What is a boutique fair? A large multi-day shopping event. What is Boutique Fairs? A grammatically-challenged collection of “Curated. Distinctive. Design-led.” boutiques that gather together at the F1 Pit Building for a weekend of orgiastic shopping. We were too cheap to buy anything, so we stopped in to engage in our favourite sport – people-watching!
The Clan Madams
We don’t know why some people choose to bring their father, mother, sister, baby, husband to these things, BUT THEY DO. There they are, strong-arming strollers through the crowd, while trying to make sure their elderly parents are shuffling at pace behind them. It doesn’t make sense. If you want to shop, leave the burden of your family at home. And if you’re just looking for fun shit to do with your family, you’re kind of in the wrong place. Everyone looks bored, it’s crowded, stressful, and you’re not going to be able to buy anything anyway. May we refer you to the National Gallery Singapore, instead?
Also shops at: Daiso, Uniqlo
The Ladies of Linen and Leisure
These are the ladies who are here mostly to shop in the niche category of $300 linen tops. They come from all over the world – Iran, Sweden, England, India – but have one thing in common: they all live in a uniform of really expensive resort wear. All. Year. Round.
Linen tunic tops? Pom-pom raffia bags? Blousy cotton dresses trimmed with tassels? This isn’t their beach-ready look, it’s their “grocery shopping in Jelita/Tanglin Mall” look. Because they (a) don’t have a job to dress up for, just Instagram (b) have cash to burn, and (c) are not from Singapore so they think this is normal.
Things they will also buy include: crystal bead “aura” bracelets and handmade rugs woven by some much-poorer-women from third world countries. Hey, it’s not a cliché, it’s called “socially conscious shopping”, ok?
Also shops at: Edit Lifestyle, The Godown, anything in Cluny Court
The OG Hustlers
And who do we have over here, in her own carefully curated enclave? She’s slightly aged, but well preserved. She’s in chic but functional clothing. She’s here to work and sell you stuff, but she’s still werking it, in her own way. She’s an OG Hustler and she’s here to make coin, so please respek accordingly.
shops stocked at: Design Lab Orchard, Tangs Vivocity
There’s a basic in all of us, but some are just… more basic than others. These are the girls who watched Mean Girls in school and then formed their own clique called “The Plastics” because they somehow thought it was flattering… yikes. On weekends, they wear off-shoulder tops and denim shorts, but from Monday to Friday, they wear knee-length dresses in print fabrics. (Except on Wednesdays, when they wear pink.)
Sometimes these girls come in indistinguishable multipacks, but more often, they come with their own Emotional Support Animals (see below). They are here to shop ’til they drop, but also won’t forget to Instagram. Could they even be influencers? Maybe.
With that being said, we acknowledge that the combination of high disposable incomes and generic tastes makes these girls easy targets. But for all that, they are also probably single-handedly keeping the retail industry alive, so actually – we should all be so grateful.
Also shops at: Love, Bonito, Zalora
Emotional Support Animals
A.k.a. bag handlers. A.k.a. boyfriends. Spot them awkwardly loitering around in the aisles as their girlfriends shop. Then consider how they manfully sacrificed precious hours of their weekend to do basically nothing and enjoy the feeling of “Phew, not me”. Poor things.
Also “shops” at: as above
Like a rare breed of butterfly… there goes a bona fide cool girl! This girl stands out without looking like she even tried. She’s into fashion, but yeah she’s not overly invested. So why is she here? Well, unlike the rest of the sweltering masses, she’s not here to do a random spot of shopping, she’s come down to support a friend (or more likely, a whole bunch of friends) by picking up some pieces at their booth(s). Wah, so connected one? Yeah, well, she cool, mah.
Also shops at: Vintage shops, Dover Street Market, Uniqlo
“So much money to spend on my baby”
In another life, this woman would have been a yummy mummy. But instead of having lots of free time to exercise, she works at a high-paying corporate job. Therefore, instead of being a yummy mummy, she has “so much money to spend on my baby”. Defining features include: bags under her eyes and outfits that are halfway between “I’m trying to look cute” and “Dear God, please just let me wear something comfortable”.
Yes, she spends too much money on her baby – on baby food, on baby enrichment classes, on baby clothes, on baby swaddles, on baby toys, on baby room décor – but, at the end of the day, she’s just a really hardworking woman who’s trying to “have it all” and slowly waking up to the crushing realization that the world has set women up to fail because having a successful career while being a socially-approved “amazing” mother (and let’s not forget, having a “killer body”, bleagh) is literally impossible. So give her a goddamn break, and just let her shop!
Also shops at: organic food store, Petit Bateau, Ralph Lauren Children
Token White Men
Did you think we would forget them??? Who else is going to mind the toddlers while the ladies of linen and leisure shop? If, by chance, they are so lucky to find an atas alcohol store in the midst of all this fashion, then you will certainly find them there. Alas, no sportcoats this time, but do watch out for the white knee length shorts and loafers.
Also shops at: J. Lindeberg, Ralph Lauren
Hungry for more more people-watching? Check out the 10 types of people you see at art fairs!