8 Sustainable Red Carpet Moments From The Met Gala 2021
By: Erica Fong
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably been seeing all our favourite celebrities looking their best on the Met Gala 2021 red carpet. With the theme being “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion”, we saw everything from sheer, barely-there, bejewelled gowns to the now-infamous blackout look by the social media queen herself, Kim Kardashian.
With this year’s Met Gala being the first to offer a fully plant-based menu, we were happy to see plenty of sustainability on the red carpet as well. Here are some highlights:
Stunning the crowds with her Marilyn Monroe-inspired look, Billie wore an Oscar de la Renta tulle gown in a pretty peach colour. As an artist who has firmly made a stance for not working with brands that use fur, this was a breakout moment for Billie as she announced on Instagram that “going forward Oscar De La Renta will be completely fur-free!!!! I’m honored to have been a catalyst and to have been heard on this matter. I urge all designers to do the same.”
American gymnast Nia Dennis tumbled her way up the Met Gala 2021 red carpet in a bright blue bodysuit topped with an all-vegan Adidas by Stella McCartney netted throw and Earthlight sneakers under the same brand. The shoes use Parley Ocean Plastic which upcycles marine plastic waste.
TikTok star Addison Rae proved that you don’t have to show up in something new to impress. Inspired by Britney Spears’ red gown from the Grammy’s in 2002, she rocked the red carpet in a vintage red corseted gown by Tom Ford for Gucci from 2003.
Actress and producer Tessa Thompson wore a pair of vegan cowboy boots to the red carpet by Rombaut, which uses various vegan and upcycled materials such as cactus leather, apple leather and felt made of recyled polyester PET.
Giveaway: Win Tickets To the Premiere of “reFashioned” in Hong Kong
By: Deena Robinson
reFashioned is a new documentary that sheds light on the work that three individuals in Hong Kong are doing to tackle the ever-mounting fashion waste crisis in the city. Showing different aspects of the fashion industry, the film aims to make us rethink our relationship with fashion.
The three protagonists in the film are Edwin Keh, scientist at the Hong Kong Research Institute for Textile and Apparel, who is working to create technologies to recycle blended fabrics, Sarah Garner, former fashion buyer and founder of children’s clothing reseller Retykle, and Eric Swinton, founder of social enterprise V Cycle, which is fighting plastic pollution while working with elderly waste pickers. reFashioned also features commentary on the state of the fashion waste crisis in Hong Kong.
We chatted with director Joanna Bowers and producer Kate Davies to learn more about the film, what their personal relationship with fashion is and what Hong Kong needs to do to tackle the mounting fashion waste crisis.
Follow us on Instagram(@8shadesofficial) for your chance to win tickets to the premiere of reFashioned in Hong Kong on 18 September 2021!
Can you explain what reFashioned is about?
The film essentially follows the journey of three renegades in the fashion industry who are working to make Hong Kong more sustainable. Together, these people represent small, medium and large enterprises which we feel is a really nice way to represent all the different sectors of society.
What is one thing that you wish more people knew about the fashion industry?
How much waste it produces! When a garment reaches the end of its life, we don’t have a mental image of where it goes. One day, our crew went to the landfill in Tuen Mun, which was a horrifying day – one that I think will stay with us forever – because we were absolutely stunned by the scale of this place. We had to send out a drone 2.5 kilometres out to sea so that we could get a shot wide enough to show the whole landfill!
Our generation grew up coveting fast fashion without thinking where the clothes were going or even how they originally came to us. There just wasn’t that awareness because social media wasn’t a thing back then and we didn’t have access to such education. So now we’re aware that we’re in this terrible state and now that we’re here, we can change the tide again.
What do you want viewers to come away with after watching reFashioned?
That their choices matter – regardless of your age – and they have more power than they think they do.
What is your personal relationship with fashion?
Joanna: Honestly, my relationship with fashion was good before I came to Hong Kong! I lived in Los Angeles before coming to the city and a lot of the shopping I did there was at vintage stores. But when I arrived in Hong Kong, I struggled to find options without having to go online. I used to buy clothes when I travelled but in Hong Kong, I really enjoy HULA and On The List. One of my friends also organised frock swaps, which is really fun!
Kate: I grew up in Hong Kong so I was very used to the short-term clothing model. It wasn’t until I got to the UK that I discovered vintage clothing. I think that it’s all about life cycles and that we need to work to make sure that whatever piece of clothing we have goes to somebody else who will give it to somebody else, etc, before it ends up in a landfill. I also swap clothing with my friends, so I second the frock swap!
To combat fashion waste, what do you think needs to be done on the consumer and government level?
Joanna: It’s really exciting that the government has just passed the municipal solid waste bill. It’s a great first step because when you make people pay to throw things away, they’re going to throw a lot less away!
Kate: On a consumer level, we need to rethink our choices. When you go into a shop and you want to buy something, really think about whether you need it.
Joanna: If you’re still thinking about it in a week, then buy it! Think about the cost-per-wear as well and how often you’ll wear it. If it’s something expensive and something more event-based, consider renting or borrowing from a friend.
We’ve got four tickets to give away for the Hong Kong premiere of reFashioned on 18 September 2021 – simply follow us on IG (@8shadesofficial) for details on how to enter! Winners will be contacted via Instagram DM on Monday, 13 September 2021.
After its premiere, reFashioned will be showing at these selected dates and locations: 25 September at MOViE MOViE Pacific Place, 26 September at MOViE MOViE Cityplaza (Taikoo), 27 September at PALACE ifc and 28 September at The ONE in Kowloon.
Interview: Anya Hindmarch on her new book and iconic tote bags
We’re constantly on the lookout for new sustainable lifestyle brands and products all over the world. When Anya Hindmarch, an award-winning British fashion designer and entrepreneur, opened not just one but five stylish boutique stores in upscale London, published her first book and launched a new edition to her iconic eco tote bag collection – all at the same time – we knew we wanted to interview her about it!
Don’t forget that we’re running a giveaway where you can win one of two copies of Anya’s book If in Doubt, Wash Your Hair. Head to our IG (@8shadesofficial) to get the details on how to enter!
1.You reinvented the retail space in London with the recent launch of The Village – a new retail hotspot that features five very unique stores. How did this concept come about?
The idea of The Village was a 2-year-long dream.
We all know the retail world is changing and the idea of 60 cookie-cutter stores all over the world being the same no long felt very modern to me. The backdrop of my career at that point has always been about globalisation, but I think the next 10 years need to be about localisation – it’s not about jumping on a plane anymore; it’s more about looking after each other and looking after our community.
In a digital world, what’s the point of visiting a store? I really wanted to reinvent that, so I actively reduced the number of stores we had worldwide pre-COVID so we could really focus on The Village and made sure each store has proper touch points that truly engage with our customers and our community, and offer something different from the online experience.
2. Could you tell us a little bit more about the five brands you have and how you landed on this collection?
We have The Labelled Shop which is all about the art of organisation. We have The Bespoke Store, which is about personalisation and longevity of beautiful items made to be handed down through the generations. We have The Plastic Storewhich is committed to our passion for the circularity of materials. We have The Village Hall, which is an ever-changing space that is open as the hair salon called Shampoo & Therapy, where you go in, maybe with your girlfriends, have a nice head massage and a good time, then come out feeling reborn with beautiful hair. It’s been a COVID-safe reunion and it was a COVID-safe book launch for my first book.
And then there’s also The Anya Café, which for me, is the heart of the little village. It’s a British café – but reimagined British cakes with the most wonderful ingredients. It’s so much fun because I get to put all the creative ideas I have into cakes basically. It’s a really lovely way to engage the brand.
3.On top of launching The Village, you also published your first book new book called If In Doubt, Wash Your Hair: A Manual for Life. We’re intrigued. Could you tell us more about the inspiration behind it?
I did lots of talks to women about business and fashion as you would expect, and it’s funny how at the end of the talks, a lot of women would come up to me and ask about how I manage (I’ve got five children, a business, etc.). They want to know my journey and what advice I have for a busy working woman. And I would always jokingly reply: if in doubt, wash your hair.
I think it talks to the fact that we should look after ourselves first, because if we don’t, we’re no good for anyone. The book has the word “doubt” in it, because I think everyone suffers from doubt. Doubt can be the thing that makes you good; it can drive you to be the best version of yourself, so it really is about how we deal with doubt. I’m a mother, I’m a stepmother, I’m a woman in business, an entrepreneur, a creative… I have all of those roles and of course doubt sneaks its way to all of those roles. I’ve just been very honest about how I feel and how I navigate that, in hopes that it can benefit someone.
I think when you get to 50 – I’m now 53, you realise you know more than you think.
4. Let’s talk about your iconic tote bags. We love everything about them – the design ethos, the sustainability statement, the craftsmanship, and the awareness they have achieved. They went through quite an evolution from the OG I’m Not A Plastic Bag in 2007 to I’m A Plastic Bag now. Have you noticed any progress or shifts in consumers’ perception towards sustainability over the years?
When we did the project in 2007, the word “disposable” was not in our vocabulary, so the first project was really about awareness. And the second project was about the circularity of materials.
If we keep a linear line of taking things, using them for five minutes, chucking them and taking more, we’ll just end up with landfill after landfill which is just crazy. You know, there are eight billion tons of plastics on the planet right now, how can we keep that in circulation and not take more? How can we reuse what we’ve got, repair it, reinvent it, and keep it in circulation?
When we launched I’m A Plastic Bag, we closed all of our flagship stores in London during fashion week and filled the stores with 90,000 used plastic bottles – which was part protest and part art installation because it looked rather beautiful – which we’ve then made into something that we want to keep on our shoulders instead of landfill, and that visualisation made people think.
Someone once said to me, when you throw something away, there’s no “away”. That’s why the word “disposable” has to go. And if you really have to use plastic bottles, no problem – reuse them! I know it’s not the sexiest, but that’s the magic of fashion, it can make something that doesn’t feel fashionable look cool.
5. It’s fascinating how you seeded these totes into the market. Your team has a track record of coming up with bold and brilliant launch ideas. Could you let us in on what you’re about to do next?
We have a very exciting project coming up soon. I think what excites me is fashion with purpose. I no longer feel that fashion for fashion’s sake is really enough. You know, I’m the first person who loves beautiful things and dressing up and showing my character through what I wear, and I will continue to do that. But I don’t want to endlessly buy new things and have fashion for the purpose of status. When I buy a handbag, I want to know what the point of it is – it is doing something? Is it using recycled material? Is it donating to charity? Is it making me feel more confident or organised? To me, fashion with purpose is really important, and we will continue to work on those projects because that’s what gets me out of bed every morning. So stay tuned!
6.Last but not least, we need to know – out of all the self-care rituals, why washing hair?
You know, there’s just something lovely about getting into a hot shower, having that ten or five minutes where you don’t have your phone, no one is bothering you, no children tapping on your door (hopefully). It’s where I come up with some of my best ideas actually. If I’m tired or jetlagged, washing my hair gives my brain a rest and it just makes me feel reborn afterwards.
I remember during the launch of The Village, things were mental and I did so much talking, so I went into the basement of one of the stores just to gather my thoughts. My lovely assistant saw me and suggested a hair wash at the salon, which turned out to be a fantastic idea. There was beautiful music from the 70s, the light was slightly dark, I leaned back, I had a brilliant hair wash and I came away feeling like I’ve just had a meditation.
So go get a hair wash – ten times a day if you need to, and doubt be gone!
Remember to check out our IG(@8shadesofficial) to learn how to stand a chance to win one of two SIGNED copies of Anya’s book!
Book Review: “If in Doubt, Wash Your Hair” by Anya Hindmarch
By: Deena Robinson
Anya Hindmarch is a powerhouse businesswoman, who at the age of 19, started her own handbag business as a wholesale business, selling handbags to department stores and eventually moving into retail. By 2015, the Anya Hindmarch brand had 58 stores in 11 countries, including Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and the US.
Anya has a host of accomplishments to her name – she’s been awarded Designer of the Year by various institutions numerous times, she received an MBE in 2009 for services to the British fashion industry and a CBE in 2017 for services to fashion. She’s also a UK trade ambassador and is a trustee of both the Royal Academy and the Design Museum. And now, she can add author to the list, having written her first book, If in Doubt, Wash Your Hair. We read it, and we have some thoughts.
If in Doubt, Wash Your Hair Review
Reading the title – If in Doubt, Wash Your Hair – you may think that this is a simple book, one to glance at mindlessly beach-side, but while the tone is light, the content is significant. Anya is very transparent about what it’s like to be an entrepreneur managing a multi-million dollar business, but she also lays bare the price she’s paid for her success, both emotionally and mentally.
She honestly and openly delves into her battles with anxiety and her life spent building a business. It’s not at all glamorous – years spent working at her kitchen table, cash flow problems and the realisation that when she is struggling at work, she struggles to be mentally present at home. She doesn’t spout any magic formula for dealing with it all, but is very honest in saying that being in business is tough and the only way to get around it is to get through it.
While I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Anya’s meteoric rise in the business world and how she handled it while raising five children, I had two favourite parts. Firstly, it was a joy to read about her 2019 Chubby Hearts Over London campaign, where she suspended 29 giant heart-shaped balloons from iconic London landmarks, including Battersea Power Station, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden, as a “love-letter” to London and a creative way to market her quilted bag collection.
Second, I loved her I’m Not a Plastic Bag campaign from 2007, which was part of a collaborative project with Antidote and global social change movement We Are What We Do. Thousands of people queued to purchase the tote from Sainsburys (80,000 on launch day) and the project then garnered massive press coverage globally; the bag literally shut shopping malls down in Taiwan for safety concerns. While she refreshingly admitted that the project had its problems (they didn’t use fair-trade or sustainable cotton), the project ignited the debate around the use of plastic bags and contributed to the eventual decision to charge for plastic bags in the UK. Following the project, the brand spent two years developing their own cotton-like fabric that is made from recycled PET bottles.
Overall, this book is very inspiring and motivating. If you’re not particularly interested in fashion or accessories, and the thought of being an entrepreneur responsible for hundreds of jobs is terrifying to you, you’ll still find something meaningful in this book. She discusses keeping a marriage together, personal organisation and managing tricky relationships – from toddlers to coworkers.
If you’re struggling with motivation and self-doubt, this book may be of great help to you. A quote I loved reads, “if you are reading this and wondering whether to do it, then my advice would be: do it. Expect failure. Expect difficulty. Take risks. Don’t be scared to start again. And try to remember to enjoy the journey.”
We’ve got two SIGNED copies of Anya’s book to give away – follow us on Instagram @8shadesofficial for more details!
Did you know that kids can speed through seven sizes of clothing in the first two years of their lives? This adds to the already-massive amount of waste generated by the fashion industry each year. Retykle has been tackling this problem since 2016, allowing parents to resell their gently worn children’s clothes on the platform and keep them in circulation for longer.
Sarah Garner’s company, Retykle, is now an institution in the Hong Kong kids’ clothing scene, and we had the chance to chat with her about the inspiration behind starting the company, her top picks for back-to-school, and what’s next.
We’re partnering with Retykle for a back to school giveaway, where two lucky winners will each win an HK$800 voucher each to shop on retykle.com. Follow us on Instagram @8shadesofficial for more details!
How did you first come up with the idea for Retykle?
I’d worked in luxury fashion for over 10 years and had begun to feel that the relentless pace of the industry was unsustainable. At the same time that I was questioning my role within the industry, I was also becoming a mom.
Upon having my first child, I was struck with the pace at which babies outgrow their clothes and the temporary nature of everything you buy for them. Having kids, inadvertently, creates massive waste due to this temporary use cycle and I felt that I could use my experience to create a circular fashion solution that resolves to keep items in circulation for longer, extending their lifespan and keeping items out of the landfill.
We endeavour to keep solving for full circularity such that kids don’t have to impact their future earth just by being born.
What’s one simple thing everyone can do to be more sustainable?
Consider making a portion of everything you purchase secondhand. Every little bit helps to increase the product lifespan and the simple act of a secondhand purchase can serve as a lesson to your kids about responsible consumption.
Also, try to fix something that requires mending with your kids so that they learn not to treat items as disposable when they are broken, but rather understand the importance of repairing to keep them out of the garbage. Something as simple as getting dressed can become a family philosophy about consumption.
Louis Vuitton Releases its First Sustainable, Unisex Shoe
By: Deena Robinson
Louis Vuitton has released its latest unisex sneaker that is the luxury brand’s most sustainable yet, featuring 90% recycled and bio-sourced materials.
Called the “Charlie” shoe, it features a white upper made from recycled polyester and Biopolioli, a corn-based plastic, as well as a sole made from 94% recycled rubber. The laces are also recycled, and the back of the shoe is made with Econyl, derived from nylon waste. Finally, the insole and lining are made from recycled polyurethane and recycled polyester. Even the box the shoe comes in is made from 100% recycled cardboard that can turn into a transportable bag.
Even though the sneaker’s main focus is its environmental impact, that doesn’t mean the brand has overlooked its style. The Charlie features a monochrome colour palette with Louis Vuitton’s distinctive logo along the sides, so you can go about your day knowing that your sneakers look good and do good, too. Its genderless design allows the Charlie to fit seamlessly into any outfit.
The Charlie will be available in both low and high-top styles (retailing at HK$9,550 and HK$10,000 respectively) in EU sizes 34 to 42.
This sneaker is a significant step for the luxury fashion world, as it hasn’t been as fast to adopt eco-friendly practices as the rest of the fashion sector. Hopefully, this shoe will be the first of many more eco-friendly products that will pave the way for more development in the luxury space!
Make a Splash In These 8 Sustainable Swimwear Brands
By: Deena Robinson
No matter how you’re spending your summer – on the beach, book in hand, on a junk boat or having a dawn surfing session, you need a good swimsuit that makes you feel confident – that’s a non-negotiable! And while you’re enjoying the ocean, why not find a swimsuit that’s helping clean it up at the same time? Here are eight sustainable swimwear brands that should be on your radar this summer.
Based in Malaysia, Ozero Swimwear targets those living in the tropics. Its products are made from Econyl, a regenerated nylon fibre made from recovered plastic waste like fishing nets and industrial plastic. The material also provides shape retention and UV protection, and is resistant to chlorine and sunscreen. We love their simplistic designs with vibrant colours, particularly this reversible orange one piece with straps that can be styled in two ways!
Batoko’s swimwear is made from trash, but the end result is far from it. Besides using recycled plastic waste that would otherwise end up in landfills or the ocean and ensuring that it reduces its energy usage wherever possible, Batoko makes a concerted effort to donate regularly to marine conservation organisations. Their brand features so many fun and playful prints that it’s difficult to choose our favourite, but we love these shark and lobster one pieces.
Based in London, Stay Wild is a women-owned business that makes all of their swimsuits locally out of regenerated ocean plastic, Econyl and Tencel, the latter of which is biodegradable and compostable. Every part of their products are recycled and recyclable (including the tags)! All of their products feature clean, structured lines and a flattering fit, but these briefs will hold everything in and keep you looking perfectly cool on the scorching hot beaches of Hong Kong.
When founder Amahlia Stevens set out to create an eco-friendly swimwear line, she was told there was no market for swimwear made from recycled fibres – so she made her own, working with manufacturers to create EcoLux, a swim fabric made from recycled nylon fibres. Besides this, Vitamin A uses other sustainable yet high-performing fabrics like organic cotton, linen, recycled cotton and Tencel. From loungewear to bikinis and bodysuits, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something you don’t like at Vitamin A! This blue cut-out bralette will help you stand out from the crowd.
One of our local sustainable swimwear brands, Zaffre is relatively new to the swimwear scene, having launched in February 2020. Its swimwear is made with MIPAN Regan, which is regenerated nylon filament yarn, and Repreve, made from regenerated ocean waste, and its manufacturing process saves over 30% of energy compared to conventional garment-making! With free shipping for orders in Hong Kong, shopping for sustainable swimwear locally has never been so easy! Check out this beautiful olive green one-piece with detachable straps – no tan lines!
Based in Singapore and crafted from materials like Econyl, rPET and Xtralife Lycra, August Society’s swimwear is not only beautiful and eco-friendly, but functional as well. Their signature Valencia one-piece is reversible – two for the price of one! They also offer multiple collections for men and kids as well, which include rash guards and patterned suits, allowing you to coordinate your swimsuits with your family’s! Plus, their products come delivered in plant plastic pouches that biodegrade over time.
For our surfer gals, September is the brand for you! Blending flattering and feminine lines with athletic performance, September makes its swimwear with recycled fabrics made from ghost fishing nets and even old carpets! Its swing tags and packaging are also made from recycled materials. We love this burnt orange structured bikini top, but we also have to give a shout out to their gorgeous one pieces, which have such beautiful details, like this one in burnt sienna.
Rimmba is based and manufactured in Bali and takes the utmost care in all stages of their production process, from sourcing and dyeing the fabrics to manufacturing and packaging. The brand’s name means “deep virgin forest” and it aims to create pieces that are sustainable and ethical from the material stage to the user disposal stage. It makes its pieces with Vita by Carvico, a durable fabric made from 100% regenerated post-consumer waste, as well as 100% natural dyes. Rimmba also provides a guide to repurposing its products after use! We love this flattering sporty-style bikini top (actually, we want the whole bikini set)!
No matter how you’re spending your summer, spend it in a swimsuit that makes you feel comfortable and confident, while being kind to Mother Earth! We hope this guide to sustainable swimwear brands will inspire you to have the best, eco-friendly summer yet!
How many of you have opened your closet and thought, “I have way too much stuff and no room at all” and still sighed in frustration, “I have nothing to wear”?
This week we are partnering with HULA, one of our fave pre-owned shops in Hong Kong, to win a HK$500 voucher to spend in their shop!
Here’s Week 3’s challenge: dig out an old dress from your closet that you haven’t worn in a while and style it up with our pro tips from Emily and HULA. Head over to IG to post your video and tag us or enter here.
It’s one paradoxical, yet familiar situation that many have faced. In Hong Kong, nearly one-fifth of new clothing purchases are never or hardly worn and these add up to about 110,000 tonnes of textile waste each year. More alarmingly, four in ten Hong Kongers have thrown away clothing after wearing it just once.
For the third week of 8Shades’ 8 Weeks 8 Challenge, we have partnered up with HULA to shine the light on circularity in fashion. HULA has been “making fashion circular” since 2017, collecting and selling pre-loved luxury womenswear in new and hardly worn condition (and also lots of discontinued vintage goodies). Stocking over 6000 pieces in their Wong Chuk Hang warehouse and 500 pieces at their Central shop, HULA has an idea or (or eight to be exact) when it comes to resourceful styling.
Check out our video featuring Emily styling outfits in different ways, giving you some inspiration for your 8-week challenge entry!
Read on to discover HULA’s top 8 tips on how to rethink your existing wardrobe – now dig deep into your closet and help eliminate textile waste fashionably!
A cardigan is a great option to keep you warm in the heavily AC-ed venues in Hong Kong, but it is an even better off-shoulder top. Pick your favourite cardigan, button it up and pull one or both of the shoulders down. Voila, there’s your next off-shoulder top!
WHAT THE TURNAROUND IS LIKE
Did you know you can also turn the same cardigan into an open-back knitted top if you wear it backwards? Pick a printed cardigan for this purpose for some fun prints and details on the back.
This tip is great for the avid t-shirt, plain blazer and top wearers. Statement jewellery can do wonders for your daily look. Layer a long necklace with some chunky chokers and your accessories have now officially become the focal points of the outfit. Bonus tip: mismatch a statement earring with another stud earring to create a high-end bespoke look. Be sure to match the colour tones, you don’t want to pair silver with gold!
From Audrey Hepburn to Kate Moss, women have embraced skinny silk twill for decades and why stop now? Wrap it around your neck for a touch of elegance. Your silk twill shouldn’t just go on your handbag strap! For a more playful look, wrap it around your head to create your very own bunny ears and one-of-a-kind headband.
Your chunky necklace is here to save the day, again. This works best if you had a big-chained statement necklace. Simply loop your necklace around your pants, and let the pendant droop to create an intentional effect. This instantly turns your necklace into a versatile belt chain!
CINCH IT UP
A good quality shirt dress can easily give you endless opportunities to transform it – good fabric lays a good foundation for flowy draping. Using a silking shirt dress, button it up until around two inches down your waist and put your go-to belt on top. Leaving the rest of the buttons unbuttoned creates a more relaxed and casual look by letting the fabric flow as you move.
IT’S A TIE
Turn the same shirt dress into a top by tying the two front pieces together – a good shirt dress won’t bunch up as much and you won’t have to worry about the back not look as good as the fabric should drape flawlessly, creating an easy effortless look.
Don’t be afraid to wear maxi dresses during the day – you can easily dress it down by wearing some sneakers and throwing on an oversized denim jacket. Have somewhere to be at night and no time to change? Pop on your fave blazer and matching heels on to complete your night look!
Hongkongers’ shopping habits are among the unhealthiest in the world: our reliance on buying more and buying new takes a huge toll on the environment. Each day, 293 tonnes of textiles end up in our landfills. Insert second-hand shopping: a fantastic way to satiate our shopaholic urges without inflicting more environmental harm.
Although Hong Kong is famed as a shopping paradise, did you know that our city also provides unparalleled opportunities to shop second-hand without sacrificing style or quality?
I LOVE IT WHEN SOMEONE ELSE PAYS FULL PRICE FIRST
The first store we want to spotlight is Hula, a female-founded marketplace that sells pre-loved designer womenswear and luxury goods. Hula revolutionizes the idea of a dusty and unstylish second-hand market. At Hula, you will find snazzy brand-name pieces (think Valentino, Chanel, Celine, Dior, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton) at bargain prices of up to 95% off retail. You can shop Hula’s curated collection online, or visit their boutique store in Central to see their unbelievable finds in person. We also love Hula because it has pledged 5% of their profits to local charities.
I’M NOT A REGULAR MUM. I’M A COOL MUM
RETYKLE is an online marketplace for parents to buy designer children’s clothing at greatly reduced prices. Retykle was founded by a #momtrepeneur who realized that she had amassed a ton of unworn or barely worn babywear, childrenswear, and even maternity-wear. Given that babies speed through a whopping seven sizes of clothing in the first two years of their lives, Retykle is on a mission to keep these outgrown clothes out of landfills.
SHOPAHOLICS: CONSIGN YOUR FATE HERE
Second-hand shopping is not just a one-way street. Even the best shoppers make mistakes: many of us own designer pieces that lie idly in our closet, many with price tags still attached. Missed the deadline to return your items? Luxford (aka affordable luxury) is a virtual marketplace that sells and consigns authenticated luxury menswear and womenswear garments and accessories. At Luxford, you can sell and extend the life cycle for your own luxury goods. Talk about a win-win.
Additionally, check out Green Ladies, a consignment store in Wan Chai where you can both spice up or clean out your wardrobe. The company is committed to empowering middle-aged women to re-enter the workforce with confidence and style.
Why is sustainable fashion more expensive than fast fashion?
There is a growing demand for eco-friendly clothing, but most people don’t want to pay more for it. Fair enough, as fast fashion has taught us to expect that a t-shirt should cost HKD$70, when a sustainable brand sells one for $200, it’s easy to dismiss them as catering exclusively to the wealthy. However, there are good reasons for the seemingly eyebrow-raising prices of sustainable fashion.
“The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of annual greenhouse gas emissions”
So it’s important that sustainable fashion is accessible to all, not just an elite few who can afford to be eco-conscious. Thankfully a survey found that 67% of consumers consider eco-friendly materials to be an important factor when buying clothes. Unfortunately, less than a third are willing to pay more for eco-friendly products. It’s a catch-22 because demand determines supply but as sustainable clothing becomes more mainstream, prices will decrease and become more affordable.
Fast fashion cuts corners
Fast fashion brands are able to price their clothes so low because they essentially cut corners. They do this by treatmenting their garment workers unfairly with up to 93% of brands not even paying them a living wage, to the cheap and short lifespan of the fabric used. This allows businesses to make a lot of items quickly and sell more for less but we need to ask ourselves: is clothing really cheaper if it means exploiting people and the planet to ensure low prices and a quick turnaround?
So, for now you and I may have to be willing to pay more to ensure that the clothing we’re buying is sustainable but consider this: investing in clothes that are better quality and therefore you can wear for years to come, brings the cost per wear down!
No one is suggesting you pay $900 for a t-shirt, but investing in one that costs more than what you would normally pay and that is designed to last longer, will make you, the planet and your wallet happier!
Supporting brands that put an emphasis on sustainability, and asking more of those that don’t will help make sustainable fashion more accessible.
There is a lot of power in the decisions we as consumers make so we should use this power for good.