Launch date: August 1, 2020
Category: Sustainable fashion search engine
Here’s what you need to know:
“We cannot wear clothing or earn profits on a dead planet, so sustainability is actually now key to business longevity,” says Chu Wong, founder of Shop Bettr, a sustainable fashion search engine that helps consumers find sustainable alternatives to their shopping needs.
Wong says sustainability is now something most consumers take seriously and even in the midst of a global pandemic, she has noticed an increased awareness from people.
Shop Bettr, Asia’s first search platform for sustainable fashion curates items from brand partners that create ethical and eco-friendly products.
The startup, which now has a community that includes the entire APAC region, has partnered with brands that only use certified organic cotton, low-resource bast fibres and biodegradable fibres made from closed-loop technologies, deadstock fabric, and upcycled materials among others.
“We’re incredibly excited about fabric technologies and are constantly in conversation with our brand partners to make sure we avail of the latest technologies in the space whenever possible,” Wong says.
Since the launch of Shop Bettr, Wong and her team noticed that 11 per cent of their users have converted or have proceeded to their brand partners’ pages to purchase what they need.
But according to Wong, it is impossible to be a 100 per cent sustainable business, especially in the fashion industry, where there’s a perennial issue of overstocking and creating any new product means extracting resources for something that already exists in abundance.
“But instead of seeing this as a deadend, we prefer to find creative solutions to the problem,” she says. “How can businesses produce and consumption be done within planetary boundaries? Are carbon offsets of the greenhouse gases generated through a company’s operations the best choice, or are there ways we can explore decreasing emissions first before looking to offsets?”
“While we applaud companies that offset their carbon emissions to be ‘carbon neutral’, we believe that this is not the magic pill and the first step to being carbon neutral is to reduce carbon emissions,” she adds.
Founder: Monica Millington
Launch date: August 2020
Category: Premium menswear label
Here’s what you need to know:
The recently launched menswear label Tropick is getting ready to introduce an entire eco-friendly range that will be made with organic natural materials and over 90 per cent recycled materials.
“With news exposing broken supply chains and wasteful business practices throughout the fashion industry, I wanted to take a stand and challenge the status quo with the new brand,” says Tropick founder Monica Millington.
“Tropick drops new designs one at a time in limited quantities to preserve resources and avoid waste,” Millington says. “Our mission is to create a man’s essential wardrobe, bringing to market versatile pieces our market has a genuine need for.”
By shifting the focus from temporary trends to enduring essentials, Millington said they are encouraging consumers to buy more responsibly.
“We plan to continue learning, growing, and adapting when necessary to be successful with our green mission,” she said.
According to Millington, it took her and her team six months to find the right materials for their label which happens to be a synthetic blend like most athletic wear. Tropick’s first drop, the ‘No Sweat Shirt’, retailing at SGD$198, borrows technology and performance attributes of athletic wear and applies it to traditional men’s fashion. The shirts are crafted from a carefully balanced blend of nylon and elastane.
“To provide a performance material that does the job and still looks good as a dress shirt was no easy task,” Millington explains.
In the next 12 months, Tropick will be growing its product offering to include the performance range, loungewear line and the eco-friendly essentials.
Although Tropick was launched as an online, direct-to-consumer business, the team has been exploring strategic partnerships with bricks-and-mortar retailers to provide a space for their customers to try on their brand before buying.
“We have just secured our first partnership with Singapore retailer, What Women Want,” Millington says. “Historically a womenswear boutique, the owner has recognised an opportunity to provide a shopping experience for the men that are accompanying her typical clientele in the store, and that’s where Tropick steps in.”
As an effort to give back, Tropick is a member of 1 per cent For the Planet with proceeds benefiting beach and ocean conservation.
“This is a mission close to my heart,” Millington says.
Founders: Aloysius Sng, Vanessa Ho and Marcus Goh
Launch date: September 2020 (soft launch)
Category: Rental subscription service for women’s clothes in Singapore
Here’s what you need to know:
Prolonging the lifespan of women’s clothing and providing unlimited wardrobe choices are the main goals of Evrywear.
“We observed that a severe source of cost and wastage from traditional rental models or purchase models was from unpopular or stale inventory that may have arisen from overproduction or shifts in fashion trends,” said the founders of Evrywear Aloysius Sng, Vanessa Ho and Marcus Goh. “Thus we aim to utilise the existing resource of pre-loved clothing to ensure each garment has had a complete lifespan from cradle to grave.”
According to the founders, to combat the mass purchase nature of fast fashion in recent years, they have come up with a business model that encourages sharing.
“We want to prolong the lifespan of an individual piece of clothing through multiple rentals and multiple users, and close the loop with the sale of the garment or recycling of the fabric of damaged garments,” Sng says.
With sufficient traction, the business’ aim is to grow their inventory in order to support a larger customer base through purchase of more stock, or partnership with local brands.
It was initially the business’ aim to have a physical store but due to Covid, plans changed and the focus shifted solely online.
Unfortunately, it has been a challenge to encourage the rental and sharing of clothes to consumers who are used to purchasing items and individual ownership, so quality control, hygiene protocols and transparency are key.