The Clothes That Make Us
Interview by Stephanie Peh
Photography by Jovian Lim
For 10 years, Inhabit has been at the forefront of fashion with its unconventional and progressive labels. The success of this multi-label boutique stems from its zest to scout for talent, whether that means acquiring emerging labels or refurbishing old ones. Inhabit has kept its establishment small in order to provide its customers with individual attention. The combination of impeccable curation and a tailored shopping experience provides a refreshing alternative to run-of-the-mill trends. We catch up with Inhabit to find out what this fashion-meister has up its sleeves.
Please tell us the story behind Inhabit.
Inhabit started as a denim bar in 2003 when the cult jeans culture was emerging. The concept of cult jeans hadn’t been embraced in Singapore yet, so we decided to launch the denim bar with over 10 labels. We were thrilled to be able to showcase more flattering cuts, converting customers into jeans devotees.
At the time, apart from cult jeans, young and independent designers were coming on the scene. We saw the opportunity to introduce new labels to our customers, and that spurred our evolution beyond the denim bar to what Inhabit is today. We started to build the Inhabit brand with ready-to-wear apparel including T-shirts, accessories and party dresses. We recognized that people were no longer simply purchasing famous fashion house labels, but were experimenting with pairing brand name accessories with independent designers’ frocks.
We sourced and brought in many international and relatively unknown labels that we thought would step up the fashion game in terms of style and edge. Customers today are increasingly cosmopolitan, discovering a variety of fashion in their travels. Providing them with that exposure here in Singapore is important too.
Inhabit has a distinct aesthetic. What is the process of selecting your labels like?
Dressing is a sensory experience, so we travel a fair bit to trade shows in different countries. This gives us a sense of the new trends and fabrics in the market, as well as the cut and fit of upcoming labels. We choose labels based on what we foresee our customers will love. But we also only select designers whom we believe in. So we go to the extent of understanding how their design processes are rationalized.
Read more in The U Press N˚1 (Singapore edition).