Singapore is good for all sorts of reasons – perennial heat, friendly locals, incredible buildings, cheap taxis, strange smells emanating from grates beneath your feet – but I wasn’t expecting too much in the way of boutique shopping. “It’s mall-city,” I was told. “Miles and miles of malls stretching as far as the eye can see, and guess what’s behind the malls? More malls. Underneath the malls? Underground malls… And a few thousand food courts.” I was given just one store tip – from Leon Vince at Fabric – that Surrender in the Raffles Hotel Arcade was a must see. So I went. And he was right.
Nestled in a corner on the second floor of the iconic Raffles complex, Surrender is a large, eclectic store with a curious mix of brands. One corner of the room houses Billionaire Boys Club and Visvim; in another, Bedwin and the Heartbreakers hangs alongside Band of Outsiders; nearby sits Thom Browne and Maison Martin Margiela. Shoes come courtesy of Mark McNairy, Alden and Converse X Missoni; the candles are by Cire Trudon, and men’s skincare is on offer from Baxter of California. With its raw wooden floors, vintage cabinets and butterfly installations, if I was going to put it in Kiwi-specific terms, the store is a mashup of Fabric, Qubic, Wunderkammer, Crane Brothers and Zambesi. Internationally, it’s like a cross between Opening Ceremony and L’Eclaireur. In the best possible way.
According to manager Andy Chng, “We like to have a wide mix of product, so that just about every guy who comes in here will be able to walk out with something.” The formula seemed to be working – in the 20 minutes I was in there three dudes walked in the door, looked around for a bit then each made a purchase.
In my mind, best in store has to go to the insane selection of Band of Outsiders (This Is Not A) polo shirts. But that’s a whole other post in itself, coming soon. Special thanks to Andy for being such a good host; Surrender is most definitely a store I would recommend visiting regularly.
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