Case in point: Anti-fast-fashion brand AS’FALL creates timeless pieces celebrating the Senegalese culture.
“Doing our work properly, with love and by taking the time, matter to us,” shares Astou Montfort, who is the founder, owner and CEO of AS’FALL – and one of this year’s Expatpreneur Award winners. “Generally, three months would have passed between the moment an idea comes to mind, and when it becomes a dress that goes on sale.”
Astou’s fashion label has embodied this commitment to craft since it was founded in Switzerland in 2009. That commitment hasn’t changed, with its entry to SG in 2017 seeing it bring in handmade luxury clothing. Its pieces, which range from drapey dresses with embellished details to statement-making scarves and beautiful leather handbags, are all rooted in Astou’s Senegalese heritage.
Read on to learn what makes AS’FALL so unique, and why you’ll want to head to her Haji Lane boutique or e-shop – stat!
Traditional, yet timeless
In Senegalese culture, Astou explains, there is a tradition to having one’s own linens woven. “Having your clothes embroidered for holidays or important ceremonies is part of the tradition, too,” says Astou, who recalls watching dressmakers set up weaving machines in the courtyard of her grandmother’s home, where she was raised. “They would stay for days, until they finished weaving everything my grandmother had ordered.”
Today, she draws on those childhood experiences to create her pieces. One example: She orders direct strips of embroidery woven by Senegalese women and reworks them into her current designs, with a team of tailors based in SG and Indonesia.
While Astou wants AS’FALL to be “easily worn by all women everywhere in the world”, she doesn’t want it to feel mass-market. “I have always hated that I could buy a dress, and then walk past the same window days later to find the same dress on sale,” she says. Her solution? Ensuring that the brand’s pieces retail at one fair price, while offering loyalty advantages to regular clients.
Quality over quantity
Ten years ago, AS’FALL chose to propose collections with limited quantities, so that each item would enhance a customer’s uniqueness.
Astou elaborates on how her heritage inspires her in making her brand items different: “I think of the dyeing, the beading, the embroidery. I also choose to always work on very timeless collections and not to get trapped in the frenzy of it,” she shares.
This mindset allows AS’FALL to pursue its ethical policy of fair fashion, which helps prevent overproduction of cheap clothing – one of the major issues in the fashion world.
In addition, its Instagram page is a space created for international clients, keeping them up-to-date on new collections and offering better customer service through direct messages. “Our content is not based on trends, but [rather] on the clothes we make and the environment they are created in,” she says.
Address: 28 Haji Ln., 189221
Tel: 9177 2872 (WhatsApp)
Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Mon.), 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Tue. to Sun.)
Read more about The Finder’s Expatpreneur 2021 winner, Astou.
Started in 2017 by The Finder, the Expatpreneur Awards are intended to honour hard-working, successful, community-minded foreign-born business owners in Singapore. All winners must exhibit how their businesses help people “live well in Singapore” – The Finder’s own mission. This year, marks the fifth annual awards. Find out more here.
By Willaine G. Tan