Singapore Fashion Week Spotlight: Zardoze's Global Outlook

There are plenty of emerging Singapore-based fashion labels, but maybe not one so well-supported as the less-than-a-year-old Zardoze, which showed its second ready-to-wear collection Friday at Audi’s Fashion Festival Singapore.
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There are plenty of emerging Singapore-based fashion labels, but maybe not one so well-supported as the less-than-a-year-old Zardoze, which showed its second ready-to-wear collection Friday at Audi’s Fashion Festival Singapore.
The final Panthea look worn by Nethra Raghuraman, an Indian actress and model, at Audi Fashion Festival Singapore.

The final Panthea look worn by Nethra Raghuraman, an Indian actress and model, at Audi Fashion Festival Singapore.

SINGAPORE--There are plenty of emerging Singapore-based fashion labels, but maybe not one so well-supported as the less-than-a-year-old Zardoze, which showed its second ready-to-wear collection Friday at Audi's Fashion Festival Singapore. (As well as its formal gown collection, Panthea.) Singaporean Raveena Lal K, who previously worked at L Capital Asia—a private equity firm funded by LVMH—launched Zardoze last September with the backing of local holding company Grayden Capital.

With financial footing and a business-savvy CEO, all Zardoze was in need of was talent, which it found in Filipino creative director John Paul Rangel, a designer who spent more than half a decade in New York working with brands as diverse as Narciso Rodriguez and Talbots. (He also did a stint in Italy at Max Mara.) "I lived a long time in the States, lived in Canada, lived in Europe, but I didn't have any work experience in Asia, so I thought I'd give it a try," Rangel told us of his decision to join the brand.

Lal K also hired Chinese designer Chen Zhi Gang to lead Panthea. Zhi Gang was working at Raoul when Lal K saw his namesake capsule collection at Blueprint, Singapore's fashion trade show. "I did quite commercial design at Raoul—working on Panthea allows me to do something couture-like and learn even more," Zhi Gang said.

Zhi Gang and Rangel lead a team of designers purposefully plucked from around the world. "Because Singapore is a multicultural society, we wanted a team of multicultural designers," Lal K said. "They come from so many different backgrounds with so many different experiences, so with each collection we tell a different story."

While the design still has a long way to go—Friday's collections were heavy on vision, light on execution—Zardoze's approach to the business is unique in that there's a longterm goal: to build not just a brand, but a money-making one at that. Give them a few years. If success is in the cards, it will indeed be smashing.