"While Prada’s novelty minaudiere from the Fall/Winter 2020 collection might cost considerably above what most would find “pocket-friendly”, Bagaholicboy points out that there will always be a set of customers who would be willing to pay for a design like it, what with its unique shape, clever design (it conceals a mirror) and fun factor. Satin and metal minaudiere, price unavailable, Prada"
DON’T BE INTIMIDATED BY THE CONCEPT OF SUSTAINABILITY...
“I’d define sustainability simply as something to be done right now. I know sustainability feels like a huge concept and there’s this perception that we’re doing it to ensure a world for the future, but there are things we should – and can – already be doing now to raise awareness. It’s really to ensure that we answer to the consequences of the opacity of the fashion supply chains and be responsible for these consequences. There’s this definition of sustainability put across by this US-based foundation called the Slow Factory Foundation. It says that sustainability happens when everything returns to earth either as food or poison and I think that really encapsulates the movement. In fashion, whatever goes into and comes out of the supply chain should be regenerative and useful, and not harmful to the environment or to humans.”
...OR ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCATES IN FASHION
“I think a lot of people think that environmental advocates take fashion too seriously... We’re seen as some sort of moral police and people feel guilt-tripped, but the truth is that I don’t care what you buy or who you buy from. As long as you know that there is an issue, that’s half the job done. It’s also not that I personally don’t like the industry. In fact I care because I like it very much. I just want a different system and to reimagine other possibilities so that future generations can enjoy fashion the way we do now.”
“Changing the way fashion’s supply chain works is a really big thing for consumers to take on. If we were to draw a parallel to the food industry, the most we as consumers can do is to read labels – in fashion, it means seeing where a product was manufactured and what materials it’s made with. And if you’re a really conscious consumer, you do your own research and see what your own priorities are. Right now, I would say that most people would not have the capacity to care about the whole fashion ecosystem and a good way to start would be to try and focus on a particular area within the overarching umbrella of sustainability. For example, try asking yourself if you are very concerned about the environment in the first place and why you are intending to become more sustainable, then expand from there. It can get very overwhelming and depressing when you try to take in too much information at once.”
IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT BUYING ‘RIGHT’
“I feel like whenever the conversation turns to this topic, it’s always about where and what to buy from; what brands should one buy in order to be sustainable. It’s always about buying, but the important thing is to move away from that transactional mindset. If you ask me, I’d like to see a conscious shift away from consumption or at least consuming new products all the time; to move away from overbuying and overconsuming. It’s very easy to become daunted and overwhelmed when you start educating yourself on this huge topic, but this shift from overconsumption – done by re-evaluating your relationship with your wardrobe – is something within consumers’ control. First, assess whether your existing wardrobe can be revamped. Can you style a piece you already have in a different way? Can you swop it for something else instead? I think that’s more important and a lot more environmentally conscious than googling, say, ‘best sustainable brands in Singapore’. Of course, if you want to take things further, you can do so by pushing for systemic change – writing to companies, government boards and so on – but I am fully aware that not everyone has the capacity and time for that.”
“If you decide to throw everything away and buy a brand new wardrobe filled with sustainable brands, ultimately that’s not sustainable. Another tip to doing your part to be sustainable is to research the most suitable places to donate your clothes once you’re done re-evaluating your wardrobe. Not every secondhand shop accepts everything, which would also mean that passing on what you’re decluttering to them is really just opting for the easiest way out. It’s the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality, especially with regard to the production of clothes because we don’t see the process for ourselves.”
FIND MEANING IN YOUR WARDROBE
“What we can also do as consumers is to form a relationship with the clothes that we already have so that we don’t feel like we need to fill this void with new ones, which is essentially what drives consumerism. Alternatively we can still shop, but much more selectively with a less-but-better mindset and supporting small, independent labels and designers while at it. Even if these labels don’t explicitly set out to be sustainable, their scale of production in comparison to that of big international labels is by default more sustainable considering their much smaller business models, relationship with suppliers and customers, and so on. It’s also about thinking beyond clothing’s aesthetic value and looking at the emotional value and memories attached to them not only from your own perspective, but also that of the people who made them. From an outsider’s point of view though, the predominant narrative around fashion in Singapore is still very much about commerce; fashion as industry and not so much culture and before we can even move on to asking who made our clothes and how they’re made, we need to rethink what fashion means to us now. I am aware however that’s not on everyone’s mind, which is fair enough because we all have different priorities.”
IT’S OKAY TO NOT ALWAYS BE SUSTAINABLY OKAY
“Sustainability is a spectrum. There are so many things to talk about, which is why I understand that it can seem intimidating for anyone who wants to step into it. It can seem like an all-or-nothing situation, but it doesn’t have to be. You can definitely take baby steps, but eventually the best way is to read up and research. It’s also important to keep in mind that it’s not a me-against-you situation. It’s us against the system. We’re basically up against conglomerates and billionaires so we shouldn’t be policing each other. We should be a lot more forgiving and not so myopic... It has to be a collaborative process among many players in the system. At the end of the day, it’s not just the consumers’ responsibility. Yes, you can have all the awareness, but until the government steps in to change existing laws and policies, there’s only so much we as consumers can do.”