Singapore's Tastemakers - Part 2
Loh Lik Peng, 41
The owner of the New Majestic Hotel and Wanderlust in Singapore has a long history with hospitality, dating from his first acquisition and restoration of Hotel 1929, which was recently sold for $35 million. Though he made the decision to do so, it wasn't an easy one. Today, the Unlisted Collection, which is his firm overseeing his businesses, has a portfolio that spans the globe, from Town Hall Hotel in London to the Old Clare, his most recent addition in Sydney.
Every project that Unlisted takes on is different and unique. Loh has never had to hunt for a project in his life. But there’s a consistent aesthetic, a hint of a childlike wonder and curiosity and a skill for mixing old and new that is very much his own personal attitude towards design and style. He rarely, if ever, works with the same designers on two different projects. "We speak with them, to find out if they have an emotional connection to the place, before we engage them to work on a project," he explains. As a result, none of his projects look dated or dull, no matter when you look at them. They re-engage you time after time.
Rachel Lim, 28
The young founder of Love, Bonito, has made a wave for herself and others in the online startup space. Love, Bonito is a women's fashion label that's casually stylish, effortless, definitely cool. The project, according to Lim, started off in school. “We had a lot of clothes we were not wearing, and wanted to sell them off. The easiest way at the time was to go online.So we created a site, began styling ourselves in our clothes and sold things.” As demand increased, they ran out of clothing to sell, and began to source for goods from overseas. However the quality wasn't ideal, so eventually they decided to establish their own label.
The challenge with online fashion retail is the experience. "We don’t have a brick-and-mortar space where customers can try and experience the product, so we engage with them only in other ways. A good return policy is essential, and we have to make sure goods arrive in our warehouses on time." In many ways, Love, Bonito's beginnings are akin to Net-a-Porter. Who knows? It may well become the next multi-million online business to originate from our sunny shores.
Ed's Note: Ms Lim's surname was wrongly printed in the August issue of our magazine. We apologise for the error.