Home-grown label Love, Bonito goes international with a collaboration with Parisian Haute Couturier, Julien Fournié. Its founders share their vision with City News.
Love, Bonito has come a long way since it started as an online fashion blogshop back in 2010. Last month, it closed the FIDé Fashion Weeks international fashion show with its exclusive collaboration collection with Parisian haute couturier, Julien Fournié.
Since its inception, Love, Bonito has won multiple awards, from “Best Blog Shop” at the Asia Pacific Blog Awards in 2009, to “Best Online Shop” by M:Idea in 2011, and the SME Asia Award 2013/2014 by The Asian Business Journal and The Trade and Industry Association. It is recognized for its accessibly-priced apparel and accessories, ranging from casual chic to office trendy. The brand is owned by sisters Viola Tan, Velda Tan and good friend, Rachel Lim, all in their late ’20s.
The runway show, which was held at Marina Bay Sands, opened with a showcase of Love, Bonito’s collection of classy evening gowns and cocktail dresses, before models strutted out 15 pieces of kitschy and vibrant creations from the collaborative collection.
Featured were wearable womenswear pieces such as solid coloured gowns, embellished frocks, sharp blazers and casual maxi dresses. Close to 500 guests attended the showcase, including local celebrities Zoe Tay and Fann Wong. The pieces are available now at Love, Bonito’s online store, www.lovebonito.com, with retail prices ranging from SGD$50 to SGD$200.
City News chats with the founders about the origins of Love, Bonito and what lies ahead for them.
What was your dream for Love, Bonito when you first set it up in 2010? How did you envisage your business growing?
We dream big and we have always wanted to share this passion with women all over the world. However, the journey getting here has proven difficult at times. With every obstacle we overcame, we learned to trust our instincts, our business partners and to take calculated risks.
Why did you call it Love, Bonito? Is there a special meaning to the name?
We started seven years ago as Bonito Chico as it had a catchy vibe to it. Love, Bonito was born to symbolize a new start when we registered the company.
Our family and friends for their love, belief and unwavering support. Without them, we wouldn’t have had the strength and faith to make it this far.
Our customers—their constant support is our main motivation to excel further at what we do. The affirmation comes from seeing our customers on the streets in a Love, Bonito outfit. It’s our constant motivation to work harder.
You are all social media celebrities in your own right—I understand you charge an appearance rate at other company’s events. How have you managed to build up such a following (Love, Bonito has 9,037 followers while Lim and Tan have 7,809 and 4,515 followers respectively).
We don’t like to think we are “social media celebrities”; instead we like to see ourselves as friends to all our followers on our social handles. We want to be the friend they look up to for style inspiration. We believe in being sincere and trustworthy. We do not endorse any brands or products we do not believe in.
In four short years you have taken Love, Bonito from a popular Singapore site to an international fashion label with your collaboration with Julien Fournié. Tell us why you decided to do this?
We attended Julien’s show last year at FIDe Fashion Weeks and we were intrigued and astonished by his work and style. We casually spoke to Dr Frank Cintamani, Chairman of FIDe Fashion Weeks, about the idea of Love, Bonito collaborating with a haute couturier, specifically Julien Fournié. He believed in our brand, heard our wishes and linked us up with Julien. The magic of haute couture-meets-fast fashion happened. It was like a dream come true!
One of the reasons why we remained one of the trusted online stores in Singapore is because we provide trendy and current apparel at accessible prices. We believe that with this collaboration, our customers now can own a piece of high fashion in their wardrobe at a fraction of the price.
With this collaboration your pricing goes up substantially higher, hitting a high of $200. Do you think your current fan base will adapt to this rise in price? Do you think you will gain a new audience?
We believe it is every girl’s dream to own a haute couture piece hence the price remains accessible to all our customers. We would love to have our customers own a piece of haute couture yet maintain the essence of the Love, Bonito style. Hence, we hope not only to elevate the style that our current customers adore, but also reach out to a new audience internationally.
What is your next exciting plan? What do you see in Love, Bonito’s future in the next three years?
We are excited to launch the Julien Fournie for Love, Bonito collection at the end of November. Doors are now open for future collaborations and we plan to penetrate the international fashion scene.
Visit the store at www.lovebonito.com