The inaugural TENCEL™ Fashion Design Competition 2019 organised by the Lenzing Group and the Textile and Fashion Industry Training Centre (TaF.tc) ended with a grand finale on the 14th of November, 2019. Held at the stylish Design Orchard, TENCEL™ Fashion Design Competition 2019 showcased a splendid potpourri of fantastic ideas and meticulous execution by using sustainable fabrics to create trendy designs. Not the least, it brought forth the enterprise of the home grown designers- some experienced and some amateur- in making the event a grand success.
Moms Rule the Catwalk!
We at Parents World were thrilled to attend the event and discover that many of these designers were mothers and in fact one of the ten finalists, Siti Binte Abdul Ghani was a grandmother. Not surprisingly, the overall winner was Mumpreneur, Agnes Seah Bee Hong, 37, 5 months pregnant. Close on her heels was the first runners-up, Siti Mariam Binti Shaipudin Shah, 35 also a mum of a 6 year old boy. In all, 5 out of 10 finalists were mothers, showcasing not just the enterprise, dedication and talent of these mums but also serving as an inspirations to other Singaporean mums who might be wanting to switch careers or are looking for a fresh start.
While Agnes pursued her childhood dream of being a designer, Mariam comes from a background of chemical engineering and dabbled in several professional courses before deciding to participate in this prestigious design competition. Agnes, the winner told the audience how she learnt to sew at the age of 8 in order to design and create her own fashion line for her Barbie dolls. Always, a conscious fashion designer Agnes, recycled her own old clothes and gave them new life as little handbags and other fashion accessories for her dolls.
“I am so thrilled to win, and did not expect it at all! The five-day intensive workshop at TaF.tc gave me the extra boost of confidence to pursue my passion and comes at a perfect time,” said Agnes, who is currently five months’ pregnant with her first child.
The first prize by Agnes includes the first TENCEL™ Sustainability Scholarship for TaF.tc’s Diploma in Apparel Design and Product Development; a one-year work placement at local fashion boutique Triologie – founded by award-winning textile designer, Sylvia Lim; a sponsored trip to Lenzing HQ in Austria; a S$500 cash prize sponsored by YKK; and a JUKI sewing machine.
Siti Mariam, the 1st runners up calls herself a life long learner, enjoying the very process of learning a new skill. A globe trotter, she joined various short courses in each country to acquire knowledge in different fields. She moved from fashion to cooking to finally sewing and dressmaking courses at TaF.tc in Singapore which presented to her this opportunity.
The Singapore Story:
Out of a total of 168 participants, 10 finalists had been chosen based on their dressmaking skills and on their interpretation of the theme, “The Singapore Story”. The selected 10 finalists then underwent a one-day workshop on the basics of running a fashion business, and put their designs on Tailour.co for pre-orders, giving them their first experience as a fashion entrepreneur.
The final designs were unveiled at the grand finalé at Design Orchard, where a panel of judges consisting of fashion industry veterans – Senior Designer & Consultant at TaF.tc, Thomas Tan; Founder of Tailour, Jeremy Loo; and Guest Fashion Designer from The Lenzing Group, Merdi Sihombing- decided on the final 3 winners.
While Agnes’s entry was her own take on the traditional Chinese Cheongsam, tweaking it to make it more comfortable and modern; Mariam the first runners up scripted her Singapore story by playing with the letter ‘S’ for Singapore in her version of the dress. The judges unanimously agreed that “Agnes’ design exemplified ‘The Singapore Story’ – modern and stylish yet retaining traditional heritage.”
Sustainable Fabric, Conscious Fashion:
This inaugural TENCEL™ Fashion Design Competition also stressed on the importance of sustainability and of reducing wastage to mitigate environmental impact. The designers were encouraged to create durable designs out of sustainable fabric and adopt reduce and recycle in their creations. The competition’s Sustainability Partner, The Lenzing Group, provided participants with the innovative and popular TENCEL™ fiber material to create their dresses. These fibers are produced by environmentally responsible processes from sustainably sourced natural raw material wood.
Other sponsors also graciously contributed materials to all participants: A unique fabric design was contributed by award-winning textile designer and founder of Triologie, Sylvia Lim;zippers were contributed by Japanese zipper manufacturer, YKK; and thread spools for the machines were contributed by A&E.
The Lenzing Group’s Vice-President of Global Brand Management, Harold Weghorst said, “We want to educate up-and-coming fashion designers on the importance of sustainability in the industry as part of our continuous effort to balance three elements: People, Planet and Profit. This competition not only unearthed Singapore’s next fashion star, it also helped spread an important message surrounding the ethical practices needed to make the fashion world a greener place.”
To learn more about the competition and designs or to apply for the short courses, visit https://www.taftc.org/.