Recycled Fashion in Singapore

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Friends, family and social media followers, will know that my family and I recently took a trip to Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. This was my family's third time visiting The Lion City, although the first time travelling with two small kids in tow. Every time we visit Singapore, we see the city in a different light. On this occasion, child-friendly topped the things-to-do list.

Singapore offers a lot for families; plentiful food varieties (useful for fussy kids), ample air conditioned spaces to escape the heat, low cost taxis and public transport, museums, playgrounds, and lots and lots of activities to keep busy.

Singapore is advanced in so many ways, demonstrated by the country's infrastructure, architecture and high standard of living. Away from the hustle and bustle of Singapore's central district however, you can find interesting pockets of cultural history.

:: China Town, Singapore ::

I booked accommodation for the first week of my family's stay at the Kam Leng Hotel, Little India; a cool spot that has been restored from its former tired state, into to a quirky budget hotel filled with vintage charm.

:: Kam Leng Hotel, Singapore ::

In my first week, I caught up with Agy of Green Issues by Agy. It is great to meet likeminded friends in 'real life', after our blogs bought us together. Agy took our family to Haji Lane in the Kampong Glam neighbourhood of Singapore. Haji Lane offers a refreshing change from shopping malls found elsewhere in the city. Here you'll admire street art, and meander down a narrow street filled with fashion boutiques, handmade wears and quaint cafes.

:: Haji Lane ::

After some tourist time in Singapore, and a trip across the sea to the Riau Islands province in Indonesia, my family and I found ourselves back in Little India, only this time staying at the uber cool Wanderlust Hotel; accommodation designed for the adventurous traveller. No room at the 4 story Wanderlust Hotel is the same; you can stay in a capsule room rendered and decorated in one single colour, a mono space clad in contrasting white, or a whimsical loft room with five varying themes. With two young boys, I booked us into the red space themed room. You can imagine their excitement.

:: Wanderlust Hotel Singapore ::

Some of you may remember Singaporean blogger Mongs of My Thrifty Closest. Unfortunately  Mongs doesn't blog anymore, but we both stay in touch, and she kindly took me on a thrift shopping expedition around Singapore.

Thrift shops here are not in their abundance as they are in Australia, the UK or the US, although there are similarities with the few thrift stores that do exist in Singapore.

:: What I found on my visit: shoes, a dress, a toddler plate and beads ::

For anyone visiting Singapore, here are the addresses of the thrift stores you can visit. Do take note that most Singaporean thrift shops are not open every day:

MINDS Shop@Margaret
800 Margaret Drive,
Singapore 149310
Tel: 6473 1148 ext 304
Operating Hours: Monday to Wednesday, 10.00am - 3.00pm

Tanglin Mega Family Store
356 Tanglin Road
Singapore 247674
Tel: 67182513
Operating Hours: Monday - Saturday, 10am - 6pm

New2u thrift shop
96 Waterloo Street
Singapore 187967
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 10.30am to 2.30pm

Red Cross House,
15 Penang Lane,
Singapore 238486 (nearest MRT Dhoby Ghaut)
Operating Hours: 11am to 4pm every Wednesday.

If you visit Singapore, have fun, it's a great country with so much to do.


Eco friendly products by Cariloha

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Are you looking for a versatile range of bamboo textile wears that does not cost the earth?  US based Cariloha sell an extensive range of products, in fact Cariloha is one of the world’s only retail labels that dedicates an entire range of clothing and bedding made out of bamboo textile. 

:: Find out about Cariloha’s bamboo processes here ::

Generally, eco-friendly products can be thought of as an expensive choice to the alternative, but that isn’t the case for Cariloha’s bamboo range.  Prices are reasonable, at around US$34 for a full priced tee, baseball caps for $32, or scarves for $36. You can also buy gift cards for your eco-minded friends to shop for Cariloha’s chic bamboo wears.

Other products sold within the range such as home décor, baby goods, and accessories are made with bamboo blends. American based Cariloha, born out of a love for the Caribbean and Hawaii, sell a delightful selection of bamboo and bamboo blend wears inspired by island life.
Best selling items from the Cariloha’s women’s range include light weight scarves, summer dresses, bags, pants, sportswear and accessories.

:: Geo Bamboo Infinity Scarf - Caribbean Coral ::
Cariloha menswear incorporates plain as well as logo embellished tees, polo’s, shorts, underwear and more.

:: Bamboo Comfort Crew Tee - Space Panda - Rockwood Red ::

Cariloha’s range can now be found in an impressive 50 stand-alone stores in 14 countries, otherwise you can order online. Cariloha’s online products are shipped from Utah to anywhere in the world (my online order arrived on my Australian doorstep within a week).

Browse Cariloha’s range here:, and you can follow the brand via the usual social media haunts; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Disclaimer: I received no payment for this blog post, but I did receive some gorgeous Cariloha bamboo wears in the mail including this beautiful nautical scarf, with pastel stripes and bamboo handbag.


The Cause in Melbourne

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A few weeks ago, I received an invitation to attend the unveiling of a unique fashion space in the heart of Melbourne; The Cause.

The Cause’s brings fashion manufacturing back to Melbourne, allowing emerging local designers to utilise the hub’s 14 industrial sewing machines, pattern drafting tables and cutting zones.

:: The Cause unveiling in Melbourne :: 

Local brands already associated with The Cause follow ethical and sustainable practices. Dead stock fabric is sourced for fashion designers to create amazing designs from material otherwise destined for landfill. 

Two experienced designers Dale and Sharmaine Cornell of New Model Beauty Queen are the instigators of The Cause.

:: Dale and Sharmaine Cornell of New Model Beauty Queen and The Cause ::

New Model Beauty Queen, accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA)  has been in existence for a decade. Previously operating out of a smaller retail space in Sydney Road, Brunwick, the brand now offers smaller-scale manufacturing and screen printing services out of a studio in Saxon Street, Brunswick in addition to The Cause.

:: Coco and Max ::

The unveiling fashion event based at The Cause in Little Collins Street, introduced collections from New Model Beauty Queen, Designed in Brunswick, hid, Jenny Robinson Creative Design, Coco and Max and Straker. A fun catwalk runway showcased the collections of the aforementioned brands, featuring models of all sizes and shapes parading to the live sounds of local band, Dear Plastic.

:: The Cause ::

The avant-garde collections seen at The Cause are bold, vibrant, colourful and available to buy! Designs can be purchased at The Cause, 306 Little Collins Street in Melbourne, open from 10am - 6pm Monday - Saturday, closed Sunday.

:: Jenny Robinson Creative Design ::

Check out Melbourne’s growing fashion renaissance for yourself and discover some of the amazing work happening right in the heart of our fine city.

:: hid ::



Fashion an Education with Le Dessein

Monday, August 24, 2015

The following Guest Post is written by Megan, from LA-based, socially minded upscale fashion brand called Le Dessein.  Le Dessein's motto is "fashion is an opportunity".

“Women hold up half the sky”


In recent years, much attention has been given to the plight of oppression of women and girls around the world, due in part to the Half the Sky movement inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's best-selling book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. One incredibly important way to help bring women and girls out of oppression is through education; out of the world’s approximately 170 million children that lack access to education, 70% are girls.

The fact that any children are not receiving a proper education is, of course, worrisome. In the case of young girls, however, the issue tends to be more pressing. Girls are often denied access to education because of traditional beliefs in certain societies that prescribe a higher importance to girls learning how to run a household rather than learning how to read, write, and acquire basic mathematical skills. Women make up about two-thirds of the world’s illiterate population, reflecting the fact that well over half of the girls in some developing nations are not able to receive the education they deserve.

You might be wondering: what can we do to help amend the situation? Many girls in these nations are unable to attend school because they lack the resources necessary to cover the costs of tuition and school supplies that are essential to getting a full education. So what is this post about girls’ education doing on a blog about sustainable fashion? That’s where fashion brand Le Dessein comes in. In an effort to change the lives of girls around the world (and the communities and countries they live in), Le Dessein is committed to donating 25% of their profits to pay for the yearly tuition rates of young girls in countries where access to education may be difficult or not prioritized.

Le Dessein began this venture by working with girls in Liberia, where 77% of the poorest girls aged 7 to 16 have never been to school. This work was done in conjunction with the More Than Me Foundation, a foundation committed to helping young girls who live in some of the poorest slums in Liberia get an education and keep them off the streets. Le Dessein’s starting goal is to be able to help 10,000 girls get the education they deserve, and they are looking to expand their reach to Haiti in the upcoming year to further this work.

Le Dessein specializes in upscale women’s wear. Their high-end dresses, sweaters, and tops bring classic, season-less looks that attest to their desire to bring luxury wear into the socially responsible fashion world. This year, they also expanded to include a bracelet line. Each bracelet is comprised of a unique kind of gemstone that boasts some kind of inspirational or healing element. What really sets Le Dessein apart, though, are the designs embroidered onto each item of clothing from their line. In an effort to boost the self-confidence and creativity of the girls being supported in Liberia, an activity of taking photographs of friends and family was undertaken by the girls. They then used these photos to create drawings that became the basis for the embroidered images on Le Dessein’s clothing line. Through an education and creative activities such as this, Le Dessein’s ultimate goal is to empower and encourage these young women to lead the lives that they wish to lead rather than being forced to accept the path that might be traditionally placed on them. With an education, a greater breadth of opportunities is given to these girls, opportunities that might never have been possible without proper schooling.

None of this would have possible without the creative mind of founder Eric Coly. Eric is no stranger to the effects that empowerment and education can have on women; he comes from a long line of matriarchal influence. His grandmother attended college in the early 1920s in Senegal, an incredible accomplishment for a woman in Africa in that time. Her youngest daughter, Eric’s mother, also went on to attend college, this time in France. His two sisters both have received post-doctorate degrees in their turn. After taking a career in banking that fulfilled what he believed to be path worthy of his family and education, Eric realized that he needed something more in his career, something that could fill the creative space that was lacking in the world of finance. To pay homage to these extremely influential women in his life and to find a career that would work as an outlet for his creativity, Eric turned to the socially responsible fashion world, still a relatively obscure corner of the fashion industry at the time.

He wanted to create a label that could show how stylish and luxurious ethical fashion could be, rather than the “hippy” and casual styles that ethical and sustainable brands tended to lean towards. His hope is that through Le Dessein, not only will he be able to bring luxury clothing with a conscious to the world, but he will also be able to help young girls in need of an education see that with their artwork being worn by people around the globe (and with the knowledge that school affords them), they can break out of the roles that the patriarchal societies they live in so often tend to burden them with.

Care about these girls. Care about the world. Shop at Le Dessein ( to fashion an education for young girls in need.

Facts from the UNESCO Girls’ Education Fact Sheet

You can find Le Dessein on the following social media channels:

Twitter: @Le_Dessein

Clothes Swapping at Copenhagen Fashion Week - GUEST POST

Friday, August 14, 2015

The following guest post is written by Sherylyn Oben

When you think of Fashion Week, it usually conjures up images of the newest designer fashion, impeccably-dressed style stars and chic models sashaying on the catwalks. Recently concluded Copenhagen Fashion Week had all that, and more.

:: Photo Credits: Sherylyn Oben / SurveyBee ::

Since it was fashion week for a city that prides itself for being the greenest in the world, this year’s event also highlighted Danish fashion industry’s initiatives to promote sustainable consumption and environmental responsibility.

In what almost appears like the antithesis of mainstream fashion, the event’s three-day run was capped off last Saturday with the first Fashion Exchange, a huge clothing swap market held in the city hall square. Armed with big paper bags and a good eye for spotting steals, hundreds of Copenhagen locals flocked to the venue to exchange their unwanted clothing for a free new wardrobe.

“I think it is a brilliant idea. We get to give our old cherished clothes new homes, we get to bring home “new” clothes from the swap for no cost at all, all while doing our planet good,” said one of the participants. “I think it’s high time that the fashion industry promote sustainability. Copenhagen is a very good example and I hope other cities also follow suit.”

All excess clothings and other remainders were donated to Asylum Centre Sandholm via Danish Red Cross.

Sherylyn Oben is a photographer and content creator for online survey aggregator SurveyBee

An Insight into Oxfam Shop: Oxfam Australia

Saturday, August 8, 2015

I first became aware of Oxfam as a young charity shopper in Britain. One of my favourite charity shops happened to be an Oxfam store in the small English town in which I lived. I enjoyed shopping for donated recycled bargains in my local Oxfam charity shop, yet at the same time appreciated some of the fair trade products and gift cards also sold in the same retail outlet.

Oxfam outlets in Australia are quite different to that of their British cousin retail shops. Walk into an Aussie Oxfam Shop and you won't find donations for sale, but instead a vast range of fair trade and ethical products gathered from global artisans.

Oxfam's Sara Pelvin has taken some time to answer some questions for Recycled Fashion, relating to Oxfam's Australian trading arm. 

Q: Oxfam's online store sells fair trade products from no less than 28 countries. Can you tell me how Oxfam finds its in-country artisan organisations to partner with, and if there is a selection process in which products are chosen to sell to Oxfam customers?

Oxfam's buyers find producer partners to work with in a variety of ways. Some are producers that we have been working with for years while others are found through trade shows, during in country visits, on recommendation from other Oxfams or other Fair Trade organisations or through direct contact.

:: One of Oxfam's producer partner's Noah's Ark ::

In 2013, Oxfam also introduced a system by which we review our producers more systematically to ensure they are meeting Fair Trade and ethical standards. These reviews are done when we visit a producer, through reviewing audits and assessments that have been done by or for the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) or Fairtrade Labelling Organisation (FLO), reviewing our Producers Annual Reports and also by asking producers to complete our own OAT Producer Assessment Form.

As part of this system, all potential new producers will be reviewed by the Buying Team and the Corporate Accountability and Fair Trade Adviser, and approval to work with them needs to come from the General Manager Trading. Any new producer who is not a member of the WFTO or FLO is required to fill in our OAT Producer Assessment Form.

Q: In what way are customers helping global communities when they choose to buy a fair trade product from the Oxfam Shop?

Through fair and ethical trade consumers are empowering disadvantaged communities by paying them fair and stable prices for their work. Consumers are helping to break the cycle of poverty by supporting producer businesses. In addition to this, the work that Oxfam does with our producer partners helps them to gain the skills they need to develop their business and gives them access to world markets to ensure sustainable, long term businesses.

:: Earth Bracelet::

Q: What are Oxfam's bestselling fair trade products?

Our bestsellers at the moment are our delicious Oxfam fair brand of coffee, tea and chocolate. Oxfam's World Blend is the most popular coffee product with the Oxfam fair Milk Chocolate with Coffee Nibs being the most popular chocolate.

Taking food products out of the picture (which are always our most popular) other bestsellers include all sorts of things such as fruit bowls, cookbooks and bags.

:: Recycled Bike Chain Bowl ::

Q: In Britain, Oxfam stores are generic charity shops, which sell donated recycled wares as well as fair trade products - do you think a similar formula could work in Australia, whereby Oxfam stores become a chain of opportunity shops which sell recycled wares alongside fair trade products, to raise money for Oxfam's greater cause?

:: Oxfam charity shop in Shropshire, England ::

As Oxfam already have a very active and effective fundraising arm we see the best utilisation of our retail space in Australia to be supporting our producers around the world as they continue to operate businesses in a long term sustainable way.

Q: Where can Australian customers buy Oxfam fair trade products?

You can purchase Oxfam Shop products online at, in the coffee, tea and chocolate aisles of Australian supermarkets or at any of our following shop locations:

ACT: Canberra, The Canberra Centre
NSW: Sydney, Broadway Shopping Centre
QLD: Brisbane, Level 2, Myer Centre
QLD: Garden City Shopping Centre
SA: Carles Street Plaza (just off Rundle Mall)
TAS: Launceston, Centreway Arcade
VIC: Chadstone Shopping Centre
VIC: Carlton, 132 Leicester Street
VIC: Walk Arcade, (just off Bourke Street Mall)
WA: Fremantle, 22 Queen St (Cnr Adelaide Street)
WA: Perth, 872 Hay Street (near Shafto Lane)

:: Elephant Jute Mat ::

Q: Are there plans to increase Oxfam's fair trade product range?

We will be continuing our 24 page catalogues throughout 2015 and 2016 (except at Easter which is a smaller catalogue) - and will be expanding our distribution of these catalogues for the Christmas period.

:: Upcycled Paper Coaster ::

Do you shop for fair trade products either for yourself or as gifts for your loved ones?  Are you aware of the products sold by Oxfam?  Check out Oxfam Shop's full range here.


*Disclaimer - this blog post brings me no monetary gain, I merely admire all the good things Oxfam does a charity, and very much enjoy browsing Oxfam's stores both within Australia and Britain.

Win a Custom Made Dress by Studio MüCKE

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

If you love a man's shirt refashion as much as I, then take a moment to admire Ellie Mücke's fabulous upcycled shirtdress and shirttop creations.

:: Upcycled Shirtdress by Studio MüCKE ::

Ellie Mücke has been making new fashion out of old for years. When she graduated from RMIT University with a BA in Fashion, Ellie became increasingly frustrated with unsustainable practices seen in commercial fashion.  In 2007, Ellie formed her own ethical range of upcycled clothing, under her own label Studio Mücke.

:: Upcycled Shirttop by Studio MüCKE ::

Fast forward 8 years, and Studio Mücke has become an established women's clothing brand in the ethical fashion field, producing a range of stylish pieces using men's reclaimed garments. A number of shirttops and accessories can be purchased online, alternatively, custom made pieces can be purchased using an online ordering process, giving you the option to choose your fabric and appropriate size.

Right now, there is a competition to WIN a custom made dress by Studio MüCKE. One lucky winner will get to select their very own custom made shirttop or shirtdress, just in time for Spring (or Autumn if you live in the Northern Hemisphere). To enter, all you have to do is sign up to Studio MüCKE's newsletter, and follow on Instagram. Bonus points for sharing the competition with the hashtag #studiomuckecomp.

Would you like to add a Studio MüCKE shirtdress to your wardrobe? I certainly would! 


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