Yes, you can still enjoy beautiful things – it's all about shopping with a conscience. We let you in on our favourite sustainable fashion brands 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 shopping for high-quality wardrobe essentials, it’s a struggle to resist the allure of commercial fashion and choose sustainable fashion brands.
Our inspiring interviews with Style Theory’s Raena Lim, Green is the New Black founder Stephanie Dickson, Mahima Gujral Wadhwa of Sui and Raye Padit of The Fashion Pulpit are real eye-openers about the part we all play in consumption, waste and pollution. Yes, we can still enjoy beautiful things. But the point is to think about what you’re putting your money towards, what you really need, and shop with a conscience. This means supporting sustainable fashion brands that aren’t just environmentally friendly, but ethical too.
Best sustainable fashion brands in Singapore
If your style tends toward bold prints, head-turning patterns and vibrant colours, OliveAnkara will sit high on your list. Deeply rooted in African culture and fashion, these pieces are a breath of fresh air. As everything is handmade, two pieces are never the same. OliveAnkara also abides by a strict #zerowaste philosophy, where every spare fabric is upcycled and used to make other items.
OliveAnkara, #01-02, 79 Chay Yan Street (opposite Plain Vanilla), Singapore 160079
We love a sleek bikini, so swimwear that’s stylish, functional and affordable is like music to our ears. Founder and designer Beckie Liu brought Singapore’s first surf-swimwear brand Haikini to life when she realised there was a gap in the industry. With these designs, you don’t have to worry about your bikini falling off the next time you hit the waves. All pieces are handmade in Bali by lovely Haikini mamas who are paid fair wages to support their households. Oh, and the adorable pouches that come with the swimwear are made with leftover fabric. *Squeals in delight.*
Haikini, available online
This brand champions traditional batik techniques. It works closely with textile artisans and expert craftsmen to bring you sustainable fashion pieces with a story. Select from a maxi dress or jumpsuit, or add character to your ensemble with a bag or clutch. Clothes aside, you can extend the eco-friendly lifestyle to your home with gorgeous cushion covers.
Gypsied, available online
Sui, which translates to ‘needle’ in Hindi, is dedicated to connecting the threads of nature with fashion. Besides its versatile collections, the sustainable fashion label also aims to create pieces with minimal impact on the planet. It also respects nature and the people who craft the clothing along the way. The use of recycled fabric, organic cotton, linen and tencel are perfect for our tropical weather, too.
Sui, available online
5. Ashepa Lifestyle
First of all, we have to thank Ashepa Lifestyle for introducing Afroluxe to Singapore. The person behind it all is Kenya-born, Singapore-based Chetna Bhatt. She collaborates with African artisans and makers to showcase their incredible skills to the world, in turn uplifting their lives and honouring age-old crafts. The result? Hand-painted ceramic jewellery, handwoven basket bags and unique homeware pieces for us!
Ashepa Lifestyle, available online and at multiple locations including Departures & Arrivals and Badger & Fox
The handcrafted statement earrings at Boheme are works of art with a selection of semi-precious stones such as agate, moonstone, rose quartz, onyx and mother of pearl. All designs are handcrafted by artisans from India, in a workshop in Jaipur. The brand is also actively involved with The Shanti Foundation, a charity organisation in Bali that provides scholarships for underprivileged children.
Boheme, available online
Aside from oh-so-comfy shoes (made with premium leather, flexible rubber soles and an ergonomic sports footbed), the local shoe brand also gives back. As part of its #buy1feed1 initiative, 10% of its profits are given to build sustainable communities, feed hungry children and support their growth.
Anothersole, available online and at multiple locations including Westgate and [email protected]
8. Wray Crafted
Partnering with artisanal communities in India, this homegrown label is ethical and low impact, going for timelessness in its designs. New collections are released throughout the year in collaboration with a women’s group in Udaipur that provides employment in the city and nearby villages. The brand’s design base is located directly alongside the community that produces its garments, and each drop is created in limited batches to reduce waste as much as possible. Only natural fabrics are used and scraps are repurposed for packaging, too. Look out for elements of mirror embroidery, Dabu painting and Bandhani, a tie-dye technique from India.
Wray Crafted, available online
9. By Invite Only
We’re no stranger to By Invite Only’s chic, minimalist and affordable jewellery. The brand works with factories that are members of the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI), a system that supports companies to encourage social compliance and improvements in the work environment. The biz has also eliminated plastic from its packaging, which gets a thumbs up from us!
By Invite Only, available online and at multiple locations including VivoCity and Wisma Atria
10. Canvas and Weaves
A brand that combines art with fashion, Canvas and Weaves is a platform that features mixed media, watercolour, charcoal and acrylic works alongside wearable art. Working with artists who love to experiment and push the boundaries, it looks away from trends and focuses instead on classy designs that are dramatic yet minimal. In its commitment to sustainability and the environment, it spotlights handcrafted dresses, jumpsuits and scarves made with organic materials by names like Shades of India, Moborr and AlterEgo.
Canvas and Weaves, available online
Founded by Susannah Jaffer, Zerrin is dedicated to building a community of shoppers who #shopmeaningfully. The 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
12. Eco Staples
Eco Staples was launched with the aim of providing a greener alternative to a wardrobe basic: the t-shirt. Its bamboo range of essential tees is comfortable, versatile and soft to the touch. The tees are also anti-bacterial and odour resistant, with UV protection and hypoallergenic properties. Plus, they come in easy-to-match colours like black, white and grey, with crew, scoop or v-neck options. So you can easily wear ’em to the gym or out for some weekend fun!
Eco Staples, available online
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 village girls. Its bling 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 and at #02-14, Wheelock Place, 501 Orchard Road, Singapore 238880
14. Source Collections
We’ll come out and say it right now: soft t-shirts make us go weak in the knees. So when we heard of a sustainable fashion brand that delivers this, we rejoiced! This under-the-radar brand ticks all the right boxes. Its tees are made with quality, sustainable fabrics and delivered in eco-friendly and plastic-free packaging. Best of all, it takes care of its workers, offering excellent working conditions.
Source Collections, available online and at multiple locations including Nana & Bird and Perk by Kate
Okay, this one’s not fashion, but hear us out. 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 only having a 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 fibres. And with all that time spent rolling around in your sheets, it’s always good to know you’re not getting cosy with toxic pesticides. Sojao’s sheets are treated with low impact dyes, without formaldehyde resin or toxic chemical fabric finishes.
Sojao, available online
Mark our words, local womenswear label Esse is one to watch. Born out of a desire to redefine “disposable” mindsets towards fashion, the brand delivers quality classics made of sustainable fabrics like tencel, bamboo and 100% organic cotton. Esse prioritises knowing and respecting its partners, with regular visits to the seamstresses at its factories in Ho Chi Minh. Design-wise, we love how it combines clean silhouettes with neutrals.
Esse, available online
We’ve heard of ethical beauty, fashion and even food, but sneakers? That’s a first. At Veja, shoes are crafted in Brazil and feature only sustainable materials. Soles are made with natural rubber from the Amazon, while everything else is made with vegetable-tanned leather and ecological cotton. Best of all? The shoes are sleek and minimal, and will fit right in with the rest of your sneaker rack.
Veja, available at Zalora
Everything in Zhai’s collections is 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 moisture-wicking abilities and air permeability. Here, you’ll find everyday basics such as flare pants, maxi dresses and cardigans.
Zhai, available online and at The Green Collective
Eco-friendly since 2009, Etrican doles out sustainable threads produced in a GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified factory in Tiripur, India. All its apparel is made with organic cotton and kept at wallet-friendly prices. Think everyday casual wear like loose maxis and printed, short flirty dresses for the weekend.
Etrican, available online
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 line-up features long dresses, sarongs and cover-ups. These are handcrafted by artisans of Ladli at a vocational centre called i-india in Jaipur, using ancient fabric-making techniques.
Baliza, available online and at multiple locations including Zerrin and Design Orchard
21. 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 its designs are made without the use of glues and chemical sprays. Instead, eco-friendly resources are used.
Heads of State, available online
We’re feeling all inspired to live eco-consciously, thanks to these sustainable fashion brands in Singapore. How about you?