• Natalie

Stepping into Sustainability with QLOTHÈ

Remarkable designs that do good for you and the environment

If you think that it's not easy for a young fashion brand to transition into sustainability, you're dead right, it truly is incredibly hard. But this brand is a beautiful example of how the right motivation and conscious thought process from QLOTHÈ founder Elvynd Soh allowed the brand to gravitate towards being much more sustainable than it was before. The best part is that they're not ready to stop just yet, and they have so much to offer.

Defining Sustainability

With sustainability becoming a trend word of the decade, it's easy to throw the term around without fully understanding what it means to you or your company. At QLOTHÈ they swallowed it up whole, fully infused it into their brains, and made it the core of everything they do. This very intentional decision guided all their subsequent actions towards their definition of sustainability - to create beautiful clothes you love without harming the planet and without hampering the future capability to do so. This process took them almost a year, and it definitely wasn't easy, but thanks to it, QLOTHÈ now has two (plus one more launching on 15th Nov at Boutiques Fair SG) sustainably made collections for us to enjoy.

Made To Last

Unlike fast fashion brands that churn out up to 20 collections a year, QLOTHÈ focuses on beautiful silhouettes with the right fit and only creates small, thoughtful collections that do not overload their supply chain. The garments they make are also meant to last - not just in terms of actual washes but also in terms of the timelessness of their designs where meticulous effort is made to ensure that every detail is perfected. With a variety of fitting styles (eg flared, fitted, sash, tied) and sizes, it also allows their garments to be inclusive and ladies can pick and choose the kind of outfit that makes them feel most comfortable in.

Another huge stand-out point about QLOTHÈ is their commitment to using the best possible fabrics and fibres for the planet. TENCEL™ Lyocell and ProViscose® are some of their favourite choices and most of the items in the first two sustainably made collections are made of this materials. These two fabrics are cellulosic fibres which means that they are made from wood pulp, and as a natural fibre, they will not generate any microplastics when washed (unlike polyesters and synthetic fibres). They also require much less land mass and water to produce, compared to conventional or even organic cotton. Other than their lower environmental impact to produce and process, it's easy to love cellulosic materials because TENCEL™ in particular is also stronger than cotton yet softer to touch and free of any harmful substances (OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification).

But QLOTHÈ is not limiting themselves to just cellulosic materials, they are also exploring other natural fibres such as Linen, Ramie, Hemp and Recycled/Organic Cotton and I'm personally really excited to see some outfits made using ramie fibres!

Committed to Forests

If there is one thing QLOTHÈ is obsessed about, it's definitely forests and everything that lives in them. That's why they partnered up with PMHaze and started the Buy a Piece, Plant a Tree programme. This allows you to directly contribute to making positive change in our climate (though miniscule, but every tree counts) and also supports the native community in the areas being reforested, providing them with a sustainable livelihood and protection from forest fires.

As you may have noticed, most of the products and shipping materials from QLOTHÈ are made from trees, so to make sure the materials sourced are well-managed and protected, QLOTHÈ has partnered up with the non-profit Canopy under the CanopyStyle campaign to protect Ancient and Endangered Forests. Partners of this campaign are required to submit their Commitments to Sustainable Forestry and you can go ahead to read QLOTHÈ's commitment here.

Ever Improving

What I love about QLOTHÈ is their willingness to constantly evolve and improve their sourcing, production, operations and partnerships so that they can make the greatest positive impact to the environment. As if sourcing sustainably wasn't already hard enough, they have decided to take a step further to work with suppliers and innovators to encourage the development of fibre sources that reduce environmental and social impacts, with a focus on agricultural residues and recycled fabrics. What this means is the creative use of materials and resources that would have otherwise been treated as waste, that's a huge plus because it makes headway for us to work towards a more circular and less wasteful industry.

QLOTHÈ is also working towards greater transparency within their supply chain to find out the environmental and ethical impacts of their garments and it's fabrication process. Through their work with green analysts, they are able to do a comparative analysis of each piece they produce based on 3 key metrics: Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Energy Consumption and Blue Water Consumption. This takes a huge amount of effort to do but QLOTHÈ is constantly refining it and keeping consumers involved by presenting their findings to them, allowing them to be involved and engaged in the process. This is incredibly powerful because it allows consumers to not just take what brands say on the surface level, but also have the facts and numbers to back it up, making it a much more mindful and educational purchasing experience. On the social and ethical aspect, QLOTHÈ is honest enough to say "we're still working on it", but they're not lying and that's why I trust them.

Although QLOTHÈ has already achieved so much more in terms of sustainability compared to other much more well-established fashion brands, Elvynd still believes they're a "work in progress". I completely agree with this because even within our own lives, we can never be perfect, but like Elvynd, we shouldn't let it get us down and be open to feedback and improvements. At the end of the day, Sustainability is a journey, and we need to cherish our little victories, and keep moving forward, so we can all be part of a better world together.

Scroll on to see the collage of shots we took to feature QLOTHÈ's stunning pieces!

If you're looking to meet QLOTHÈ in person, they will be exhibiting at the Boutiques Fair SG this weekend along with many other amazing local brands and talents so be sure to go down and visit them! They are currently also part of The Lounge by ZERRIN hosted on the second floor of The Social Space in Marina One until 29th Nov 2019. Stay tuned to their Instagram for more updates and future pop-ups!

I hope you've found this useful and now love QLOTHÈ as much as I do! Add it to your list of home-grown Singaporean brands to watch out for in the future!



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