March 31, 2016

The era of the monogram may be out — no way are we carrying one of those bags with the brand’s signature logo all over, especially the highly imitated designs. But you know what, in the current age of minimalist ware, pared down and scaled back and effortlessly stylish, it’s hard to find something that truly conveys you, save for wearing a bright orange polka dotted fur coat (we ain’t judging if that’s your style). Unless, of course, it’s stamping your initials on that said thing, something that says “ooh I spent money on this and it’s exclusively mine”. Naturally, whatever we’ve found here isn’t at all tacky — no Couple Lab rings and cheap keychains please — we’re talking about subtle monograms and custom pieces where you can detail every thread colour or placement of the stitch, for any kind of budget. In other words, custom fashion that’s actually cool:

Burberry — the Heritage Trench Coat, & the Scarf Bar

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Everything about the British luxury brand feels classy, and somehow, the image we most associate with the brand has to be their versatile double-breasted honey trench coat, buttons and belt loops in all the right flattering places. And in no way are they going to ruin the piece with bright monogram on the outside — instead, the Burberry Heritage Trench Coat will have the embroidery on the inside, just below the inner buttonhole. The luxurious coat will be embroidered right in Castleford, where it’s made, and you can opt for up to three initials in a selection of 15 thread colours.

Prices: Available for the Burberry Chelsea narrow fit, the Sandringham slim fit, the Kensington modern fit, and the Westminster classic fit; from $2,795
Where: Online at; all Burberry stores

As for the scarves, well, head over to The Scarf Bar at either their ION Orchard or MBS outlets to get yours made. With all the pieces made in Scotland, you can bet the quality’s great, but we’ll say this — the variety’s even greater. You get to choose from over 30 colours, in patterns of a classic check or solid colour or fun prints like polka dots and hearts, in either cashmere or lightweight material. Then, further personalise your scarf by having your initials on it, in over 30 thread colours, 2 different sizes of font, for up to three letters. If you’re completely sure what you want, ordering it online is an option too — you can then collect your custom piece from a preferred boutique after 7 days.

Prices: From $825 for a Burberry cashmere check scarf, and a monogrammed scarf will cost an additional $120 for Adults and $80 for kids
Where: Online at; Burberry ION Orchard and The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Coach — the Saddle bag

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You know what, this New York brand has managed to be ultra-cool again, what with the recent collections by creative director Stuart Vevers, and this year, we’re keeping an eye out for the modern-meets-vintage iconic styles that the luxury brand will be putting out in its 75th Anniversary. First up, the Saddle Bag, straight from the archives of the original No. 9170 Classic Pouch bag. In 2016, this is reimagined in a glove-tanned leather with a soft leather lining and contrast edge painting, plus, a refreshing bright colour palette. The Saddle bag comes in six new colours, while a smaller version, the Saddle bag 23, comes in 12 striking colours. What’s even more fun though, is that you can add a personal touch with it, by opting for your initials on its front flap. Hey, all the It-girls are doing it.

Prices: $825 for the Coach Saddle Bag 23; and $1120 for the Coach Saddle Bag
Where: Monogramming services will only be available at Coach Wisma Atria

Louis Vuitton — Mon Monogram bags, trunks, and leather items

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Ah, you probably know of this already — here’s the brand that kind of put the stamp on the monogram trend, and, they’ve gained lots of loyal followers who’d love a piece of luxurious leather, catered just for them. During a visit to the Hong Kong flagship store, we laid eyes on an artist who was doing a live demonstration of the painting that goes on the Louis Vuitton bags, truly impressive stuff. What we didn’t know (then), is that there’s a whole collection called the Mon Monogram that allows everyone to have these hand-painted, multicoloured initials and stripes on the brand’s most popular monogram handbags, luggage and wallets.

Additionally, you get to personalise new trunks as part of a special trunk painting service at the Island Maison Marina Bay Sands store, this get to be ultra-exclusive since you can work with their in-house artisan to create an original design. That is, if you’re into that whole vibe. For us, we’d stick to subtle initials — a hot stamping service is available for small leather goods and accessories at all their stores, perfect since you can have it on the inside of your wallet.

Prices: Complimentary hot stamping if you purchase any qualifying product
Where: Mon Monogram, available online; Trunk Painting Service, available at the Louis Vuitton Island Maison Marina Bay Sands store; Hot Stamping Service, online and all Louis Vuitton stores

Thomas Sabo — Love Bridge Bracelets


You must have come across one of those places while travelling — the bridges at Paris, and the N Seoul Tower comes to mind, where lovers attach padlocks engraved with their initials at these romantic sites, as a way to commemorate their deep love and everlasting commitment for each other, a grand romantic gesture that says “I love you no matter the weather(ing)”, that isn’t at all a blight on the existing infrastructure. Well, not to hate, but there’s just a better way to show the love — and of course, it’s couple wear. Or, not. You can own a Thomas Sabo bracelet and make it your own, by way of the Boho design, with  dumortierite, jasper, lapis lazuli and a round 925 Sterling silver pendant with rose gold plating that bears your initials. And if you’re feeling generous, you can gift one to your loved one, and engrave the thin metal plate with a significant word or two. The variety’s insane — there are gold, silver and rose gold-coloured pieces, with pearls or quartz or obsidian beads or and more. Just, promise to make it not-too-cheesy?

Prices: Love Bridge Bracelets and Necklaces, from $149
Where: Available online; at Thomas Sabo stores

Topshop — denim

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You’ve seen this everywhere recently, and by far, this is one of the cutest things we have on our list — for every denim purchase, Topshop is offering these complimentary patches, those old-school iron-on designs that will definitely make your denim stand out in a sea of blue. You get to pick from eight designs, and these aren’t the “cute” of Hello Kitty or little girls in their polka-dotted pinafores, we like how it’s somehow edgy too in a cool Jap kinda way. Have this on a Topshop MOTO Oversized Western Shirt, denim shorts, or any of their 12,239 pairs of jeans (we’re obviously overstating, but it does seem like they do have that many designs) including the Leigh, Jamie, Joni, Mom, Hayden and Orson styles. Regrettably, they’ve recently ended their denim monogram service, but hey, you never know when the next pop-up will be, so look out!

Prices: Patches are valid while stocks last, with any purchase of a denim product
Where: All Topshop stores; head to to find out more

Jeanuine Jeans by Victor York

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Here’s the case for custom jeans: they fit you, just you, better, you get to nitpick at every bit of the process, from the shape of the pockets to the colour of the thread, and you’ll therefore love it to bits. Jeanuine, a bespoke French denim brand, offers a unique service where you can personalise each pair of jeans however you want it. If you’re hitting up the website, you make a series of choices on each component of your jeans, all on the Jean Maker.

It starts with the cut – straight cut, slim cut or boot cut – followed by the colour of the denim, hem, wash, pockets, fly and zipper, buttons and rivets. At every stage, you get to choose your thread colours as well. For example, you could go cowboy-classic by picking a dark-toned denim, yellow thread, and copper rivets. If you’re looking for something edgy, you might opt for zippers as pockets, go entirely discreet with black threads, then add a minimal back pocket design. You can also head down to the Victor York boutique, where you’ll get to try a few sample pieces, get measured up, while they’ll run you through a sample book so you get a better feel of the texture. It’s all premium denim, and theirs comes from the Kurabo Mill in Japan, dyed a double-dip indigo blue.

Prices: Jeanuine Custom Jeans, from $300 for classic Turkish denim and $350 for raw Japanese selvedge denim
Where: At Victor York, 40b Boat Quay; and online at

UNIQLO UTme! — t-shirts

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Sometimes we hate technology, damn those double ticks and time stamps on Whatsapp when all we want to do is to be left alone, but other times we love it, including VR consoles, smartphones and anything that gets us anything instantly, on-the-spot, now. Which is why we also love UNIQLO’s t-shirt printing service — all you have to do is hit up the mobile app, customise your t-shirt, and print that design on a plain one at the UNIQLO store. It’s so straightforward you just have to try it for yourself.

Prices: Uniqlo UTme! T-shirts, $29.90 for adults and $24.90 for kids
Where: At UNIQLO Bugis+; the UTme! app is available free for download at iTunes and Google Play

Bynd Artisan — notebooks

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Technically, you can customise any notebook — that’s what we used to do on our diaries or planners right, with plenty of stickers and washi tapes and doodling? Oh right, that’s when we used to own a pen that isn’t cosmetic/a stylus, when we used to write things down instead of tapping away on our digital calendars. If you’re into that now old-school habit of writing though, here’s something you’ll love: Bynd Artisan’s brand of custom stationery. The homegrown paper and leather goods brand does stylish leather notebooks that draw from the experience of expert craftsmen who love to preserve the art of bookbinding, and while you can always get their ready-made goods, their personalised notebooks are just a sight to behold. You can choose from an array of leatherette covers and end papers, your inner pages, binding method, and your closures, whether it’s an elastic band, flap, snap buttons, rivets or eyelets. Then, choose to have a name or initials debossed on the cover.

Prices: Bynd Artisan Customised Notebook, from $20 for an A5 book
Where: Online at; or the Bynd Artisan store at 2 Chin Bee Avenue