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Inside Singapore’s newest fashion incubator, the Cocoon Space

The newly opened Design Orchard is exactly what we need in our developing design scene. Its retail floor houses 60 homegrown fashion and design brands such as Re:erth, The Paper Bunny, Matter, Ginlee Studio and Gnome & Bow. The space exudes a classy modern vibe and is equipped with high-tech browsing screens. Additionally, housed above Design Orchard on the second floor is the Cocoon Space, Singapore’s newest fashion incubator.

The Cocoon Space reception
The Cocoon Space reception area (Photo credit: The Cocoon Space)

While Textile and Fashion Federation (TaFF) oversees its operations, the Cocoon Space is supported by Enterprise Singapore which offers resources for the fashion community to share ideas, interact and potentially form partnerships.

The main initiative of the incubator space would be the launch of The Bridge Fashion Incubator (TBFI). It’s a 30-week long programme that aims to support emerging fashion talents with their dreams in pursuing a design career in Singapore. Its main aim is to nurture aspiring designers and equip participants of this programme with invaluable skills to grow in their respective ventures.

 

Exhibition of designer, Thomas Wee's designs
Exhibition of works by designer, Thomas Wee (Photo credit: The Cocoon Space)

These participants will be guided by a group of experienced industry mentors consisting of designers, technology specialists as well as potential investors to help achieve their business goals. The panel of mentors include veteran fashion designer, Thomas Wee, Mark Wee (Design Singapore Council), Dennis Tay (Naiise) and Reina Nakamura (Start Today Ventures). These mentors could also open doors abroad particularly in Southeast Asia for participants that are looking at expanding their business.

Fashion showcase at the Tencel Studio
Fashion showcase at the Tencel Studio (Photo credit: The Cocoon Space)

The Bridge Fashion Incubator is the first of its kind by fusing tech with fashion communities to address issues such as sustainability and re-inventing the fashion chain.

In positioning itself as an innovative fashion hub, Mark Lee, President of TaFF says, “International fashion trends reflect the growing interest in sustainability and disruptive technologies that address the different ways consumers experience and shop for fashion today.” With that he strongly believes that The Bridge Fashion Incubator will equip its participants with the tools to supply the needs of current consumers more effectively.

 

The Makers Studio

The Makers studio is well equipped with professional sewing machines, including a jersey stitching machine, industrial overlockers along with other supporting fashion tools. The space is created to support independent designers in their production process while acting as a training space for sewing workshops.

The Makers Studio, equipped with industrial sewing machines
The Makers Studio, equipped with professional industrial sewing machines (Photo credit: cocoon space)
The Tencel Studio

This space is not limited to the use for events and installations, the Tencel studio could also serve itself as a fashion collection showcase venue or to organise design seminars. That said, there is no limitations as to what the space could be and participants are free to send in proposals of how the space could be better utilised.

The Tencel Studio, showcasing an exhibition by Lenzing
The Tencel Studio, showcasing an exhibition by Lenzing (Photo credit: cocoon space)
The Cave

When the lights are turned off, the cozy space with grey concrete walls resembles a cave. Due to its feature of being a darkroom, the discussion space can also transform into a mini theatre. Fully equipped with a projector and sound system, the Cave is the prefect spot for visual presentations. Additionally, the usage of light projection allows designers to project their clothing designs onto mannequins as a visualisation of how their creations could look like on the human body.

The Cave, featuring a visual projection
The Cave, featuring a visual projection (Photo credit: cocoon space)
How to sign up for The Bridge Fashion Incubator Programme

Interested individuals can sign up directly for the TBFI programme at the Cocoon Space site. The programme fees for Singaporeans and PR is priced at SGD$300 per month for 7 and a half months of course duration. For other nationalities, the fees are SGD$500 per month for the same course duration.

Lenzing exhibition on sustainability in the Tencel Studio
Lenzing exhibition on sustainability in the Tencel Studio (Photo credit: The Cocoon Space)

The programme includes weekly customised consultations with mentors, opportunities to collaborate with external partners, media and a permanent desk space at The Cocoon Space. The studio’s location in Orchard overlooking the bustling shopping streets make it the perfect spot for designers to set up base.

Fabric resource wall, filled with fabric swatches for designers to select from
Fabric resource wall, filled with fabric swatches for designers to select from (Photo credit: The Cocoon Space)

Participating individuals will gain full access to their fabric resource wall, the makers room, partnering technologists, software developers and prototyping services. While the Cocoon Space creates an ideal independent working environment, the founding members and mentors of the programme is working towards creating a cross-disciplinary environment that could lead to building a holistic design ecosystem.

 

The Cocoon Space is located above Design Orchard,

Level 2 + Rooftop, 250 Orchard Road, Singapore 238905.

For enquiries on The Cocoon Space, email to thecocoonspace@taff.org.sg

Josiah Chua
Fashion Director
Josiah is the Fashion Director in charge of styling shoots and writing the fashion pages. On his days off, he locks himself at home designing and sewing up a collection in preparation for his label's runway debut.
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