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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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.