Overseas travel plans may be shelved for the moment but hey, you can still explore the world from the comforts of your home! Discover the best kept secrets from all around the world as our Sift & Pick curators unearth indie brands, independent labels and exclusive products to quell your #StayHome wanderlust!
Be an explorer and remind yourself of the big, big world out there, while you get inspired to kickstart your travel plannings again with this under-the-radar global gift guide.
#SupportLocal this season and discover what unique items our homegrown brands have to offer while you stay home! When visiting friends overseas in time to come or simply wanting to send a gift to remind someone of Singapore, look no further than GIFT by Changi Airport and their Changi Scent series.
Of departures and reunions, the globally famous Changi Airport has been crowned the world’s best airport for the seventh year running. The unique scent throughout the airport is inspired by our garden city – comprising notes of Orchid, Asian spices and a variety of plants. Its distinct fragrance is sure to remind anyone of their travelling moments at Changi Airport, evoking feelings of sweet nostalgia and anticipation. Available in candle, perfume oil or reed diffuser form for your preference too!
GIFT by Changi Airport also offers a few unique gifts embellished with geometric tiles inspired by Peranakan culture. Have a little reminder of the charming corner of Eastern Singapore, Joo Chiat by your side with a Ceramic Mug, Coasters or Washi Tape – a nod to Singapore’s colourful heritage shophouses and quaint stores!
Fly our flag high with your inner fashionista with a Lee&Tee Singapore’s Mino Heart-shaped Mini Backpack! This solid heart-shaped, leather backpack is just the right size to tote your urban essentials while making you effusing effortless chic.
Looking for an edgier alternative? How about ANASTASIABYRAINE with their handmade microfiber leather accessories such as the Casandra Phone Pls Crossbody or the Madden That Lockdown Crossbody Midi. All ANASTAIABYRAINE products also allow customisation – from the leather used, to the studs and monograms. Talk about adding that personalised touch!
Want to send a gift that keeps on giving? Check out local social enterprise moriofficial which brings purpose and joy to the makers – the company employs financially restrained mothers in the Philippines,in order to help them gain a sustainable livelihood. The brand lovingly handmakes organisers and the world’s 1st pursebook – a delightful blend of a purse, refillable notebook and organisers.
#StayHome and stay sane this season with this useful item to pen down all your heartfelt thoughts, little moments that you’re grateful for during this period and future plans to keep you looking ahead. Take your pick from an array of colours they’ve made, such as the Chevron Gold Organiser, the Lilac Pink Organiser or the Lace Pursebook.
From 27th April to 7th June 2020, moriofficial is offering free shipping for both Singapore and Malaysia only. Don’t miss out and kickstart your #StayHome journaling and plan-making!
With your work-from-home set up and productivity levels on fleek, it’s time to unwind and relax with The Verdant Lab – an artisanal lifestyle brand that focuses on creating distinct products such as Cold Process Soaps! Get a deep cleanse with a calming Geranium scent with their Clay Cleanse Soap bar! The Verdant Lab also produces hand sanitisers made of 100% pure essential oils with 75% alcohol content. For a midday fragrant pick-me-up within reach try their Peppermint Hand Sanitiser!
Once you’re all squeaky clean, be sure to moisturise with local brand Soul Good Project’s Virgin Marula Oil for soft, smooth skin; the light-weight antioxidant-rich plant oil that’s chock-full of essential fatty acids, Vitamins C and E, has been making waves in the beauty industry with its natural healing and emollient abilities.
View this post on Instagram
Besides the tangy taste of Tom Yum Soup from the land of smiles, whet your sartorial appetite with the recent trend of colourful accessories from Thailand brands! Turn your attention to bubuBee, a brand which believes that colour is a powerful communication tool as well as a mood booster.
The Thai brand wishes all their customers to always carry their on-trend items with cheery vibes, hence their colourful array in vibrant, warm hues – take a look at their Good Mood Crossbody bag and Good Vibes Flap bag Series!
LUNNE OFFICIAL is also echoing the trend on colourful statement bags with their structured, leather bags – all of which feature minimalistic designs of vivid colours. From slightly muted tones such as the brand’s Majour 7.0 in Olive, to brighter showstoppers like Evelyn in Brick, you’ll be spoilt for choice in picking out that perfect shade for your daily look.
Besides fashion picks, here’s a Thai candle brand with a delectable collection of delicious scents guaranteed to satisfy that hankering you may not even know of yet! Reach for Wax Valley Candle Co., an independent brand inspired by the Danish word – HYGGE (hoo-gah), meaning “to comfort” and feelings of contentment or well-being.
All their soy candles are handcrafted to “make the atmosphere yours”, and immerse you into a state of cosy warmth! Titillate your senses with Chocolate & Peppermint for comfort in our humble abodes, or remind yourself of the great outdoors by lighting up an Eucalyptus & Sandalwood Woodland Blend Travel Tin. Want to transport yourself to somewhere even more exotic? Try their Pattaya Blend Portable Tin – it has notes of coconut and lime; reminiscent of times spent lazing at the beaches.
🇰🇷 South Korea
Something’s sizzling in Korea, and it’s not just the Korean BBQ! SEMICODE is raising the heat in Korean fashion and gaining fashionistas’ attention with its classic bags and their modern twist in their details.
The brand’s Tiam Bag in Camel features a classic sturdy shape but with an addition of a drawstring closure to keep your essentials safe. If you’d prefer a more classic option, their Lode Bag in White Croc gives you the versatility of it being a handbag, crossbody or shoulder bag, while keeping your items neatly tucked away with a magnetic button.
View this post on Instagram
Feeling wistful after spotting images of the pink Sakura waves in Japan online? Seek the next best thing and inject elements of artisanal craftsmanship and quirky, quality designs into your daily routine with brands from the land of the rising sun!
Start fresh in the morning as you dress up to face the new day with intricate Japanese jewellery. Work from home but feel the pep in your mood whenever you get a little reminder of Japan with every glimpse of your bauble – be it in your Zoom meetings or when your fingers are whipping back and forth on the keyboard.
If resin is not your favourite go-to material, how about knitted earrings with a fine finish from Cotoyo Matsue? The designer handknits parts of her earrings from various thread materials such as cotton, silk and more, into delicate flower, plant or seed motifs. Have a constant reminder of the great outdoors by your side, with her Anemone Clip-on Earrings – Lavender and Forest Seeds Earrings in Gold Beige, an intricate pair that was inspired by small seeds falling in the forests.
For a more discreet pair of earrings, try AMOR’s porcelain trinkets – each lovingly detailed by hand and made from natural stone. The Fujisan Pebbly Earrings is also a great reminder to yourself to work hard so that once travel restrictions are eased, a trip to Mount Fuji is definitely on your travel bucket list.
Ever wanted a more subtle piece over big bling? HIRAGANA pieces would hit the spot – all their designs are created by using Japanese ideograms called ‘Hiragana’.
Each piece uses sterling silver or 10K gold so as to allow the beautiful calligraphy styles to be in the limelight. How about giving yourself a reward with their Kokoro “Heart” Necklace, or an Arigato “Thank You” Single Earring, to up your style factor and be a constant reminder to yourself of your achievements?
All ready to start your day once you’re looking like a million yen? Grab yourself a morning drink in a ceramic cup, made by award-winning brand, Asemi Co. The brand prides itself on its contemporary designs, combined with the usage of traditional Japanese ceramic crafting.
Their collection of cups is definitely a must-have for the appreciator of artisanally crafted goods and will blend well into our modern interior settings – such as the Matsushiroyaki Cup – Drip Glaze or Igayaki Cup – Unglazed for the industrialist look, or a Hasamiyaki Cup in Bronze for the minimalist household?
With drinks in hand, you’re also going to want some bites, and what better way to have it than on functional yet Instagram-worthy tableware? Be bowled over by SHIRASAGI -handmade from Japanese natural woods and crafted with traditional methods. Both Sibo Cup in Natural & Green and Iroha Colorful Bowl in Red feature the natural grain of the wood in its designs and are coated with an authentic Japanese lacquer to ensure their longevity.
For more Japanese tableware, we need only look at CRAFT STORE which curates Japanese products aimed to provide you a better lifestyle. Have your favourite snack ever-ready by your side on the eni Plate 230 – a lightweight, durable pair of dishes that is also usable in a microwave; no more cold pastries ever again!
Want bigger mugs for your favourite warm drinks? Here’s the eni Mug in Black, featuring an octagon design in its interior – a sign of good luck in Japan. Sip to closing that next big deal of yours!
Game for a hands-on project to take your mind off things AND come away with your very own gorgeous bag? Let us introduce to you Studio Smoll, ironically making it big recently with numerous design awards.
Hailing from Taiwan, the environmentally friendly brand uses vegetable-tanned leather only. Add in the extra element of literal personalisation as they’re delivered unassembled! You’ve got to DIY and put all the pieces together for your very own Studio Smoll bag. Take their Nerdy Mini DIY Leather Backpack or Twins Mini DIY Leather Small Tote Bag – Beige for example – you’ll receive the package as 3 separate parts and instructions on how to put together the entire item!
Have you heard that Mother Nature is slowly healing itself with the recent decline in pollution? Let’s keep the momentum going by supporting sustainable practices and goods – something which Filipino brand INNÉ Studios also advocates for. While providing livelihood opportunities to small families and communities, INNÉ Studios also makes a conscious effort to minimise plastic use, and commits to being an ethical fashion brand.
Made in small batches by local artisans using sustainably sourced raw, natural materials and traditional techniques – such as their Natalia Macrame Bag in Natural: a lightweight, handwoven net bag using thin abaca fiber ropes that can be easily rolled up and carried along anywhere for impromptu essentials run. Their Sia Two-way Tote in Avocado is sure to make anyone go green in envy with its unique Solihiya pattern (six-way weave) using rattan, framed in genuine leather.
Rising up from down under would be Australian brand Ayana Jewellery – handcrafted jewellery pieces from raw silver for the young at heart. Combining everyday staples alongside more detailed pieces, to present the perfect collection for your daily outfit needs to that special occasion. The Rose Gold Medium Drop Stalk Earrings is testament to their ethos – simple, unique and stylish. Or adopt a simpler piece from their collection with the Silver Half Moon Studs!
Complete your outfit with a bag from Belle & Bloom – genuine leather handbags that embody femininity and creativity. Featuring classic shapes and quality finishings, Belle & Bloom bags are the essential, go-to bags for every busy woman who would still like that bit of glam in their lives. Consider a Love Bloom Leather Cross-body Bag in Dusty rose for a feminine pink sturdy handbag, or the Your Girl CrossBody Bag in Grey as a roomier alternative!
Let’s explore another continent, Europe, for other indie brands, starting with Sweden!
Sandqvist is a Nordic brand which has stayed true to its Scandinavian roots – sustainability, high-quality design and uncompromising functionality. The brand has been growing organically ever since 2004 due to the lack of well-crafted, design-led, functional bags.
Refresh your old-set of thoughts on backpacks and experience the Scandinavian designs of Sandqvist with the Roald Beige Backpack with Natural Leather – a 17L stylish backpack with a laptop pocket and several other compartments for all your storage needs. If you still need convincing of the functionality and design, try the Siv Maroon with Navy Leather Backpack that features a rolltop that can be expanded to fit more items into the bag.
Another Nordic counterpart recently popped up on our fashion radar – Denmark’s new startup of leading Nordic designers: PROJECTKIN. Focused on creating sustainable bags, each piece is designed to be a timeless classic that transcends time. Well, except for its materials of course, as they’re meant to be natural and biodegradable!
Designed by award-winning Thomas Bentzen, PROJECTKIN bags are made from high-quality, sustainable materials such as hemp, flax and vegetable-tanned leather. To take the stress out of selecting a weekender bag you’ll want to keep forever, we’ve done some vetting and found the best – Kin Weekend – Beige.
The Kin Tote Luxe in Dusty Olive features a luggage sleeve, enabling it to be placed comfortably on your hand-held luggage while on the move, and also used on its own. Made with sustainable materials, this tote is great for sustainability and zipping around town on short trips.
Carry a piece of the UK with you always with a Shrieking Violet Jewellery piece! Each piece is handcrafted with sterling silver and tiny little flowers which are carefully picked from UK fields, and then encapsulated in resin.
Instead of yearning for French pastries at a café, why not stay home and relax with a self-pampering treat from French beauty apothecary – Huygens? Made of 100% organic, cruelty-free ingredients, make your next bath a soothing recharge session! Get your hands on their popular bath sets, like the Le Corps Gift Set that has a natural sea sponge with bath essentials or the self-care wellness Le Spa Gift Set that features the crowd pleasing Lavender scented items!
Besides traipsing around the world with us in this gift guide, here’s a gentle reminder that Mother’s Day is around the corner too! We hope this list of fashion picks and self-love treats inspired some gift ideas for her too. If not, we’ve got you covered here!
Don’t forget as well, ending on 10th May 2020 would be MARHEN.J’s Gift with Purchase promotion and free delivery as well. Take advantage of it to get that bang for your buck!