The Hunger Games

Annabelle Fernandez uncovers the food and fashion tribes of Singapore

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Annabelle Fernandez uncovers the food and fashion tribes of Singapore

My Reading Room

If the French philosopher Roland Barthes were still alive today, he’d have a field day updating his seminal text from 1967, The Fashion System, which examined how clothing is a language through which people transmit their ideologies. In 2017, people show their allegiance to particular tribes through the vast vocabulary at their disposal—there’s also the fitness fad you’re into (barre versus HIIT?), the director whose visual aesthetic is most similar to yours (Sofia Coppola versus Baz Lurhmann?) and, as expected in a food-obsessed nation like Singapore, the places you eat at. One look at a Singaporean’s Instagram feed and you can come to a pretty accurate conclusion of who they are.

Below, a tasting platter of some of Singapore’s food and fashion tribes:
The food: Singapore’s deep in the throngs of the third wave coffee movement, but for this discerning crowd, it takes more than a state-oftheart La Marzocco machine to impress them. The beans should be single-origin (or at the very least, an in-house blend); brewing options should include Aeropress, Chemex, V60 or syphon techniques; and, most importantly, there should be no menu beyond the words “black” or “white”.

The fashion: The monochrome outlook extends to their outfits: They worship at the altar of conceptual Japanese designers Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto—minimalist attire perfect for meditating over a cuppa at Omotesando Koffee, Nylon Coffee Roasters and Jewel Coffee.