One Four All

Text by Cat Ong
Photography by Jovian Lim

It is a paradox that a name like IN GOOD COMPANY (IGC), intended to draw attention away from its creators to the products under its banner, almost immediately prompts acute curiosity about who they are. Apart from an unconventional name for a fashion label, IGC stands out for eschewing seasonal fashion cycles, its consumer-centric approach to design, and low-key founders. This is a friendship forged over one too many late nights at a company where they were all once colleagues—and it is to become an important cornerstone of the IGC story.

Individually, their personalities and skill-sets are different and very distinct from each other; collectively as a working team, they support each other instinctively, fuelled by their drive and determination to build a bona-fide brand. Creators Sven Tan and Kane Tan lead the creative vision of the label while Jaclyn Teo and Julene Aw run the nuts-and-bolts of the company. It is interesting to watch and learn the work process and dynamics of the quartet.

one four all in good company

Kane (left), and May Siow, in-house seamstress.

I got to know Sven when I was a journalist reporting on his Mercedes Benz Fashion Award win in 2004. His work and ideas at the time were adventurous and experimental in fabric manipulation, a far-flung departure from the aesthetics that IGC is known for today. Years later, I was invited to be part of a test panel to critique the debut IGC collection, ahead of what was to be their official launch at the now-defunct multi-label store, Front Row, in December 2012.

From their narration of the streamlined brand philosophy to the intricately-wrought yet whistle-clean clothes on display, I found that team IGC was an original on many points. For a newcomer needing to make noise in the market, I was impressed by their debut of a tightly-edited 40-style capsule collection. It was an excitingly modern adaptation of wardrobe classics that had high technical finesse; it was affordable at high-street price tiers, and ultimately, spoke of very quiet, good taste.

They were approaching ready-to-wear from a very different perspective by not adhering to the trends or fashion seasons, and they were taking contemporary womenswear into a new direction the consumer market was unknowingly waiting for. In fact, since their launch three years ago, the collective has continued to inject a new energy and palpable sense of excitement into the Singapore fashion scene. As for their blatant disregard for catwalk trends, Sven explains that chasing blindly after the trends has become a “vicious cycle and was increasingly irrelevant” in today’s business environment. Instead of rushing out seasonal and resort collections up to eight times a year to fit international fashion calendars, IGC prefers to release a gentle flow of quarterly or bi-monthly “crucial essentials” to suit the customer.

Read more in The X Press N˚1.