Is Singapore fashion really that bad?

Melissa Aw
Singapore Showbiz

Do Singaporeans really have bad fashion sense?

World-renowned fashion designer Roland Mouret himself had been caught off guard by it.

"It shocked me a bit… " the 50-year-old London-based designer who was in town recently to present his A/W 2012 collection at the Audi Fashion Festival told Yahoo! Singapore. "I see quite a lot of fashion disasters in this hotel, especially on men -- the wrong shorts with the flip-flops."

He added that the local dress sense should be "a bit more controlled" and even suggested that the government should put up a new law whereby hotels are required to impose compulsary dress-codes for guests, and if you break the rule -- in Mouret's own words -- "you would be fined".

Hot weather to blame?

But will Singaporeans be receptive to a rule dictating our fashion choices -- especially in such unforgiving weather?

The reactions Yahoo! Singapore gathered were mixed.

"The weather and humidity in particular has put major constraints on how the average Singaporean will choose to piece together their outfit," explained 23-year-old student Adriel Tay.

However, Stanley Lui, contributor to local fashion blog "The Fashionide" disagreed with Tay as he said, "It's not about the weather, neither is it about having the budget for designer fashion.  It's about our attitudes, our habits and a change of perception."

"There is a difference between stylishly casual and just plain lazy. We need to recognise that and put a little effort and thought in the way we dress. After all, fashion is a celebration of life and an expression of love for our bodies," the 24-year-old added.

Meanwhile, others such as Sarah Chan, writer of fashion-photography blog "Pixiekrane", questioned the viability of hotels imposing a compulsory dress-code for all guests.

"People go on holidays to relax, so I don't think it's necessary to introduce a dress-code for hotel guests in general," she said.

The 22-year-old added that young Singaporeans do make an effort to dress well but "the weather just gets a little ridiculous sometimes, and I don't think you can expect four million people, with varying incomes and responsibilities, to spend the time and effort on picking out weather-friendly yet fashionable outfits all the time".

But despite all the reasoning, the bottom line remains -- are Singaporeans kicking up a fuss over nothing?

22-year-old Natalie Erika noted that Mouret should not single out Singaporeans as every country has its fair share of fashion disasters.

"At least we're comfortable in what we wear and [besides] everybody is entitled to their own fashion sense," she said.

Marketing executive Christopher Low echoed Erika as he explained, "Singaporeans derive their fashion inspirations from a number of countries and cultures. A mix of these could give excellent and unique taste like the Japanese or result in an utter mess."

"However, Singaporeans tend to get very defensive about issues pertaining to their self-esteem and confidence, including fashion sense," he added.

But perhaps Dinie Rahman, founder of local style journal "ONESIXTYNOTEPAD", best summed it up when he said that it's best to take Mouret's words with a pinch of salt.

"We should take [what Mouret said] as advice from a guy who have been dressing women impeccably for years and not get offended by a comment based on an observation," he said.