F.I.L. (Free International Laboratory)
The buzz: Another luxury menswear boutique at historic Raffles Hotel, spearheaded by trendsetting Earn Chen, who also runs lauded multi-label menswear boutique Surrender upstairs. The store carries all the full Pre-Fall and Autumn/Winter collections from the artisanal Japanese streetwear label Visvim.
The vibe: Befitting the hotel’s colonial architecture, the 1,000 sq. ft. space is fitted with antique wooden parquet style flooring from 19th century, traditional Japanese shikkui plaster finish on the walls and an outstanding old wooden shop counter right in the middle of the store from the late 1800’s—all very classy old world charm.
The goods: Indigenous product concepts merged with chief designer Hiroki Nakamura’s relentless commitment to contemporary standards of modern garment engineering result in some haute buys. A very limited selection of exquisitely handcrafted necklaces might set you back $1,500, but its ready-to-wear collection such as on-trend corduroy berms in brown, blue and black ($625) is versatile enough to go either with a jacket or a plain tee. For those seeking more exclusive pieces beyond Autumn/Winter spanning an already impressive range of casual wear, outerwear, denim and pants, Nakamura has also created two pairs of mandals ($645) dubbed the Samaras for the store, a clever mix of natural cork footbed and indigo dye strap for that certified urban nomad look.
Why you’ll be back: The design of the store itself requires repeated visits; plus new pieces will be added over the next few weeks.