SINGAPORE: An open call for the new Design Orchard development in Orchard Road will be launched in November this year.
The new development, which aims to boost local brands and showcase design talent, had its name and logo unveiled by Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran during a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday (Oct 30).
The two-and-a-half-storey development will house a retail showcase on the first level, an incubation space on the upper floors and an events space on the rooftop.
Local design company Naiise, which has been appointed the operator for the retail showcase, will launch an open call for designers in November.
At least 60 local brands will be featured in the retail showcase, with a focus on emerging designers.
Those selected will undergo mentorship programmes.
While this platform improves visibility for local brands, it also spells growth for the retail sector.
“We believe that there is a strong ability, if these creative agencies were to grow, that they will add back into the retail industry. They could add into the exportability of our own local unique brands,” founder of Naiise, Dennis Tay said.
Likewise, the Singapore Tourism Board hopes that the addition of this site will inject vibrancy into the Orchard Road belt.
“Today there's no one-stop place for designers to be profiled, so Design Orchard actually aggregates all the designers in one space,” Ranita Sundra, Director of Attractions, Dining & Retail at STB said.
“Based on some of the consumer surveys that we've done, we know tourists seek our local products when they travel, so this is actually a good opportunity for us to attract more tourists to Orchard Road,” she added.
Design Orchard is a multi-agency effort by JTC, SPRING Singapore and the Singapore Tourism Board. It is slated for completion in late 2018.
JTC is also calling for proposals by early next year for an incubator operator to manage the incubation space.
Mr Iswaran said that Design Orchard will provide holistic support to local designers by providing a platform for them to gain access to the global market.
"Designers can also look forward to collaborations with MNCs (multinational corporations), lifestyle brands for new product development and access to overseas fashion associations," he added.