Singaporeans are a lucky bunch. We live in a shopper’s paradise where practically anything we want is available in stores or at the click of a button.
The environmental impact of fast fashion, however, has become an increasing concern amongst experts, as seen in a Nature Reviews Earth & Environment article published in Apr 2020.
Titled “The environmental price of fast fashion”, it concludes that impacts from the fashion industry include over 92 million tonnes of waste produced per year and 79 trillion litres of water consumed.
It goes on to outline the need for fundamental changes in the fashion business model, including “a deceleration of manufacturing and the introduction of sustainable practices throughout the supply chain, as well a shift in consumer behaviour – namely, decreasing clothing purchases and increasing garment lifetimes”.
Give clothes a second life
If you love fashion but want to be sustainable, try pre-owned clothing and accessories. Look past old Chinese superstitions where owning second-hand goods were considered inauspicious – you can be part of the zero-waste initiative and be a more conscious consumer by shopping responsibly.
These resale platforms and clothes swapping initiatives share the same goal, to extend the life of clothes and reduce waste while helping meet people’s desires for an updated, fashionable wardrobe. They are kind on your wallet too, as you may find designer brands at a fraction of their original price.
New2U Thrift Shop, founded by the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO), allows people to thrift for a meaningful cause – helping the women in need that SCWO provides help to. Run entirely by volunteers, the store accepts donations of pre-loved items from the public and corporations. All proceeds from the sale of the items go towards women under SCWO’s care, those who are victims of domestic violence, and women who require marital/child support. Not only are shoppers making an environmentally friendly impact, they will also help to provide a safe space for women and girls and support the cause for gender equality.
Address: 96 Waterloo Street, Singapore 187967
Opening hours: Mon–Fri, 10.30am–2.3opm; 1st and 3rd Sat of the month, 11am–2pm; 4th Sun of the month, 11am–2pm. Closed on public holidays.
The Fashion Pulpit, located at OUE Downtown Gallery, runs on a membership model ranging from one time swaps ($35 for up to eight pieces) to one-year of unlimited swapping. Clothing, accessories, bags and shoes of any size, brand and style are accepted as long as they are in good condition. You earn points which act as a budget towards your swapping basket. Other services offered include a personal styling session and repair services to help you bring your fashion item back to life.
Address: 6A Shenton Way , OUE Downtown Gallery , #02-08, Singapore 068815
Opening hours: Tues–Sun: 11am–7pm. Closed on Mondays and public holidays,
Swapaholic, which went from a pop-up shop at Orchard Central to its current location at Centrepoint, allows you to swap to your heart’s content. Drop off your unwanted clothes and accessories, pay a service fee for each accepted item, and earn points which you can use to swap for other items in the Swap Shop. Men’s and kids’ items are also accepted. Note that staff are eagle-eyed when it comes to inspecting them. All must be in excellent condition without any no stains or tears, or they will be rejected. You can also swap online on its website and have them delivered to you.
Address: #02-04A, The Centrepoint, Singapore 238843
Opening hours: Mon–Sun, 12pm–9pm
Judging by the overwhelming response to its fashion swaps, Cloop is definitely on the right track. It collects pre-loved clothing, curates and circulates them through various pop-ups around the island. Bring five to 10 pieces, and swap up to 10 pieces at $35, or you can just buy each item at a minimum price of $10. Only “clean, good and wearable” pieces will be accepted. Look out regular updates on its website, Facebook and Instagram for its pop-ups and outreach initiatives around the island.
Address: City Sprouts (ViewDee), 102 Henderson Rd, Singapore 159562
Someone once described Refash as the “blogger’s clothing store”. It’s not surprising, considering you get many local brands such as Love, Bonito, The Closet Lover, Fayth and more. But don’t look down on them as there are plenty of steals and deals to be found. Shop online or at any of its 14 stores around Singapore. As for your pre-loved clothes, drop them off at selected outlets or request a pickup and you’ll receive cash or credit within 30 days.
Most of the clothes you’d find at fashion swaps are of the fast fashion kind—think H&M, Cotton On and Forever 21. These are the kind of brands this pop-up store avoids. Instead, you’ll find second-hand premium and luxury brands here such as Longchamp, Saint Laurent and yes, even Chanel. Other clothing brands include Isabel Marant, Maje, Massimo Dutti, COS, Comptoir des Cotonniers and many others.