Manifesto is Singapore’s newest (and quite possibly, most anticipated) concept fashion and lifestyle store at the brand new Capitol Piazza. Stocking well over 60 brands across the board, many of these brands have not been available in Singapore or even regionally until now.
Founder Walid Zaazaa who hails from France and has worked as a fashion designer in cities as diverse as New York, Amsterdam and Paris before making Singapore his home, speaks exclusive about his plans, the concept of his store and why he started Manifesto in such a competitive and risky fashion retail market like Singapore.
LifestyleAsia (LSA): Why the move from fashion design to fashion retail?
Walid Zaazaa (WA): Well I couldn’t find a store that I liked for the four years I’ve lived here. Yes there are big fashion retailers here but everything they stock is too expensive and the selection a bit too mainstream for me. I found it very frustrating with the limited range. I felt that places like Japan Hong Kong and Paris, had so much more to offer fashion-wise.
LSA: So why set up shop in Singapore? The retail scene is tough here.
WA: I like to take risks. I had a comfortable life working for all these big names in fashion but I really wanted to challenge myself. I feel that the Singapore market is ready for a shop like Manifesto and to me, Asia is the future. I think Singapore is where things will be moving forward and where I can evolve.
LSA: What is the difference between Manifesto and other multi-brand retailers here?
WA: How often will you be able to find smaller cult labels like U-NI-TY and Japanese label Gillet? We also have bigger names like Costume National and Lemaire, which is exclusive to Manifesto. Apart from fashion, we also have fragrances and homeware and a great range of accessories like Inari sunglasses, Walart paper wallets, Vital Material fragrances, and these Japanese glasses by Sunfly which are coated in titanium, that changes colour.
LSA: So are these the qualities you look for when purchasing for Manifesto?
WA: Yes. Brands with an interesting back story and also products with a great philosophy and of course, great quality.
For example Novesta sneakers – these shoes were originally made in the sixties for the Slovakian communist army. Their design remains unchanged and they are still produced in their original factory. Today, they are doing collaborations with Comme Des Garçons.
LSA: So how has the response been since the opening last week?
WA: Fashion fans have already caught wind of the labels we carry and we haven’t even started our marketing or social media plan, so that’s been a bit of a relief.
Customers are clever now and small retailers like us are more flexible than bigger retailers as we are able to quickly adapt our prices and stay competitive. Our competitors are not other multi-label shops but the internet e-tail websites. I saw a customer go thru the racks while checking the prices online with his smartphone. He bought two pieces from the Lemaire collection from us. So that’s good sign right?
Manifesto, Capitol Piazza Mall, 13 Stamford Road #02-19, Singapore www.manifestoshop.com