SNEAKER ARTIST, STREETWEAR DESIGNER
With a dedicated following of sneaker collectors both locally and abroad, Mark channels punk’s unbridled spirit in his shoe customisations and streetwear designs. Inspired by his painter father and the rebellious nature of punk rock, a young Mark spent countless evenings sketching cartoons of the 1990s in his science textbooks.
He spent the days of his youth skateboarding at the Padang, an activity that still influences his iconic designs. In 2002, he sold his first pair of customised Nikes online, a sale that kick-started his journey as a pioneer in the field of sneaker design. Since then, Mark’s home-grown label—SBTG—has attracted the attention of international celebrities like Kobe Bryant.
Mark’s passion for design stems from the tough lessons he learnt while picking up skateboarding. “Skateboarding is a brutal teacher,” he shares. “To land a trick, you first learn how to fall.” This determination to forge his own life path inspired him to buck societal expectations, and turn his passion for design into a career. The tenets of freedom that underlies punk and skateboarding still inspire him to this day: “Growing up in the 1980s, everybody wanted to be a lawyer or a doctor, but I’ve always had an anti-establishment attitude. Skateboarding taught me how to think independently.”
From fusion cuisine that mirrors his iconic design style, to skateboarding routes that influenced his mindset as a young designer, Mark invites you to explore the city that inspires him.
“Skateboarding forces you to be more alert to the world around you,” Mark shares. Under the Helix Bridge at Marina Bay Sands?—where he makes a point to skate every Saturday—he mindfully navigates the urban terrain. It is this dynamic perspective that defines him and his works.
When he needs to fuel up for new escapades, Mark heads to Lokkee. Like his designs, the establishment’s menu blends Eastern and Western influences. “Lokkee presents itself differently: It’s not just that the ingredients are fresher. It’s definitely more innovative than standard Chinese food.”
Over the years, SBTG has expanded to include apparel, leather products and industry collaborations. To see the fruits of Mark’s pioneering labour, visit Limited Edt Store at Marina Bay Sands?. “I feel a responsibility to show the next generation that you can be an independent artist,” he shares.
Before he became known as Mr ‘SBTG’, Mark spent his youth exploring new skateboarding routes in the heart of the city. The route from the Supreme Court to the Padang is one he remembers fondly. “That whole route and journey is my playground,” he shares. “Every single time I go there it inspires me.”
Follow street-inspired designer Mark Ong as he navigates Singapore’s urban landscape, zipping through iconic landmarks and dining hotspots.
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