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  1. Ong Shunmugam: A Little Big Dream

    Posted by Jia-Wei Loo on March 13, 2012

    Our friends at Poskod.SG tipped us off to Singapore-based Malaysian designer Priscilla Ong Shunmugam, whose beautifully designed and crafted clothes has been quietly collecting fans, and press inches, in Singapore. Thanks to the cancellation of the Foo Fighters concert, I found myself heading instead to her namesake atelier, located in the basement of the Hong Leong Building at 16 Raffles Quay.

    Ong Shunmugam’s signature cheongsam is displayed in her shop window.

    Atelier Ong Shunmugam is hard to miss because of the beautiful ivory lace and turquoise lined cheongsam in the window. Chatting to her about clothes make it crystal clear that she is one of the rare designers that puts her clothes first, and the customer, second. She has put so much thought and design into making something beautiful that it wasn’t long before people came looking for her, forcing her out of her home and into her new atelier last year. A great leap forward for a girl who went to school to study law.

    “Having completed my law degree, and in the process, making my parents happy, I really wanted to do something that I had a true passion for. So I used my own money and enrolled myself into fashion school and learned all the basics from scratch.”

    Priscilla handpicks all the textiles and designs all the clothes herself with the help of two assistants. “Thats it! That’s our team!” she says with a big smile.

    A collection of ready to wear cheongsams – all in her signature colour combinations. 

    Priscilla handpicks all the lace herself.

    Non-lace cheongsams in elegant vintage colours.

    One of Priscilla’s signatures is her use of print and colour. Her cheongsams are designed within a wonderfully vintage palette. I notice some Batik in the studio and ask her about it. “Oh, THIS!” she exclaims and pulls out a batik skirt with a modernist high-paper bag waist and proceeds to pull it over her jumpsuit. “This was from one of my earliest collections, we did a series of batik skirts that can be worn as a high-waisted option or you can fold it down for a double panelled look. I made one for myself and it got so much attention that I decided to make it for the label.” (p/s her enthusiasm is highly infectious. I found myself really wanting one of those skirts.)

    A flurry of batik prints from Bali.

    Lace and fabric swatches for her customized projects.

    Family pictures from her Chinese – Indian parentage feature prominently in her studio, as well as her collection of threadspools.

    Priscilla welcomes walk-ins to her studio, although most of her customers come to her to have something special made. Prices start at around SGD 580 for a custom lace cheongsam, while her batik skirts retail for SGD 300. For more information and for updates, please visit her facebook page.

    ATELIER ONG SHUNMUGAM
    16 Raffles Quay B1-36 Hong Leong Building
    Singapore 048581
    +65 6223 4804
    info@ongshunmugam.com

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