The Life List: 5 fashion brands that came and went in Singapore

SINGAPORE – British fashion brands Topshop and Topman, which closes its last outlet in Singapore on Thursday (Sept 17), join a long list of fashion retail casualties here.

Earlier this week, Wing Tai Retail, which manages Topshop and Topman in Singapore, announced the closure of the last outlet at VivoCity, and that its focus for the two brands will be online. They are available via the Topshop website and local e-tailer Zalora.

The Straits Times looks back at five international brands that tried and failed to beat the tumultuous retail climate.

ESPRIT


PHOTO: ST FILE

Closed: June 2020

Fashion chain Esprit exited the Asian market, except for China, earlier this year. It closed 56 stores in Asia by June 30, including 12 in Singapore.

The Hong Kong-listed brand had a presence here since the 1980s and found fans for its well-made quality basics.

Esprit Holdings attributed the closures to challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, though observers had noted a slump in sales since even before the global crisis.

FACTORIE


PHOTO: ST FILE

Closed: 2018

Australian clothing brand Factorie seemingly had the same formula as its sibling brand Cotton On, offering affordably priced fast fashion, but was unable to see similar success.

Targeted at youth, the brand owned by the Cotton On Group first entered the market here in 2013 and closed its four outlets in 2018.

You can still purchase Factorie products via Zalora.

LOWRYS FARM


PHOTO: ST FILE

Closed: 2015

Japanese fashion label Lowrys Farm had a short-lived presence in Singapore, after opening here in 2012.

Its eight outlets, some in prime malls like Suntec City and Bugis+, were shut by Feb 18, 2015 – a day before Chinese New Year.

The label carried casual wear mostly in pastel or floral tones. A spokesman for its parent company, Adastria Holdings, told ST then that sales were not up to par “because of climate difference and fashion taste”.

NEW LOOK


PHOTO: ST FILE

Closed: 2016

Think a cross between Topshop and Cotton On. The fast-fashion retailer from the United Kingdom opened its first store here in 2009, selling a wide variety of womenswear, menswear, shoes and clothing for teens.

It once had stores in 313 @ somerset, CityLink Mall and Westgate.

Its Singapore distributor, Jay Gee Melwani Group, announced plans for the brand to exit the Singapore market in 2016, citing high business costs.

RIVER ISLAND


PHOTO: ROBINSONS & CO

Closed: 2011

Yet another UK import, River Island bid a quiet adieu to Singapore when it closed its last store at Ion Orchard in 2011.

The high-street brand was known for its funky accessories and clothing. Some may recall an edgy fashion collaboration with pop singer Rihanna, which debuted to mixed reviews in 2013.

River Island returned to Singapore online in 2013, exclusively via Zalora – which still acts as a bridge between the brand and much of the South-east Asia market today.

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