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Stories from Style

Your Guide to Sustainable Shopping in Singapore

by Voices Wellness 09 Feb 2021

Ethically sourced and eco-friendly fashion that makes you look and feel good. By LYDIA KWON.

You’re probably aware of the world’s ongoing battle against growing waste. While most people are aware of toxic and plastic waste, along with the dangers they pose to our environment, there’s a major cause of pollution hiding in the depths of our wardrobes. Statistics show that textile waste output, second to only oil, is one of the largest polluters on earth.

Not only is the clothing industry responsible for 13 million tons of textile waste a year globally, they also contribute to around 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions due to its long supply chain and energy intensive production, according to this report.

Closer to home, the number of clothes bought yearly by Singaporeans has grown 60 percent from 2000 to 2014— yet a study found that half of what’s in people’s closets today were purchased only in the past six months. What this means is that people are buying and disposing more than ever. 

While we have fast fashion to blame, let’s not forget that there’s no smoke without fire and no supply without demand. Perhaps there’s no better time than the upcoming Lunar New Year to rethink our fashion choices. Even though it’s an age-old tradition to wear new garb for the festivities, you can save the environment by opting for sustainable options—from eco-friendly labels to brands that upcycle and repurpose textiles which would otherwise become waste. Alternatively, choose to rent, swap, or buy preloved clothing that have plenty of wear left. The best part? You get to constantly refresh your wardrobe while saving money.

Choose eco-friendly labels

This homegrown clothing label has committed to sustainability by utilising textiles that cause little environmental impact and dying their styles with natural, non-toxic pigments derived from plant-based materials. Thankfully, building an ethical clothing ecosystem doesn’t take away from the beauty of these outfits. Expect easy-to-match looks including crop tops and shorts made from Tencel Lyocell, a biodegradable and compostable material.

More information here.

Mind The Label

Mind The Label is a popular homegrown brand that prides itself on ethical practices. They commit to fair wage practices when working with small communities in Denpasar, Indonesia to produce 100 percent environmentally friendly clothing. Aside from using biodegradable materials, they also make effort to reduce carbon footprint, which makes them extra easy to love. It doesn’t hurt that their clothing, from backless dresses to cute rompers, look good too.

More information here.

Wear upcycled clothing


The brand name is taken from the Latin words meaning “existence” or “to be”. This is interpreted by Esse as an invitation to look inwards and to be aware and discerning. Apart from using eco-friendly materials like Tencel and organic bamboo, the label upcycles surplus textiles that are no longer of use to other fashion brands and fabric houses, using them to create a beautiful range of designs, including loungewear and everyday clothing. 

More information here.

To Tie For 

To Tie For isn’t a clothing brand, but they make great statement headpieces recycled from vintage neckties to spice up any outfit. Complete your #OOTD this Lunar New Year with bright and cheery pieces befitting of the festivities. 

More information here.

Rent, buy, or swap preloved clothing

Rent: Style Theory

Style Theory lists over 40,000 trendy designs from renowned labels like Cameo, Finders Keepers, and Bec+Bridge, all available for rent through monthly subscription plans that range from $59 to $179, depending on how many outfits you need. Shoppers can access the rental service through both its website and a dedicated app, which allows for easy selection, as well as arrangement of pick-up and return. Hygiene is ensured as all worn clothes are professionally cleaned before being sent out to new users. Bonus: They also have a similar rental system for designer handbags.

More information here.

Buy: Refash

Refash is your go-to if you’re looking to purchase second-hand clothing that would have otherwise been trashed. Just because their previous owners have grown tired of them, doesn’t mean these clothes aren’t wearable––they’re trendy, affordable, and vetted for their condition. This service makes a great option if you’re on a budget and planning to commit to sustainable fashion. If you have outfits you just don’t love anymore, don’t put them in the can––just send them to Refash for a few extra dollars. 

More information here.

Swap: Swapaholic 

Swapaholic is another platform for users to pass on their old clothing to new owners, in exchange for clothes they’d like to own. Like Style Theory, Swapaholic works on a subscription basis and each escalating membership tier allows you to swap a higher number of items monthly. 

More information here.

Whichever method you prefer, one thing’s clear: We can all play our part in reducing textile waste—when we choose sustainable fashion, we choose to save the planet.


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