We love fashion. But it’s also one of the largest polluting industries in the world. From fast fashion brands releasing 52 micro collections a year (most of which ending up in landfills) to the practice of amortisation of assets by luxury brands, and water pollution from fabric dyeing, it’s hard to look the other way. Fortunately, today’s consumers are making educated choices and are opting for sustainable fashion alternatives—and the fashion industry is finally listening. And you’d be surprised to find that the ones responding to that change, slowly but surely, are sustainable fashion brands based in Asia. Here are our top 8 sustainable fashion brands in Asia for when you’re thinking of making your next purchase.
- 1. Lantern Sense
Trevor Ng and Lala Yang founded Lantern Sense in Hong Kong in 2014. Their mutual love of philosophy, digital painting and photography birthed a contemporary womenswear label featuring “clean and refined cuts, interesting prints and a simplistic modernity”. Their collection is reminiscent of Raf Simons’ first couture collection for Dior meets the dainty eccentricity of Marc Jacobs. The unique prints on sophisticated silhouettes speak to the designers tailoring skills and refined palette for fashion, which make for an understated yet fun aesthetic that any woman can appreciate. And the fact that they only use sustainable luxury fabrics for their collections is the cherry on top. Whether you’re into sustainable fashion or not, we highly recommend checking them out.
Lantern Sense is available on their website.
2. A.C.F Clothing
A.C.F. Clothing’s approach to sustainable fashion is brilliant. It borrows from the philosophy of circular economy and instead of creating a whole new product to solve an issue, the brand uses dead stock from manufacturers and upcycles them into androgynous streetwear for millennials. And you’d be glad to know that their products are 100-percent vegan. The only caveat is that the fabrics aren’t organic and therefore, won’t biodegrade as easily as your 100-percent cotton t-shirts. However on the bright side, it means a greater lifespan for your clothes, provided you care for them properly. Other than that, you can expect great quality garments that are uber chic and timeless.
A.C.F Clothing is available on their website.
Related article: 14 Sustainable Fashion Brands To Know And Shop
3. Studio Membrane
Japan has given us iconic fashion designers such as Rei Kawakubo who interprets architecture as space via the Japanese concept of Ma and now it’s given us Studio Membrane. Its designer, Hiroaki Tanaka, uses biodegradable fabrics such as wool, weaved together in a process influenced by the Japanese technique kumiko—the art of joining wood without the use of nails. Tanaka braids the garments together instead of sewing them, making it both a functional and ornamental—hence the name. It’s a little more avant-garde than the rest of the labels on this list but if you’re in the market for something warm, sustainable and unique, they’re your best bet.
For more information, visit their website.
Heralding from India, Doodlage is another example of a brand championing zero material wastage by upcycling fabric scraps into other products like accessories, bags and even garment tags.. They’ve got everything from classic shirts to contemporary jumpsuits at reasonable price points. It’s also worth mentioning that they manage to do this whilst producing premium quality garments. But it doesn’t stop there—even their packaging sustainable. They use compostable plastic for their packaging, so instead of tossing it into the garbage or recycling bin, you can use it as fertiliser for your house plants.
Doodlage is available on their website.
Related article: Look Out For These Sustainable Brands At The Boutique Fairs 2019
5. Style Theory
How many of us buy an outfit for an event only to have it sit in our closets, never to see the light of day again? With Style Theory, a subscription-based designer fashion rental service in SouthEast Asia, you can rent the dress of your dreams, wear it to an event and enjoy hassle-free returns. Brands with similar value propositions, such as Hong Kong-based Yeechoo, addresses the issue of excess in fashion by encouraging sharing. Think of it as carpooling but with designer clothes that are professionally dry-cleaned and delivered to you.
Style Theory is available on their website.
Matter belongs to a new wave of fashion social enterprises. They are primarily a fashion business that’s socially motivated and goes the extra mile to ethically source their materials and production. Their purpose is to “make rural artisan production sustainable, [and] shift designers’ approach to their process”. So by shopping at Matter, you’re not only supporting a sustainable fashion brand but you’re also helping keep dying crafts alive. Their clothes aren’t just clothes, they’re stories—making their contemporary womenswear unique pieces to cherish.
Matter is available on their website.
Derived from medieval Latin, Esse means “existence” or “to be”, and is an eco-conscious womenswear label featuring classic and timeless designs. Their approach to sustainability in fashion is very much focused on sustainable fabrics such as tencel, bamboo and 100-percent organic cotton which are more environmentally-friendly than conventional fabrics due to the nature of its chemical treatments. Another way Esse addresses the issue of waste is through thoughtful designs which they describe as “sartorial staples”, meaning it you can always dress it up or down to suit any occasion without having to shop often.
Esse is available on their website.
8. Anita Dongre
Anita Dongre is an Indian fashion label that helps sustain traditional Indian crafts through their business. They can also be considered a social enterprise as the brand empowers women by employing them to realise their designs. Each piece of fabric is hand block printed, hand embroidered and hand woven which makes every article of clothing unique. Anita Dongre garments speak to Indian opulence and intricate details yet, there’s something for everyone for every occasion.
Anita Dongre is available on their website.