International Women’s Day is internationally recognised on the 8th March every year, and represents a focal point for women’s rights and is a celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Sustainable fashion is becoming a hot topic in recent months, with major brands and independent boutiques alike striving to appeal to consumers with more eco-friendly resale and rental services and recycled and upcycled products. Here are 7 women who are at the forefront of leading sustainable fashion here in Asia.
Christina Dean, Founder & CEO of The R Collective, Founder & Chair of Redress
Christina Dean is a sustainable fashion hero who founded the charity Redress, whose mission is to reduce waste in the fashion industry, and The R Collective, a social impact upcycled fashion brand that makes luxury garments using offcut textile waste. From growing Redress into a globally recognised NGO in the field of sustainable fashion to launching an award-winning upcycled fashion brand that has debuted in the likes of Barney’s in New York and Lane Crawford in Hong Kong, Christina has become a renowned figure driving much-needed change in fashion.
Veronica Chou, Founder & CEO of Everybody & Everyone
Textile and fashion tycoon Silas Chou’s daughter has carved out a name for herself in the eco-friendly fashion scene with her brand new sustainable and size-inclusive label Everybody & Everyone. With her line, which is made from recycled and upcycled materials spun out of ocean plastic, nylon waste and used tyres, the heiress hopes to disrupt the fashion industry and address its polluting nature. In order to minimise the fashion footprint of the brand, she has thought of every aspect, including offsetting the emissions of the company’s operations by supporting tree planting projects.
Natalie Chow, Founder of Kibo
On a mission to do good for the planet and people, Natalie Chow founded Kibo (formerly known as Lacess) in 2018, a Hong Kong-based eco-friendly and ethical footwear brand making minimalist sneakers. From her simple design that makes her shoes a long-time staple for a sustainable capsule wardrobe to using upcycled offcut trimmings from leather products that would otherwise be sent to landfills, recycled plastic bottles and natural materials such as cork and rubber, Chow has made sure that her brand leaves behind as little waste as possible on the environment. In addition, she donates a portion of Lacess’ profits to support victims of human trafficking through charity Compassion First.
Sarah Fung, Founder & CEO of HULA
After years of experiencing the massive waste generated by luxury brands, Sarah Fung is on a mission to change the way we approach preloved secondhand fashion. She founded the online platform HULA, a Hong Kong-based online platform for pre-owned designer women’s clothing, shoes, bags and accessories – you name it. Sarah’s business has on offer over 400 brands at up to 95% retail, and has helped extend the lifespan of thousands of well-crafted luxury pieces.
Sarah Garner, Founder & CEO of Retykle
Upon receiving countless pieces of gorgeous hand-me-downs for her newborn baby that looked just as good as new, Sarah Garner decided to do something about the short life-cycle of children’s clothing that is contributing to huge amounts of textile waste to landfills. Using her years of industry knowledge as a fashion veteran at the likes of Lane Crawford and Shanghai Tang, Garner founded Retykle in 2016, an online platform for buying and selling outgrown high-end kids fashion. Since then, Retykle has grown into an established brand with its own permanent storefront in Wong Chuk Hang, and continues to promote a circular economy to reduce the collective environmental impact of children’s fashion.
Nissa Cornish, Executive Director at Redress
Nissa Cornish is a Hong Kong based environmentalist who has spent years working on projects that aim to leave a positive impact on the planet. From being an event manager for charity Hong Kong Cleanup to helping helm content as the editor-in-chief of Ecozine, a green lifestyle magazine and events organisation, Nissa has since found herself making an impact in the fashion world and becoming the executive director of NGO Redress. She now oversees the charity’s mission to prevent and transform textile waste to catalyse a circular economy in the fashion industry.
Alexandra Foster, Founder & CEO of A.C.F Clothing
While other eco-fashion warriors are developing consumer-end solutions, Alexandra Foster founded A.C.F Clothing in 2016, a sustainable fashion brand creating contemporary and durable industry uniforms for businesses across everything from the F&B to the retail sector. Her company is a full-service concept that helps companies design, develop and produce eco-conscious uniform solutions that are plastic-free, use recycled and deadstock fabrics – all of which are 100% vegan and cruelty-free. Most recently, her brand has collaborated with global footwear label Allbirds, a B-Corp certified carbon neutral shoe company, to create a line of staff uniform shirts and jackets for its stores worldwide.
Update: This article was updated to correct Nissa Cornish’s name and former title at Ecozine.
Lead image compiled by Green Queen Media, individual images as credited above.