To Market, To Market

Published on 19 July 2016

Weekend pop-up markets are all the rage in Singapore now. Here are four to perk up your weekend schedule.

BY MARCUS GOH

Ten years ago, going to the market meant haggling for fish and vegetables at the local wet market. But today, going to the market means heading down to one of the many weekend pop-up markets in Singapore, which sell all sorts of artistic wares.

By definition, these events appear mostly on Fridays and weekends, and consist of makeshift booths where vendors ply their handmade wares. In common parlance, it’s a hipster pasar malam that lasts a few days.

The beauty of pop-up markets is that their marketing is usually viral. Organisers often publicise their next event through social media channels only, which lends a certain charm and exclusivity. It’s a different experience from the commercialised cookie-cutter consumerism that Singaporeans are used to.

Feel like nosing around a casual weekend market? Here are four weekend pop-up fairs to visit. You’ll need to follow their Facebook pages or websites to know where and when the markets open. It wouldn’t be a real pop-up market if you didn’t, right?

CRAFT MARKET: THE LOCAL PEOPLE

“The Local People are nomadic space activators who seek to repurpose disused and defunct places around Singapore,” explains 28-year-old co-founder Lu Yawen. “At the same time, we offer a platform for Singaporean artists and makers.”

The market, which started in May 2014, launched their e-store in January this year. Booth priority is given to items made or designed in Singapore, and can range from hand-drawn illustrations on print to knitted accessories and churros.

“I’m glad the general public is more aware of the Singaporean craftsmen and artists that exist now. Hopefully, we can change the mindset one art market at a time,” says Lu.

UPCOMING
NIGHT MARKET: THE LOCAL PEOPLE X ALIWAL ARTS CENTRE
WHEN 30 July, 5pm-11pm
WHERE Aliwal Arts Centre car park
WEB fb.com/TheLocalPeopleSG, thelocalpeoplesg.com

DESIGN MARKET: MAAD (MARKET OF ARTISTS AND DESIGNERS)

One of the biggest and oldest weekend pop-up markets in Singapore, MAAD began in July 2006 as a marketplace dedicated to original design works. Since then, it has been hosted monthly at the Red Dot Design Museum.

“There was a gap in the arts market back in 2006,” says organiser Elvin Seah, 31. “MAAD became the pioneer in creating a space for the local creative community to gather, test the market and showcase their works.”

MAAD also regularly sees start-ups coming in to promote their brand, raise awareness, and find potential customers. But the most important criteria for vendors is that they must have a creative input in the final product or service.

“The mindset on pop-up marketplaces has changed in recent years,” says Seah. “Art marketplaces are no longer associated with fleas and second-hand items. The level of quality expected in art marketplaces has evolved.”

UPCOMING
DESIGN MARKET X MAAD
WHEN 5 August, 5pm-12am
WHERE Red Dot Design Museum
WEB fb.com/goMAAD, maad.sg

MAKERS MARKET: TOGETHERLY

Started last year by a group of friends in the entertainment industry, Togetherly features businesses based in Singapore that don’t have a shopfront. Markets are often located at popular venues such as Orchard Central or Wisma Atria.

“We wanted to bring these businesses to places with mass audiences,” says Wendy Ng, 37, one of the three co-organisers. “Places like shopping malls give them the right platforms to be featured.”

Vendors sell all sorts of products and services: terrariums, tarot-card readings, and air plants (the common name for a species that grows without soil and requires little watering). There’s even a book exchange at this pop-up!

“One of my greatest hopes is to bring our Singapore makers abroad. We want to create a platform where they get to showcase their products and be able to sell overseas, instead of having Singapore as the only platform,” says Ng.

UPCOMING
TOGETHERLY X TANJONG GOODMAN WEEKEND MARKET
WHEN 23-24 July, 10am-6pm
WHERE Goodman Arts Centre
WEB fb.com/togetherlysg

TOGETHERLY X SINGAPORE RHAPSODIES THE CONCERT
WHEN 27 August, 6.30pm-9.30pm
WHERE Palawan Green Sentosa
WEB fb.com/togetherlysg

COMICS MARKET: STARVING ARTIST FAIR

True to its name, the Starving Artist Fair sells no food, but original comics, fan art, and handicrafts. This comics market, which pops up bimonthly at *SCAPEmedia Hub and began this year with two successful runs in March and May, has been touted as a good test-market for aspiring comic book creators.

“It’s a way to be exposed to a curation leaning more towards original comics and artworks,” says J F Koh, 44, one of the organisers. “But for comics entrepreneurs, it is a boot camp to learn about the business side of comics and creativity.”

Koh’s dream is to see the comics industry flourish in Singapore, an aspiration he shares with Naomi Kojima, a Japanese author/illustrator of picture books.

“Naomi says it would probably take about a generation to take off. So it’s not something that can be built up overnight, but an effort that will take decades to develop,” shares Koh.

UPCOMING
STARVING ARTIST FAIR
WHEN 6 August, 12pm-7pm
WHERE *SCAPEmedia Hub
WEB fb.com/starvingartistfair, starvingartistfair.com

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