Guest Post: 10 Reasons Why I Loved the Asia Fashion Summit 2014

[Grace: This is a guest post by Kirbie Koh, who blogs at She attended the AFS on my behalf when I was away]

Asia Fashion Summit 2014

I was lucky to be able to attend The Asia Fashion Summit (AFS) 2014 on 15-17 May 2014, thanks to Grace who gave me her 2 seats as she is not in Singapore. (The two seats cost almost $1,000! Thanks again, Grace!  🙂

What’s the AFS? It’s a conference that focuses on the business of fashion with top fashion names coming in to provide fresh perspectives and business insights.

The three days have been very fulfilling, and here are the 10 reasons why I loved the Asia Fashion Summit.   

1. Fashion Junkies

The first thing I noticed when I stepped into the room is the number of fashion junkies around. They look so cool!

2. Social Media Engagement Done Right

Unlike some events that try to get on every social media platform and confuse everyone, the call to action was clear-cut at AFS2014: #AFS2014

That’s all that was needed.

3. Knowledge

I have learnt things over the past 3 days that I would have no way of knowing in my daily life, such as:

  • Did you know Singapore jumped 7 spots to become the 8th fashion capital in the world in 2011? And that we are 2nd in Asia (after Hong Kong)? Who says we are not fashionable? 🙂
  • Bluetooth technology for retail shops. Consumers are able to find out everything about any product by pointing their phone near it. From pricing and consumer reviews, this is certainly useful for consumers to decide if it’s a worthy buy.
  • A local architect designed the majestic Robinsons Singapore at Heeren. Proud of him!

4. Local Efforts to Discover Fashion Talents

Found out about the Fashion Design competition that is held annually by the Textile and Fashion Federation Singapore and Audi Star Creation.

It is by no means an easy task. A big salute to these companies – they have been supporting Singaporeans by giving them an international platform to showcase their talents.

This could be why in recent years we have been hearing more and more local designers winning awards. Keep it up, my fellow Singaporeans! 🙂

5. Funny and Engaging Speakers

Content is what makes a conference successful. The speakers at the conference are industry experts that covered various topics and these are my favorite two:

  1.  Mr Rick Yoo (MD of Lotte Global Fashion Division)

He is the first speaker but there’s absolutely no sign of him being nervous.  He is from Korea and I am glad I can understand his English perfectly. (It also helped that he has a nice voice!)

He talked about Lotte and the Korean fashion wave. It’s very informative but what stayed in my head were the light-hearted jokes he made:

  • In Korea, it’s ok if men can’t find their wives, but it’s not ok if their phones are missing! (Hmm I am not surprised if Singaporean men are like that too)
  • The reason why Winter Sonata was so popular in 2002 in Japan – Most Japanese ladies marry through match making and are unable to choose the person they love. This drama gave them hope! (Is that why so many Singapore aunties love this show too, they want to find true love?)
  • Kim Soo-hyun, the actor from My Love from the Star, is literally everywhere in Lotte’s departmental stores. (Actually I wouldn’t mind visiting a store with Kim Soo-hyun everywhere)
  1.   Mr Kelvin Lee (Business Development Director, South East Asia of Taobao International Business).

He is the only Singaporean speaker and I was really happy I did not need to strain my ears to understand the speaker.

I was also very impressed with him – from his looks I think he is at tops 35 years old, but he is already driving the business of Taobao in South East Asia. Today, who hasn’t heard of Taobao?

6. Workshops

Day 2 and 3 were workshop days, and there were a list of programs to choose from.

The workshops are smaller in scale than Day 1’s conference, and it’s a more intimate session where it’s less embarrassing to ask questions and network around. I made quite a number of friends in these workshop sessions!

7. Blueprint Emporium

Just next door to the conference, the BLUEPRINT EMPORIUM was set up in the larger Expo hall. It showcases shops from emerging designer labels and up-and-coming fashion brands in Singapore.

My friend that designed and sells women shoe bags was here too! I feel proud again. 🙂

8. Live Fashion Show

Ok I admit I am a mountain tortoise. This is my first time watching a live fashion show!

9. Conducive Venue

The renovated Suntec Convention Centre is just so pretty! Huge screen and lights made me feel like a kid all over again. The comfortable convention rooms also made it easier to learn and absorb information.

Lunch was provided on Day 1, and I absolutely love the mushroom soup!

10. Networking

As mentioned before, I made a few friends at this event.

One of them was the Head, Singapore Marketplace of Zalora South East Asia Pte Ltd. He shared with me interesting visions about Zalora and how they will be pushing the new Zalora Marketplace in Singapore.

What surprised me is that Zalora actually made the effort to meet each and every designer/shop owner before they get to publish on the website! It makes me feel really safe to shop with Zalora as I can be assured of the quality of the shops.

In fact, the reason Zalora attended the AFS2014 was to gather feedback on how they can help local designers to open a shop on Zalora. In my opinion, they have got everything covered – from polymailers, delivery and secured payments, it’s really hassle free to sell at Zalora Marketplace.

If you have quality local designed products and would like to sell on Zalora too, let me know and I’ll hook you up with the top guy in charge. 🙂

[Grace: To contact Kirbie, leave her a message HERE]