happy selections

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vintage bric bracs, antique collectibles, furniture repurposed from parts of old houses, art & design magazines, hip streetwear, local indie labels... if this sounds like a hipster's dream store, it is.

17a select store is actually the shared space of two retail outlets, snackfood and the off-day, in an open gallery space that used to house valentine willie's fine art. the two stores may offer entirely different goods but share the same underlying concept - carefully curated goods of fine quality and lasting appeal - and are displayed seamlessly, making 17a a treasure trove of interesting discoveries. 

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snackfood offers an eclectic selection of vintage and retro-style odds and ends, including stationery (archie grand notebooks), embroidered labels, toiletries (tokyomilk fragrances and body care, old fashion vegan soaps), enamel tableware - the yellow tiffin carriers with green edges sure bring back fond memories - typewriters, vinyls, movie posters and for bruce lee fans, there's a set of figurines of the little dragon in different kung fu stances. other rare finds are yellowed but pristine copies of the straits times malaysian edition dating back to the 1970s.

then there are the more contemporary items, but that are still rooted in traditions: a glass top display table repurposed from old metal grills by kl-based boutique furniture makers pieces and linus bikes, from the usa, inspired by the classic french two-wheelers from the 1950s and 1960s. at the front desk, rows of magazines that celebrate the same love for such 'happy things' (adeline's name card says 'collector of happy things') - inspiring, design-led titles such as kinfolk, uppercase and cereal.

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filling up another half of the store, the off-day brings together local and international independent men's wear brands that have the fine quality of luxury labels and the edgy cred of streetwear favourites. from the local front, there are shuren's printed shirts; handcrafted leather riding boots and classic brogues by tomrichshoes; small leather goods by field trip and denim jeans by ceremony fine wear. based in kl and about a year old at most, these proudly malaysian brands are heralding the next wave in the local fashion scene. each boasts of distinctive concept and aesthetics that are grounded in well-established traditions, trusted methods and artisanal skills. 

17a calls itself a select store to reflect its finely curated goods. the general premise of it is, the shopping's been done for you. 


17a select store (snackfood & the off-day) 17a jalan telawi 3, bangsar, kl tel +603 2201 7513 opens 12-7pm, tue-sun; closed mon snackfood the off-day

a whole lot of pretty

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from the outside, the lifeshop atelier is all cosy and warm with home decor items in rich colours filling up the front of shop and doubling up as window display. once you venture beyond the heavy glass and steel doors, this treasure trove that’s packed almost to the rafters positively envelops you with a motley spread of home decor items, novelty gift ideas, whimsical bric bracs, furniture, apparel, stationery – ok we can go on and on until you run out of breath reading, because this is one of those places where you won’t know where to start looking. pick a random spot to start and you’ll find yourself wanting to snoop into every nook and cranny to unearth its many gems.

it may have all the quaint charm of a parisian antique store and indeed, there are some vintage (or vintage style) goods among the chic contemporary desirables. a cabinet displaying part of their small leather goods range, for example, is quite the statement piece made from steel and recycled wood, and is imported from France. a smaller design from the same range sits above it and there’s also a file cabinet style three-drawer piece, which was used to display oversized chinese new year decor at the time of our visit. lifeshop deftly demonstrates the form and function of their wares through creative interior decor that allows enough space for attractive displays while leaving some spatial comfort for customers to move around at ease.

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we love browsing the racks in the apparel section for its medley of floaty printed silk cardigans, sporty cotton maxi dresses and mod monochromatic tops from thailand. other points of interest are the vintage-style stationery and fun wooden animals – white rocking horses to match this year’s chinese zodiac and families of dark teal bunnies. bureut it’s the centrepiece table and the open cabinet behind it that we keep going back to. both are laden with aromatherapy diffusers, soaps, handpoured and pillar candles proudly made in malaysia and bearing lifeshop’s own label. 

there are several pleasing scents to pick from, including the light and floral sea breeze, ultra soothing lavender sandalwood and the uplifting lemongrass sandalwood. there are also two sizes of fabric pouches to which you can add drops of your preferred essential oils and use to freshen up your car, room or cupboard. handmade by a housewife in ipoh, these are under lifeshop’s special 'love is giving' range and 100% of sales proceeds are donated to the malaysian red crescent society. shopping as giving – there should be more shops like this.

 

the lifeshop atelier 35g jalan pju 5/20e, the strand, kota damansara, pj, selangor  tel +603 6142 9396 opens 11am-10pm daily facebook

the one and only

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the name is unmistakably japanese – or so it’s easy to deduce of monoyono, but it’s really an acronym that stands for a mouthful: my one and only, your one and only. conceived by three friends as a retail outlet that offers whimsical, memorable collectibles that uplift and that even if you don’t buy anything, you come out of the store feeling a little different. monoyono certainly lives up to its aim.

warm, cosy and eclectic at a glance, as small as the outlet at vivo city is, it takes time to browse through as you’ll inevitably find yourself stopping at everything – in wonder, in amusement and in awe of the simple but brilliant ideas that creative minds come up with. take the series by the singapore heritage board, a mixed bag of small curios designed to reflect local culture and childhood fancies. the ‘five stones’ game set, for example, consists of five tiny bean bags shaped like bachang, complete with pink raffia string tying them together. there’s also the singlish notebook, hardcover plain paper books that carries footnotes on the bottom of each page, defining oft-used local colloquial words and phrases. among them, kenciong spider, which is also the inspiration for a line of wristwatches – comes in black and white models – with blank faces, except for an illustrated spider.

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the singaporeana range aside, monoyono’s other offerings are sourced from all parts of the world though mainly from the usa. we had a hard time choosing from the little prince range of stationery goods (in the end, we just couldn’t resist the the pop-up card); framed up meaningful sayings (‘life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain..’ won us over); if we could fit our rears into the seat we would most likely have bought the mini pink leather armchair. We found gift items for various occasions – ‘free babysitting session’ ticket, a pink and blue pair of humpty dumpties for new parents, wooden tags and buntings for a hen party.

monoyono 01-92 vivocity, harbourfront walk opens 11am-10.30pm tel +6534 8982 and b1-06 plaza singapura, orchard road opens 11am-10pm, mon-thu, sun & ph; 11am-10.30pm, fri-sat & ph eve; tel +6884 3551 www.monoyono.com / Facebook