For the third year, Inside Retail Hong Kong has chosen the top 50 people leading retail innovation in the city and this year, there was a marked jump in the number of conscious companies chosen by Inside Retail’s panel of judges, with a host of sustainability-driven and plant-based pioneers making up almost half of the entire list. This reflects a broader trend in the market whereby eco-friendly retail is becoming mainstream as consumers are increasingly looking for sustainable and ethical solutions from businesses when they decide where to spend their dollars.
Some of the key eco-forward brands featured by Inside Retail Hong Kong this year were on a circular economy mission to tackle fashion waste through resale services. Cristina Ventura, Chief Catalyst Officer of Lane Crawford Joyce Group & Founder of LUXARITY, was featured for her innovative social initiative that aims to create a more conscious fashion ecosystem. It has partnered up with blockchain-based digital solutions to bring traceability to the luxury secondhand or resale market. Sarah Garner, founder of Retykle was also a prize winner for its baby & kids clothing resale platform, which aims to keep children’s clothing in circulation and out of the landfill. Similarly, CEO & Founder of The Hula Sarah Fung nabbed a spot for her preloved designer consignment website, which has now evolved into an online-offline combo with a warehouse location in Wong Chuk Hang.
There was also an uptick in the number of companies working on innovative upcycling and recycling solutions to fashion waste. Christina Dean, for instance, was spotlighted by Inside Retail for her upcycled fashion brand the R Collective, which uses rescued textiles and off-cuts from luxury mills to create long-lasting garments. Unspun, co-founded by Walden Lam, is another company focused on curbing fashion waste. The company uses recycled materials made from post-consumer polyester and plastic bottles, combined with technology, to locally manufacture personalised jeans to reduce carbon emissions and textile waste.
Picked by the judges were also more brands offering organic and natural products, especially as the industry is picking up in Asia. For instance, Malabar Baby, developed by Anjali Harjani, was also awarded a top 50 spot for offering Indian handmade ethical and organic baby clothing and accessories. Charlotte Tsuei, founder of athleisure fashion retail brand Caelum Greene was also featured. The wellness-forward retailer with a flagship in Central’s Landmark shopping mall curates an eco modern selection of athleisure, beauty products and home accessories from a range of sustainable brands.
Another area that received attention from Inside Retail were companies providing low-waste, healthy and plant-based foods. This comes at a time when consumers are not only becoming more eco-consicous but are trending towards healthier lifestyles with the fitness and wellbeing industry skyrocketing in Hong Kong and Asia. Founder of Edgar Raphaël De Ry was applauded for his role in leading Hong Kong’s zero-waste lifestyle and bulk food movement at a time when ethical, organic and healthy foods were still considered a “fringe” retail concept. The Founders of Eatology, Guillaume Kaminer & Christophe Daures, were also awarded a spot for their personalised food subscription service concept that caters to the health-conscious such as those on paleo or gluten-free diets and includes Hong Kong’s only vegan meal delivery plan. In addition, founder of beloved plant-based chain MANA! Bobsy Gaia was credited for his pioneering role in both the plant-based dining and eco-conscious responsible business movements in Hong Kong.
Lead image courtesy of iStock.