Early this year during the Audi Fashion Festival, featured alongside fashion heavyweights Gareth Pugh, Vivienne Westwood, Christian Lacroix and Marc Jacobs was a little known local label called ELOHIM. Started by LASELLE.SIA College of the Arts graduate Sabrina Goh, ELOHIM was one of the labels showcased by fashion retail store Blackmarket to grace the catwalk in one of the shows at Singapore’s biggest fashion event in 2009.
A Fashionable Start
We first met Sabrina Goh at the official opening of the Global Entrepreneurship Week in Singapore, where she had a booth displaying her designs.
25 year-old Sabrina worked for four years in various local and international fashion companies upon her graduation in 2005. The Malaysian-born, Singapore-based designer finally started her label in January this year, with seed funding from Spring Singapore’s Yes! Startup scheme.
To create her own fashion label has always been Sabrina’s dream. “I’m influenced by my father, who’s a draughtsman, since I was very young and dreamt of being a fashion designer,” reveals Sabrina, “I think it was the architectural lines and structural shapes in his drafts that influence my current designs now!”
Sabrina says she is inspired by forms and structural objects, and enjoys experimenting by mixing elements of men’s and women’s wear in all her designs, and using different textures of fabrication, cuttings and colors. Indeed, her fashion label ELOHIM features clothes that are structural and androgynous, which she says symbolizes women with courage and confidence. ELOHIM means God in Hebrew, and she easily admits God is the inspiration behind her label. “Because I believe what I can do with my hands, God can always bring it further beyond what I can imagine.”
Put it down to faith or hard work; ELOHIM has been well-received. Other than Blackmarket (19, Jalan Pisang), The label is currently sold at Hide and Seek (22B, Hong Kong Street), To the Nines in the new Orchard Central, and even in New York’s Pixiemarket on Stanton Street, and Not Just A Label in London. Prices range from SGD$45.90 to SGD$369.90 – affordable for her target audience of working females aged 20 to 40.
“We are very fortunate to sell our designs locally and internationally,” Sabrina concedes. “The biggest challenge will be to bring the label to the next level and suceed in the marketplace.” Her next step is to grow her business steadily in Singapore and venture more overseas. Currently, ELOHIM does not have any outside investors.
Sabrina believes that the local fashion scene holds much promise, with many young designer labels emerging. She’s collaborating with another startup designer label Reckless Erika, on a POP UP Store at Stamford House from 8-13 January next year. That’s also the same location where ELOHIM will be launching its Spring Summer 2010 Collection on 7 Jan 2010.
Sabrina shares that although it has always been her dream to start her own label and business, she never treated it seriously until she realized the importance of living for a purpose. An entrepreneur, she says, needs to have “an open mind, a lion’s heart and an unique strength”.
“This has been a vision to bring my drawing and sketches into revenues. I think entrepreneurship helps me to be more decisive and builds a stronger character. To learn to be more realistic compared to who I was as a dreamer.”