories or snarky Singlish tees, this multi-concept space with six brick-and-mortar stores across the island is your best bet. Naiise is all about supporting local brands and their cool creations, so you can recommend overseas buddies to stop by for non-kitschy, endearingly quirky souvenirs. The shop displays everything from jewellery and postcards to books and art pieces to home ware and jam spreads – even just window shopping here is an adventure in itself.

#02-02/24 orchardgateway. Daily 11am-10pm.

Rockstar: For whimsical outfits and accessories

Photo: Rockstar Singapore/Facebook

Tucked away in the teen hangout that is Cineleisure Orchard, Rockstar has supplied cool kicks, fun-loving accessories and effortlessly chic clothes to eager shoppers for a good number of years. And there’s a reason why people keep coming back for more – the neat curation of notebooks, dresses, shoes, bags and jewellery makes it easy for you to hold on to comfort while exuding playful style.

#03-08 Cineleisure Orchard. Daily noon-10pm.

Sects Shop: For funky fresh streetwear

Photo: Sects Shop/Facebook

Its Facebook page screams “URBAN PUNK GOTH ALT STREET WEAR”… and that basically describes Sects Shop in a nutshell. Enter the space – brought to you by the guys behind local label Depression – at your own risk, ‘cause it’s unabashedly loud and proud of its collection that includes avant garde pieces (for those who love standing out in a crowd), funky streetwear by cult brands and witty tees that you should only wear if you’re cool enough.

#04-14 orchardgateway. Daily noon-10pm.

Superspace: For bold (sometimes OTT) fashion

Photo: Superspace/Facebook

Oversized jackets, attention-grabbing accessories, flamboyant tees… you know you’re not a wallflower when you shop at the edgy (and occasionally a tad flashy) boutique and salon hybrid that is Superspace. Almost everything is hyped up to the maximum at the store, so much so that anything offbeat and eccentric becomes the norm. Basically, if your dream is to be chased down by street style photogs lusting after a picture of your sublime outfit, shop here.

#02-18 orchardgateway. Mon-Sat noon-9.30pm, Sun noon-8pm.

Threadbare & Squirrel: For indie labels and standout accessories

Photo: Threadbare & Squirrel/Facebook

Eden + Elie, Hat of Cain, A.K.A. Wayward, Freda’D and Matter are just some of the local indie brands on display at the quiet mall space. Browse through the collections for pretty pumps, beach-ready hats, lovely scents, arm candy and more.

#02-20 Wheelock Place. Daily 10.30am-9.30pm.

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