Here’s a stylish series of totes and pouches stamped with local landmarks and heritage icons

Benita Lee

This weekend, a one-of-a-kind collaboration launches exclusively at socially conscious multi-concept shop The Social Space, and it’s a uniquely Singapore collection of bags and fabrics proudly repping the Little Red Dot. But before you brush it off as yet another lame, locally-inspired marketing gimmick, hear us out.

A joint effort between social enterprise Sowing Room and homegrown label Onlewo, the series highlights local landmarks and cultural icons in a chic way. So no, you won’t find any kind of “I Heart SG” kitsch here.

For the uninitiated, Sowing Room aids at-risk foreign women who have experienced abuse or exploitation while working in Singapore by equipping them with training and employment. It also strives to be eco-friendly in using upcycled fabric and textile scraps donated by fashion houses in its creations. As for Onlewo, the home decor brand is known for its elegant way of interpreting local heritage in designs to tell a story.

Together, the pair have crafted a range of totes, hobo bags, evening clutches, table napkins, and straw sleeves featuring prints that most people in Singapore can identify with. But since it’s a limited edition work, some items are only available in one or two pieces.

Tiong Bahru and Botanic Gardens designs. Photos: The Social Space

There’s the blue-hued Botanic Gardens motif stamped on lingerie bags ($24) and pom pom clutches ($59-$69); illustrations inspired by the sights of Little India on table napkins ($45/four); recognizable Tiong Bahru structures on tote bags ($59-$72) and clutches ($42-$59); and memories of Chinatown translated into patterns on tote bags ($72).

Chinatown and kueh designs. Photos: The Social Space

As for the Peranakania set, it plays with peonies and phoenixes on clutches ($45) and straw sleeves ($13.50). Traditional kuehs like ondeh ondeh, kueh tutu, and peng kueh also make an appearance on the kueh tile motif, which features on the set of four coasters ($24).

Phoenix and HDB designs. Photo: The Social Space

If you prefer geometric shapes that remind you of HDB blocks, check out the toiletries bag ($19) that mirrors the clean lines of public housing buildings. Or perhaps go retro with vintage tile patterns on hobo bags ($69) and old school window grills (like those in Tiong Bahru and Joo Chiat) on straw sleeves ($13.50).


The Social Space is at #01-14, 333 Kreta Ayer Rd.
Mon-Sat 9am-7pm, Sun 9am-6pm.
MRT: Chinatown

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