Patches : A collaborative effort, and a true-blue celebration of the red and white
Last month saw the launch of Patches, a pair of socks designed by the UNIFORM and Shentonista team in light of Singapore’s National Day. Even as we are reminded of the great strides the nation has made each year, the UNIFORM and Shentonista team saw an opportunity to highlight lesser-told stories, and pay tribute to the people who have wordlessly laid the foundation for our progress in their own way.
Sharing on how the project came about, UNIFORM’s founder and director Darren Lee said, “There was a sense among the team that we were always creating the intangible, and we wanted to make something physical we could call our own. Being a street-style website, and having created projects for a number of fashion brands through the years, we naturally wanted to create something like an accessory, or a piece of apparel.”
Lesley Chee, lead of Content & Communications at UNIFORM shares, “The design of the socks draws inspiration from two sources—firstly, the pattern of flannel pyjamas, for days when we would rather be in bed and to sneak a little comfort into our everyday work-wear. The second is the design of old handkerchiefs, the type that our fathers and grandfathers would bring along to work. While the current generation tends t job-hop in order to ‘follow their dreams’, our forefathers rarely had that luxury. Many of them spent decades in the same industry, even the same company, all because they were working for something bigger than themselves—providing for their loved ones, having a shelter over their heads, and putting food on the table.
UNIFORM wanted the socks to be a tribute to them and a reminder of their dedication and sacrifice.
Over the project’s two-year journey to fruition, UNIFORM has been fortunate to have ACRE on board as
collaborators. Besides their expertise in designing products, having created items ranging from home-ware and stationery to furniture, what made ACRE ideal collaborators was their philosophy and methodology, something ACRE’s Creative Director and co-founder T Y Zheng believes is at the core of their work.
“We always tell people that as a studio, “We answer briefs”, which means that we don’t impose a visual style or push a graphic agenda, but prescribe solutions that express the concept best.” ACRE’s managing director and co-founder Jason Song shared more about the collaboration, adding, “It started from a conversation where Darren shared that he liked some of our previous products. I learned that he was keen on creating his own products for UNIFORM, so we thought it’d be a great opportunity to work together.”
Through ACRE, UNIFORM also got the opportunity to connect with home-grown brand Supermama. As champions of local design who have worked extensively with craftsmen in Japan to create their products, Supermama’s craft-based knowledge played an important part in realising the creative vision of the project.
To show appreciation for their support over the years, UNIFORM organised a giveaway for Shentonista’s readers. Drawing on the theme of comfort that inspired the design, readers were asked to share what comfort means to them, with the best responses receiving a pair of the socks. The many submissions received spoke to a truly Singaporean mindset: many participants drew comfort from food, family, friends, and the things that make home truly somewhere to be ourselves.
The launch of Patches has been a rewarding experience for UNIFORM and Shentonista, and with
the response to their first foray into product design being so encouraging, the team hopes for more of such collaborations in the future.