17 July 2013
SHOES aren’t exactly what comes to mind in the branding of Singapore as a fashion hub, but the newly opened Bronx Creative & Design Centre (BDC) in Tai Seng might change that.
South-east Asia’s first footwear design centre is the brainchild of local sneaker company Bronx Singapore, supported by government agencies such as the Economic Development Board, Spring Singapore, DesignSingapore, and IE Singapore. Its facilities include a fully operational prototype centre, and low-rent office space for start-ups to use.
The centre’s strategic director, Thomas Ng, said that government support has been critical to the setting up of BDC.
“We are very confident about the successful completion of BDC because of the backing of these four government agencies,” he said in Mandarin.
Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck, who officially opened the centre yesterday, said that although the fashion industry here has left behind its manufacturing roots due to cheaper production overseas, “a vibrant local fashion scene supports our tourism growth and provides a nurturing environment for entrepreneurs and designers to thrive and succeed in this economy”.
To that end, BDC is partnering Raffles Design Institute to offer courses in shoemaking, design and business.
Leow Hai Keun, BDC’s vice-president of industry development, said: “In South-east Asia, you can find some institutions that tell you how to make shoes, but no one – really no one – tells you how to design shoes.”
BDC’s courses are targeted at newcomers to the craft and professionals seeking further training.
The centre plans to train around 300 students in its first year of operations.
BDC is collaborating with regional footwear manufacturing associations, with Mr Ng saying that he hoped that the centre could groom designers whose footwear ends up retailing in department stores such as Metro and Parkson.
It will also work with homegrown players Charles & Keith and 77th Street for skills development and prototype development opportunities.