Yes you can still enjoy beautiful things: it's all about shopping with a conscience. We let you in on our favourite ethical and environmentally friendly fashion in Singapore.
We know how difficult it is to kick a high-street shopping habit. As hard as we try to reduce waste by renting clothes and only shopping for high-quality wardrobe essentials, it’s a struggle to resist the allure of high street stores or the highly addictive Taobao rabbit hole – I know this struggle firsthand, and have detailed my attempt to quit shopping here.
Our inspiring interview with Green is the New Black founder Stephanie Dickson was a real eye-opener about the part we all play in consumption, waste and pollution. Yes we can still enjoy beautiful things: the point is to think about what you’re putting your money towards, what you really need and to shop with a conscience – this means supporting brands that aren’t just environmentally friendly, but ethical too.
If you’re new to MATTER, here’s what you need to know: it champions connected clothing – essentially knowing where something is made, and by whom. All of its items boast story and soul; its heritage-based fabrics are crafted by artisans in India, then finished off in a fair trade factory, where garment construction is the speciality. The brand even boasts an organic cotton line of breezy, yet structured pants, as well as ones made from biodegradable fabrics. You’ll see quite a few pairs of MATTER pants around Honeycombers HQ – it’s one of our go-to brands, and absolutely worth the investment.
MATTER, available online.
Founded by editor Susannah Jaffer, Zerrin is dedicated to building a community of shoppers who #shopmeaningfully. The new one-stop shop for all things ethical is home to a variety of eco-conscious and socially responsible fairtrade jewellery lines and handmade clothing. It’s even got some of Singapore’s best organic beauty brands in stock, including Frank Skincare and Biconi.
Zerrin, available online.
We’ll come out and say it right now: soft t-shirts make us go week in the knees. So when we heard of a sustainable fashion brand which delivers these, we rejoiced! Under-the-radar Source Collections ticks all the right boxes – its t-shirts are made with quality, sustainable fabrics and are delivered in eco-friendly and plastic-free packaging. Best of all, it takes care of its workers, with excellent working conditions. The Honeycombers team got to play with the Source Collection range, and it’s safe to say we’ve found the perfect t-shirt here.
Source Collections, available online.
Bed linens aren’t the first thing you’ll think of when you hear the word ‘sustainable’, which is why we applaud local brand Sojao’s championing of its 100% organic cotton sheets. Think the higher the thread count, the better? Sojao proves you wrong. These sheets are seriously soft, despite being only 300 thread count. The secret is in the thread used – they’re made of single-ply yarn spun from long-staple (the shorter they are, the rougher they are) cotton fibers. And with all that time spent rolling around in your sheets, it’s always good to know that you’re not getting cosy with toxic pesticides. Sojao’s sheets are treated with low impact dyes, and without formaldehyde resin and toxic chemical fabric finishes.
Sojao, available online.
The first subscription-based men’s underwear brand in Asia is now available in Singapore, and we were the lucky ones who got to experience it first. Bundies undies are unbelievably soft, as they’re made with high quality sustainable certified fabrics like 100% organic cotton and Lenzing Modal, which is harvested from sustainable beechwood forestry plantations in Europe and proven to be twice as soft as cotton. Three styles are available: knitted trunks, knitted boxers and woven boxers. Whatever you pick, comfort is king. The knitted trunks, for instance, have a no-roll waistband, and fabric that does not ride up your legs.
Bundies, available online.
And now one for the girls: new local label Terie has delivered the perfect bralette (Honeycombers ed Selina rates them as the best she’s ever bought). Made from organic bamboo so it’s breathable and super soft (and made with a smaller environmental footprint); wireless for comfort and in several shades of nude for women with different skin tones, Terie is making ticking all the right boxes for us. And we have to applaud that the brand features real women with different body types in its campaigns, which we absolutely love. We found the Terie at a pop-up market, but you can also stock up from our friends at the WYLD Shop.
Terie on Facebook.
Mark our words, local womanswear label Esse is one to watch. Born out of a desire to redefine “disposable” mindsets towards fashion, the brand delivers quality classics made of more sustainable fabrics like tencel, bamboo and 100% organic cotton. Esse prioritises knowing and respecting its partners, with regular visits to its seamstress at its factories in Ho Chi Minh. Design-wise, we love that it combines clean silhouettes with neutrals.
Esse, available online.
We love how dedicated Icelandic jewellery brand Twin Within is to its cause; all of its pieces are handmade by mothers in need, as part of its partnership with the FOCOLARE organisation, located in the hills of Tagaytay in the Philippines. Based in Singapore, its current featured collection melds elegant designs with utilitarian materials.
Twin Within, available online.
We’ve heard of ethical beauty, fashion, and even food, but sneakers? That’s a first. At Veja, all of its shoes are crafted in Brazil, and made with only sustainable materials – its soles are made with natural rubber from the Amazon, while everything else is made with vegetable-tanned leather and ecological cotton. Perhaps best of all? They’re sleek and minimal, and will fit right in with the rest of your sneaker rack.
Veja, Small Boutique, #03-08, Tanglin Mall, 163 Tanglin Road, Singapore 247933
An homage to ‘modern bohemianism’, Kalaia Label offers quality, understated clothing ethically made on our Singapore shores. Fabrics are sourced from ready stocks to avoid large-scale re-productions. And if you’re worried about wastage, fret not, as leftover fabrics and products are upcycled into new ones. We love the beach-ready designs, particularly ones from the Holiday collection – it features head-turning white maxis which won’t look out of place at brunches and beaches.
Kalaia Label, available online.
Everything in Zhai’s collections are made with natural fibres like bamboo and flax-made linen. But both fabrics aren’t just great for the environment– they’re also perfect for your skin, providing relief from Singapore’s hot weather thanks to its moisture-wicking abilities and air permeability. Here, you’ll find everyday basics of flare pants, maxi dresses and cardigans.
Zhai, #02-26, Tanglin Mall, 163 Tanglin Road, Singapore 247933
Not to be confused with the club, volunteer-run Baliza makes socially conscious beachwear inspired by chic resortwear often seen in Bali and Ibiza’s beaches. Its clothing lineup – made up of long dresses, sarongs and cover ups – is entirely handcrafted by artisans of Ladli, a vocational centre called i-india in Jaipur, using ancient fabric making techniques.
Baliza, available online.
Eco-friendly since 2009, Etrican doles out sustainable threads produced in a GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified factory in Tiripur, India. All apparel here is made with organic cotton, and are kept at wallet-friendly prices. Think everyday casual wear of loose maxis and printed, short flirty dresses for the weekend.
Etrican, avaialable online.
Heads of State
If it’s a show-stopping hat you seek, you’ll love Heads of State – the brand delivers luxurious hats that are bold, loud, and more importantly, sustainable. All of its designs are made without the use of glues, chemical sprays and with eco-friendly resources.
Heads of State, available at various stockists.
Jewellery with a conscience? We’re sold. Travel-inspired Tessellate.Co works with Fair Trade artisans and commits to empowering underprivileged girls with education. For every item sold, the boutique donates a dollar to Fior Di Loto, a non-profit organisation in India that improves the lives of over 500 village girls. Bling here is nothing less than stunning, with designs inspired by Southeast Asia’s traditional jewellery. Our picks include the 925 Silver rings from the Bold and Dare collection, and Vera pendant necklaces made with labradorite.
Tessellate.Co, available online.