Some of the best ideas are the simplest, and what could be better or simpler than taking the creme de la creme of fashion graduates, opening a shop and giving them free reign to run their own business from the ground up? This is precisely what Raffles Design Institute did in 2010, when it opened its first Raffles Privato standalone at Singapore’s prestigious Paragon Shopping Center. The concept and execution were so successful that a Shanghai store soon followed, with plans afoot to wheel further out across China and Asia next.
Nestling in the suitably chic Xintiandi Style mall, Raffles Privato Shanghai serves as a showcase that not only gives young fashion designers a commercial platform, but more importantly, gives them hands-on experience - not only do they each design two collections of 15 couture pieces each year, they do so while running a business involving everything from initial sketches to manufacturing lead time, from margin to mark-up, even store decor. Eight alumni are chosen each year with collections running the gamut from grunge to leisure and sport to evening luxe, all featuring attractive pricing and all made exclusively for Raffles Privato. Fashionistas will know that Alexander McQueen’s muse Isabella Blow famously bought his entire graduate collection in 1992 - who knows whose design you may be buying...