Whether you’re searching for replacement staples or just dying for some retail therapy, put your dollars into ethical, eco-conscious labels for a guilt-free shopping spree.
Not only will you get your money’s worth, but you’ll also get to savour a swanky wardrobe for a long time to come.
With fast fashion, on the other hand, you’re likely to be paying more for lower quality threads. Not to mention, you’d be contributing to the death of the planet and the exploitation of underpaid, overwork factory employees – a major fashion, humanitarian, and environmental faux pas.
Here are the trendiest ethical clothing brands for you to explore instead.
Load up on your basics – that is, your essential plain white tee – at local label Source Collections. V-neck and crew neck shirts for men are available in grey, black and white, while the ladies get to enjoy a greater variety of neutral-coloured tank tops and cap sleeve shirts. Made with organic cotton and Tencel (a natural, biodegradable fibre), these shirts feel appealingly soft to the touch as well.
They come from a factory in China where the employees are well taken care of, and go out in plastic-free packaging. On top of that, Source Collections makes a point of being transparent about what you’re paying for, breaking down the price of each product into its components from labour to transport.
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Where to buy Source Collections
Shop online here (free shipping for purchases above $60).
For a little more colour and variety, Matter offers a wide gamut of garments, ranging from jumpsuits to dresses. Each textile, print and design comes with a story and heritage tied to the traditional artisan communities that craft them. The Singapore-based retailer also seeks to minimise textile waste with a unique, eco-conscious manufacturing process, where any leftover fabrics are repurposed into children’s clothes. They’re also strong advocates of female and community empowerment.
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Most of the artisan partners we work with are small family businesses embedded in a community whose identity, culture and geography revolve around a particular craft. Meaning every household is part and parcel of a wider cultural ecosystem, and the craft is a whole family affair. Often times, the perception is that craft is generationally passed down to men as a means of livelihood, a continuation of traditional gender roles. In our visits, we’ve come to see that it is an incomplete story. From the women like K Haritha who learned to handloom as a way to support her family, Arunea who prepares the yarn by marking out the mathematical and complex graph of motifs, to the women like Vijayalakshmi who selects and buys the dye powder for the whole village and distributes them to various clusters – craft is shared just as much with the women as it is to the men. At the heart of it, the continuation of traditional skills is a community effort, and we wanted to celebrate that today. Happy International Women’s Day, from our community to yours.
Matter’s line of dhoti-inspired pants, which are worn wrapped around the waist, are particularly chic yet comfy. Featuring a funky Iching print, the silk Sideswept Dhoti in teal is perfect for a girls’ night out. The Daka Jungle jumpsuit is a playful, yet restrained number that can be worn day and night. Pair it with a blazer for an office-ready look.
Where to buy Matter
Address: Tangs, 310 Orchard Road, Singapore 238864
Opening hours: 10.30am to 9.30pm (Monday to Saturday), 11am to 8.30pm (Sundays)
Alternatively, shop online here (free shipping for purchases above $100).
An Emma Watson-approved French footwear label, Veja is known for making its sleek sneakers with sustainable materials such as recycled plastic bottles, organic cotton, tilapia skin and leather tanned with plant extracts.
Manufactured in Brazil, these sturdy kicks also feature natural rubber soles sourced from the Amazon rainforest. While the V-10 B-Mesh Sneakers are a favourite of the former on-screen witch, Veja’s Esplar trainers boast a simpler, minimalist silhouette.
Where to buy Veja
Address: Small, #03-08 Tanglin Mall, 163 Tanglin Road, Singapore 247933
Opening hours: 10am to 8pm (Daily)
Heads of State Millinery
Launched by Chee Sau Fen, Heads of State Millinery is a home-grown hatter’s wonderland with a catalogue of whimsical, high-end headpieces such as its archery-inspired “Kyu – Beautiful Bow” collection and its vintage-style Vanguard pillboxes.
Handwoven from abaca fibres (which are collected by women from the Daraghuyan Bukidnon tribe in the Philippines), each hat is carefully crafted by 14 housewives in Cebu, the founder (a self-taught hat-maker), and her two assistants.
Every step of the process respects the planet and the artisans. By offering employment opportunities to the rural minority community, the label aims to empower them as well.
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#Repost @skillsfuturesg • • • “Right now, I see myself as a designer-educator. I design headwear for my own fashion brand, and do design work for other brands and businesses as well. The educator part is equally important to me. It took me a long time to accumulate my knowledge and skills, and I feel it’s my duty to pass that on. So, I’m a part-time lecturer at LASALLE College of the Arts, and teach at schools too, including Raffles Junior College, my alma mater. The SkillsFuture Fellowship Award was very helpful, even before I applied for it. Just filling out the application made me reflect on my journey, what I’ve learned, and where I want to go in the future. That process made me realise that I wanted to do more to improve people’s lives through design. So, I reoriented my entire practice to focus on designing with and for the community, not just for consumers. It led me to work with social enterprises and community organisations, like eldercare centres, to improve our living environment with collaborative design. Winning the award was a great feeling, but it was writing the application itself that changed my life. I think the award is very important for Singapore. It’s about time we recognised that there can be many different paths to success depending on individuals, their circumstances, and their professions. To have an award that recognises these individual journeys of ordinary people, whichever field they may be in and however unconventional their paths may be-it’s really incredible.” A self-taught designer with over 15 years of experience, Chee Sau Fen is the Designer and Founder of Heads of State Millinery, and an innovator who combines traditional craft with radical approaches to create modern and sustainable designs. She is also a committed mentor, teaching at LASALLE College of the Arts and other schools. Are you a master of skills in your industry, and have a willingness to mentor others and share your expertise? Apply for the SkillsFuture Fellowships 2018 now. #lifelonglearning #chaseyourpassion #chaseyourdreams #skills #skillsfuture#inspiration #neverstoplearning #learning #skillsfuturestory #nevergiveup#teacher #teaching #teacherlife
Where to buy Heads of State Millinery
Address: The Emporium, #02-22 Tanglin Mall, 163 Tanglin Road, Singapore 247933
Opening hours: 10.30am to 8.30pm (Daily)
Weighing in at only 280g, Anothersole shoes are the perfect travel companion that boasts incredible durability, gentle comfort, and effortless style. Their e-commerce model claims to operate on a very lean cost model, meaning that they try to do as much as possible in-house and deal directly with producers, so they can save on middlemen costs.
What you get are premium-quality leather shoes stitched directly onto soft flexi-rubber soles – and the knowledge that 10% of the company’s profits will go toward feeding hungry children, building sustainable communities, and supporting their growth.
Where to buy Anothersole
Shop online here (free international shipping and returns).
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