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Speech By Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Minister In Prime Minister's Office And Second Minister For Finance And Transport, At The Official Opening Of The TaFf-Parco Fashion Design Incubator, Parco Next NEXT

31 Mar 2010

Mr Benny Pua,
President of the Textile and Fashion Federation

Mr Shuichi Hidaka,
Managing Director of Parco Singapore Pte Ltd

Your Excellency, Mr Makoto Yamanaka
Ambassador of Japan to Singapore

Ladies and Gentlemen


1. Good morning. I am pleased to be here to officiate the opening of Parco next NEXT Fashion Design Incubator. This is a noteworthy collaboration between TaFf and Parco Singapore, aimed at nurturing our country's next generation of fashion design entrepreneurs.

From Manufacturing to Fashion

2. The textile and apparel (or T&A) industry contributes significantly to Singapore's economy. There are about 5,000 establishments, comprising about 500 manufacturers and 4,500 wholesalers and retailers. In recent years, the industry has generated a significant amount in operating receipts and more than a billion dollars in value add.

3. Our textile and apparel manufacturers serve mainly the US and Europe markets. They are, in fact, one of the largest suppliers to renowned brands such as Nike, Gap and department stores such as Macy's in the US. These global brands require suppliers to meet high quality and compliance standards. Singapore's reputation for high quality makes us an attractive home base for such activities. We are the second largest textile and apparel business and sourcing hub in Asia-Pacific after Hong Kong. The total estimated sourcing volume through Singapore is about US$2.5 billion to US$3 billion. With our strong grounding in the textile and apparel manufacturing, we are well positioned to move towards becoming a global fashion city. Today's launch of the Fashion Design Incubator is an important step in this direction.

4. The pursuit for new creative ideas is what drives a successful fashion industry.  From the haute couture capital Paris, to the cutting edge street fashion of Tokyo, the success of fashion cities in the world depends much on the vibrancy and reputation of its local fashion industry. Likewise, for Singapore to move up the ranks of the top fashion cities of the world, we will have to build up a strong base of highly creative local designers and fashion brands that can achieve commercial success and international acclamation.

5. Indeed Singapore has already seen some notable success stories of fashion labels that have made a mark in the overseas markets. Established local fashion brands - alldressedup and Raoul - have shown how strong design capabilities and retailing concepts are crucial to differentiating themselves and competing successfully in the international arena. Singapore needs more of such successful companies to propel the growth of our fashion industry globally.

Parco next NEXT

6. Today's launch of Parco next NEXT is both timely and significant; timely because exactly four weeks later, Singapore will be launching the Asia Fashion Exchange (AFX), which is a strategic platform to develop all aspects of the local fashion industry and position Singapore as the fashion centre of Asia. It is significant because it demonstrates the joint commitment from the industry associations, private sector and the Government to invest in the development of Singapore's fashion talents.

7. Centered on grooming home-grown designers, this fashion design incubator addresses the needs of budding designers by providing critical infrastructural and business support. These include retail space, one-on-one business and fashion design mentoring, training in critical skills such as retail merchandising, as well as exposure to overseas best practices.

8. Over the next three years, the fashion design incubator targets to nurture 50 selected designers. 25 fashion designers have already been identified for focused grooming through a rigorous selection process. From winners and finalists of previous fashion design competitions, to those who did a mid-career transit, as well as talented graduates from design schools, these designers come from varied background but they all share a common passion for the fashion business.

9. I would like to congratulate these specially selected designers, or "incubatees" as they are known as. I would like to urge all of you to make full use of this golden opportunity to sharpen your business acumen. In doing so, you will be able to effectively translate your design talent into successful fashion businesses.

10. I would also like to urge the Singapore textile and apparel manufacturers to tap on this ready pool of talented young designers. With their contemporary design solutions and understanding of consumer needs, you can further enhance the value proposition of your positioning. For Singapore to become a vibrant fashion city, we need both the industry and creative talents to come together and collaborate. I believe together, we can translate our Singapore-based creative design aspirations into internationally acclaimed fashion.


11. On this note, let me extend my heartiest congratulations to TaFf and Parco Singapore on the successful launch of Parco next NEXT. I would also like to take this opportunity to commend the mentors who have spared no effort in guiding the first batch of incubator designers.  To all budding fashion design entrepreneurs out there, I urge you to contact TaFf and take up the challenge of joining Parco next NEXT.

12. Thank you.