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The Corner Shop
Photo: The Corner Shop

The best novelty shops in Singapore

These hip boutiques will satisfy all your quirky needs

By Time Out Singapore editors
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Chain stores and outlets are great for when you need to stock up on basic essentials but if you're looking for unique pieces then hit up these novelty shops packed with quirky items. From ceramic plates printed with the skyline of Singapore to unique scented candles inspired by California, these are just some interesting finds you can dig out at these places. 

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Outside

Shopping Orchard

Who knew you could still look cool while braving the heat outdoors. Whether it’s for hiking, camping or just a casual picnic, all your outdoor adventure needs can be found at Outside. Decked out in faux lush greenery, brick walls and pebbles, the store keeps you inspired as you browse the wide range of essentials such as backpacks, weather-resistant clothing, portable chairs and even mini refrigerators from brands like Fjallraven, Patagonia, Alite Design and CHUMS.

Monument Lifestyle

Shopping Tanjong Pagar

Inspired by the travels of store owners Dustin Ramos and Iris Sangalang, this lifestyle shop and café is all about the laidback vibes. At its retail front, you’ll find American menswear labels such Katin and Alex Mill that have yet to make their way into the mainstream. And when you’re done browsing through colourful socks, luxe scented candles and t-shirts, grab a cup of coffee or nosh on artisanal bread at the café.

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The Corner Shop
Photo: The Corner Shop

Zha Huo Dian

Shopping Orchard

Loosely translated from Chinese to “convenience store”, this shop in Far East Plaza stocks everything under the sun. Except for snacks. Here’s where to go for cool streetwear with a hint of nostalgia in Orchard. There are graphic tees, canvas jackets, bowling shirts, pieces with horseshoe prints and more. You might even find retro gadgets, old-school trinkets and vinyl records. Why would you ever go to another high-street fashion chain again?

cat socrates
Photograph: Cat Socrates/Facebook

Cat Socrates

Shopping Gifts and souvenirs Tiong Bahru

Home to a cluster of cool cafés and eateries like Forty Hands and Plain Vanilla and more, the ever-so-hip neighbourhood of Tiong Bahru also has interesting stores like BooksActually, Woods In The Books and Cat Socrates. Like its other branch in Joo Chiat, Cat Socrates stocks all kinds of trinkets like locally made scented candles, novelty books, pretty stationery, Hawaiian shirts and earrings. You can find pieces by regional designers as well as unique local souvenirs that are way more interesting than a Merlion keychain. 

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Gallery and Co

Restaurants City Hall

Not your average museum store, Gallery and Co brings together retail, activity spaces and eateries. Curated by restaurateur and hotelier Loh Lik Peng, Foreign Policy Design Group and Alwyn Chong of Luxasia – collectively known as ‘& Co’ – the retail section stocks products from local and international brands. There's stuff from General Object, Supermama and Smile Q&Q, whose solar-powered watches can be found in a huge vending machine. And since it’s housed in a temple to art, it also carries merchandise, like tees and even bar soaps, inspired by the artworks in the gallery.

Kapok

Shopping Bags and luggage Rochor

Founded in 2006 by Frenchman Arnault Castel in Hong Kong, Kapok curates fashion and design brands in its Singapore outlet – its largest flagship store in the world. Patrons can expect sneakers by cult brands like Cariuma, Common Projects and Stepney Workers Club, bags and accessories from Freitag and Rains, cool clothes from Maison Kitsune and Future Classics, and also loads of stuff for the home like soap and candles. 

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Supermama

Shopping Boutiques Rochor

This minimalist husband-and-wife co-owned souvenir shop is the perfect place to pick up thoughtful, one-of-a-kind gifts for that special someone (or yourself). Think asymmetrical bowls, dimpled cups and painstakingly handpainted plates inspired by modern Singapore culture and architecture. Because most items are available in limited quantities, your best bet’s to pop in and find out what’s in stock.

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