Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore
HUI FANG spotlights four designers in Asia-Pacific who prove that eco-clothing can be functional and fashionable
+ Bird by Rachel Bending
● The Concept Initially a textile designer, Bending debuted Slingflings, a collection of bags and home wares made out of eco-friendly materials, in 2002. Four years later, she launched Bird—a line of funky women’s wear. Now, there’s also a flagship store in the trendy Surry Hills neighborhood of Sydney.
● The Products Bending looks to the 1950’s for inspiration, though her striking, abstract graphic prints also borrow freely from Scandinavian and Japanese design. Expect demure, lady-like skirts and boxy jackets, updated by the freewheeling, colorful prints.
● The G Factor A climate-neutral fashion brand, Bird uses water-based dyes and organic cotton, powers its manufacturing with solar energy, and funds renewable energy and water-saving projects.
● Where to Buy Bird Emporium (80 Cleveland Street, Sydney; +612 6680 8633, www.birdtextile.com).
+ YOLO by Angelynn Tan
● The Concept The Singaporean textile designer, who already had a penchant for eco-friendly design, launched her YOLO (You Only Live Once) collection, a bamboo fiber range, at the 2008 Singapore Fashion Festival.
● The Products Tan admits she was initially surprised by the soft, fine texture of bamboo fiber. To give it an edgier twist, Tan rips and burns the material; she even pours melted plastic on it. The result, though, is an eminently wearable range of simple, feminine tops and V-neck blouses.
● The G Factor Bamboo fiber is not only biodegradable, it also breathes easily. The highly absorbent material doesn’t crease easily, making it perfect for travel. Finally, bamboo grows quickly and easily, so you won’t feel guilty about wearing something that requires a lot of resources.
● Where to Buy Curiocity Gallery (No. A1-02, 38 Bencoolen Street, Singapore, +65 6334 6022).
● The Concept Founded by two graduates of London’s Central St. Martins College of Art and Design, this Hong Kong–based line of clothes, handbags, accessories and home wares melds traditional Asian techniques with a sophisticated, urbane sensibility. Dialog’s designs are easy to spot: they all have a four-fold, origami-like trim made out of recycled fabric that’s created by using an age-old method from Malaysia.
● The Products Many of the items are fashioned out of old blankets, curtains and clothes. But don’t expect Salvation Army cast-offs—these bohemian designs are definitely of-the-minute. The duo is looking to expand the line to include dresses, cushions and even pieces of furniture.
• The G Factor Ardent believers of fair trade, founders Cassandra Postema and Dong Shing Chiu work with Southeast Asian charities to produce their goods. The pair trains seamstresses in an effort to impart new skills. They also run a T-shirt line, Hopetees, born out the 2004 tsunami. The proceeds from the limited edition T-shirts go to different causes, from helping victims of the Sichuan earthquake to aiding Vietnamese orphans.
• Where to Buy Fang Fong (67A Peel Street, Central, Hong Kong; +852 3105 5557, www.dialogltd.net).
+ Belle & Dean
• The Concept Belle & Dean founders Dean O’Sullivan and Issy Richardson keep it clean and simple with this line of T-shirts for babies, toddlers and women.
• The Products Mostly unbleached organic cotton T-shirts that feature pen-and-ink zoological or botanical drawings by Richardson. Dyes, when used, are chemical-free or natural vegetable dyes. The label also has baby accessories, such as blankets and bibs.
• The G Factor Belle & Dean uses only organic cotton, which doesn’t rely on pesticides (normal cotton uses a staggering one-quarter of the world’s insecticides and pesticides). O’Sullivan and Richardson also based their operations in Singapore, knowing that their family-run manufacturer pays and treats its employees properly.
• Where to Buy Antipodean (27A Lorong, Holland Village, Singapore, +65 6463 7336, www.belleanddean.com).