In an industry largely dominated by fast fashion, it can be quite a hunt for the ethical consumer to navigate their way towards more sustainable, socially-conscious brands. Everywhere you turn, the blinding lights starkly illuminating stores of fast fashion brands like H&M and Topshop line the streets, one after the other. Singapore’s Orchard Road is a perfect example of this global influence by the world of fast fashion.
What then is available for a consumer when they make the decision to go the sustainable route in their fashion purchases?
5 Ethical Singaporean Fashion Brands to Know
Fortunately, residing in this island, where international fast fashion brands abound, doesn’t mean you cannot be sustainable at the same time. Sustainability and style go perfectly hand-in-hand, as displayed by these five local ethical fashion brands:
If you’re looking for summer clothing that is comfortable enough to wear under the sun but still allows you to look elegant and chic, Baliza is your one-stop shop. Baliza is an ethical, resort-wear brand designed with the goal to help women and children who are living in poverty. After getting to know about Ladli, a vocational training programme located in Jaipur, India that serves to provide a safehaven for children who are living in poverty, have gone through abuse or been orphaned, Gema Santander started Baliza in 2012 to do her part for the organisation. At Baliza, every item is made of fabric that has been sourced in Jaipur. In addition, the brand adopts the traditional techniques of beading, embroidery and block printing to design their garments. They employ the women artisans at Ladli, thus allowing the women to learn these techniques and offering them the opportunity to earn a living.
Minimalist fashionistas who are also conscious of the sustainability and ethics of their clothes will love local brand, Esse. Founded by Alicia Tsi, Esse was created out of Tsi’s desire to inspire a change in the way consumers view their fashion purchases, and helping them to look beyond the mere physical aspects of a garment and to spare a thought for its life cycle instead. Have a browse through Esse’s online store and you’ll notice a minimalist approach to each item, which speaks to Tsi’s desire of creating garments that will stand the test of time. Esse uses sustainable materials in the production of their garments, including bamboo, tencel and 100% organic cotton. The best part about their use of these materials? They make use of the excess supply of fabrics from other designers, thus preventing these extra fabrics from being sent to the landfill.
Do you have a penchant for the bohemian and love to channel your inner Janis Joplin or Stevie Nicks? Then look no further for your fashion purchases then KALAIA. The brainchild of Coco Mercy C., KALAIA was borne out of Mercy’s desire for luxurious bohemian-style garments that are high in quality and have the versatility to bring the wearer from day to night, no matter the occasion. Each garment designed by KALAIA is meant to suit different styles and can be paired with various other clothing pieces to create a range of outfits. For KALAIA’s debut collection, To Anywhere, Mercy designed each piece based on her love for travelling, pulling inspiration from the different elements in nature, from the sun to the ocean. From kimonos to kaftans, there is always something from KALAIA to satisfy your bohemian spirit.
Founded by Renyung Ho, MATTER Prints is a socially-conscious fashion brand with a heavy focus on textile art. They emphasise on the importance of creating relationships with artisans from all over the globe to produce beautiful pieces that are not only stylish, but also have the ability to last through the seasons. Every textile art print used in each garment originates from an already existing motif from a particular time and place, thereby providing the garment with a unique story behind its creation. MATTER Prints initially began with just one type of product — pants — which has allowed the brand to solely focus on delivering the highest quality product to their customer. This means working closely with the artisans, sourcing sustainable fabrics, and making sure every possible need of their customer has been met in the final product. With a range that has expanded over the years to include dresses, jumpsuits and even accessories like bags and scarves, MATTER Prints is no doubt a brand to add to your shopping list.
If what you’re looking to add to your wardrobe is a couple of high quality, well-made t-shirts that will stay with you throughout the years, then Source Collections is the brand you need to look out for. Despite not having any formal training in the fashion industry, Source Collections’ founder Vincent Ooi has managed to create a successful sustainable clothing line comprising of basic garments in an industry dominated by fast fashion. Not only that, Ooi advocates for total transparency in his brand — a quick browse through Source Collections’ online store and you’ll notice that each piece is accompanied by detailed information on the true cost of each garment, from the cost of fabric to labour to transport. Thus, when you purchase a garment from the brand, you’ll know exactly what you’re paying for, allowing you to truly appreciate the production of each piece that goes into your wardrobe.