Your Favourite Local Fast Fashion Brands in One List: What’s Happening to Them Now?

About a decade ago, I remem­ber being dragged into a Hang Ten shop by my Mum, lured by a poster announc­ing a plain Tee pro­mo­tion at five dol­lars per piece. I already had a few Hang Ten shirts at that point, so I protest­ed. But my moth­er insist­ed that I (along with every­one else in the fam­i­ly) need­ed more home clothes. In the end, we left with a bag full of Hang Ten Tees.

On hind­sight, it was not a bad invest­ment — I still have two Hang Ten shirts and they don’t have the pilling that comes with age for many cot­ton shirts, while the oth­ers were trans­formed into dis­pos­able rags after years of wear.

With a pair of tiny foot­prints sewn above our hearts, Hang Ten shirts remain one of the most eas­i­ly recog­nis­able brands today, even years after slip­ping out of our wardrobes. The sto­ry seems to go the same way for brands like Gior­dano and Bossi­ni — the former’s lion and the latter’s golfer remain­ing etched in our minds even if they have long made way for trendy fast fash­ion imports and acces­si­ble streetwear play­ers. Sim­i­lar­ly, for Bata, we still asso­ciate the brand with our school days, when every­one had the same pair of white vel­cro shoes.

These shops used to be found every­where. But recent­ly, Hang Ten closed more than a third of their stores and it seems that many of our old, favourite brands aren’t as pop­u­lar as they used to be. Polo shirts no longer hold the appeal they once had, the logos plas­tered on the tops are per­ceived tacky, and vel­cro shoes still seem to belong sole­ly — pun intend­ed — on young stu­dents.

Some­times, the old guards can come back to sur­prise you. Today, many of these brands are diver­si­fy­ing, break­ing out of stereo­types we’ve placed them in. While some con­tin­ue to retain many of our old favourites, oth­ers have man­aged to revamp them­selves in the chase to keep up with the times.

Gior­dano

While polo shirts still grace Gior­dano store­fronts and adver­tise­ments, they have a much greater vari­ety of appar­el cater­ing to dif­fer­ent needs and audi­ences. Their G-Motion sports range is sim­ple and ver­sa­tile, and they recent­ly spon­sored a pageant in NTU in a bid to tar­get the younger demo­graph­ic.


Polo shirts are more ‘smart casu­al’ and it would be stretch to incor­po­rate it into dai­ly work­wear. Gior­dano Ladies’ caters specif­i­cal­ly for women who want a more sophis­ti­cat­ed, min­i­mal­ist wardrobe — it hard­ly even feels like a Gior­dano shop with the clean dis­plays and mut­ed colours.

Bossi­ni

Bossi­ni was also anoth­er big play­er when it came to polo shirts, but the focus is now chan­nelled to their adorable graph­ic tees and com­fort­able casu­al wear. They have had many col­lab­o­ra­tions as well, involv­ing the likes of Tsum Tsum, LINE Friends and the Min­ions, includ­ing posts by pop­u­lar influ­encers.


Their clothes are adorable and the char­ac­ters have wide­spread appeal, reflect­ed by the bold­ness and vibran­cy of Bossi­ni shops that we are still see­ing now.

Hang Ten

Yes, my mother’s old favourite. Hang Ten is known for both their polo and plain tee shirts and their shop fronts are often colour­ful, with stacks of bright Tees greet­ing cus­tomers. While Hang Ten has had some recent col­lab­o­ra­tions with oth­er brands, the over­all style of their appar­els remains large­ly unchanged.

Iron­i­cal­ly, despite their icon­ic emblem, Hang Ten has left lit­tle to no dig­i­tal foot­print. Or at least on the social media front, with­in Sin­ga­pore. It seems they may have to play catch up!
(Fun fact: Did you know that Hang Ten orig­i­nat­ed in Cal­i­for­nia? And ‘Hang Ten’ is a high lev­el surf­ing stunt that involves the hang­ing of your toes over the surf­board.)

Bata

For many of us, our trusty Bata shoes were a con­stant com­pan­ion through­out our pri­ma­ry school days, accom­pa­ny­ing us as we played catch­ing or hung from mon­key bars. They are known for being the go-to shop for afford­able school shoes — specif­i­cal­ly, for those white vel­cro shoes that were a cinch for our sev­en year old selves to slip on.

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But they have gone way beyond that now. A lot of the Bata relat­ed posts we spied on social media fea­ture very mod­ern takes on what we used to wear, and they cater to just about any­one with a pair of feet. How­ev­er, they’re still a very much inte­gral part of the Sin­ga­pore­an child­hood expe­ri­ence, so white school shoes will still have their place in Bata out­lets for a long time to come.


(Anoth­er fun fact: Bata was actu­al­ly found­ed in Czecho­slo­va­kia!)

The thing about fash­ion is that it changes all the time. Many of these brands have an estab­lished foothold and image in Sin­ga­pore, but may still find it dif­fi­cult to stay rel­e­vant in the face of e-com­merce rev­o­lu­tion.

Despite that, it is unde­ni­able that Gior­dano, Bossi­ni, Hang Ten and Bata have all had their parts to play in our child­hood and ado­les­cence, whether it is embar­rass­ing out­fits we’d cringe at now, or the unique expe­ri­ences among Sin­ga­pore­ans that we can all relate to (walk­ing around Bata’s shop to test if our new vel­cro kicks can han­dle the school stress, any­one?). While some of us are all grown up, with greater auton­o­my over our sar­to­r­i­al choic­es, it cer­tain­ly gives a new-yet-not-so-new per­spec­tive as nos­tal­gia reminds us of a time unbound­ed by the mate­r­i­al chase, as well as what­ev­er that it is trend­ing on Insta­gram.


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