Lois Tien, a fashion industry veteran, did not take the decision to launch a new brand lightly. The G2000 & anagram alum happened upon the idea of her own independent, conscious label after years of feeling like something was missing, particularly when it came to what she calls “SelfWear™“, clothing made for feeling good whilst at home. “We spend so much money and time on clothes for the outside, building a facade of strength and professionalism in front of others and for our work lives, but then we’ll sleep in a ratty old shirt,” exclaims Tien. “Why aren’t we investing in clothing that makes us feel good even when we are at home?”
SoL is pioneering what we’re going to call ‘inside clothing’, a much-needed answer to what for many around the globe is now months of being stuck at home, where office workwear is basically useless. With SoL, Tien hopes to quietly disrupt the very industry she has been part of for decades by putting sustainability and social responsibility at the heart of its operations while offering women a self-care and self-caring sartorial solution.
From carving out a new fashion category entirely to taking a stand against fast fashion cycles with its capsule collection and recycling program to supporting charitable initiatives with every purchase, SoL hopes to become the go-to for conscious consumers and is now seeking support to make this dream a reality via a Kickstarter campaign. Below we share more about Tien’s unique SoL journey.
SelfWear: a new fashion category
Founded by Lois Tien this year, SoL is a new contemporary brand positioning itself as a SelfWear label, a new category coined by the brand to symbolise sleepwear, loungewear and homewear pieces that merges comfort with quality, style and ethical production.
As the name suggests, SelfWear is turning fashion on its head and making it actually about yourself. “I’ve always been an avid fashion lover,” said Tien. “I hit a point a few years ago when I realised the sheer volume of clothes I had.”
“There are all these things I was spending money on but they were of no real value to me and were disposable in my mind. This was my aha moment – I thought, it’s time to start dressing for ourselves. Rest and sleep should not be a luxury and neither should quality homewear. We are so much better when we give time to ourselves. Value your downtime, enjoy a quiet moment to yourself, read a book, listen to a podcast, and see the difference.”
Why aren’t we investing in clothing that makes us feel good even when we are at home?Lois Tien, SoL Founder
Aligned with its mission to offer eco-friendly garments to conscious shoppers, the term SelfWear is all about embracing the concept that wellbeing and mindful living should be “put above all else.” In other words, SoL is all about being good to yourself and good to the planet.
Going circular with ECOVERO™
All of SoL’s Essential pieces are created using ECOVERO™, a responsible alternative fabric that functions, feels and looks exactly like conventional viscose, but with a far smaller environmental footprint. Often referred to as an eco-friendly version of silk, ECOVERO™ is produced by leading cellulose fibre producer LENZING™ using FSC or PEFC-certified sustainable wood from Europe.
“Cotton at the end of the day has its negative impacts too when it comes to water usage. Personally, I love the handfeel of silk and was looking for something more practical, but that doesn’t come with high maintenance or the cost,” explained Tien.
“Then I stumbled upon ECOVERO™ and fell in love with it. It’s super soft, it feels like a blend of cotton and silk, and the best part is obviously the circularity behind it.”
Unlike conventional viscose production, the pulp bleaching process used is 100% chlorine-free and nearly all the substances used to make ECOVERO™ fabrics are recovered and reused. The end-product itself is not only 50% less carbon, energy and water-intensive to produce, it is naturally biodegradable too. In addition to being made out of eco-friendly materials, SoL is committed to sustainable packaging too, using plant-based bags that can be composted at home after use.
THE SOCIAL MISSION
A brand with giving back built-in
SoL hopes to deliver a social impact on top of offering environmental benefits. It has partnered with two non-profits, ImpactHK and Canopy, to ensure that every purchase goes to help communities most in need in the city and address greater reforestation needs.
For SoL’s founder, it’s non-negotiable for brands to give back in today’s world. “I think it’s a must. At the end of the day, there is no need for more brands and products to be created because we already have everything we need. So what newly created brands have to come with is a driving mission of how to positively contribute back,” Tien explains.
“Our generation and generations to come are only going to become more aware and expectant about making an impact too.”
Merging its social mission with its sustainability commitments, SoL will also set up a cash-back program whereby customers can send in their old garments that have been worn at least 100 times back to the label to make sure that each piece of clothing can be given a second home, lengthening its lifespan and in doing so, reducing waste.
Quitting the multi-collection fashion cycle
SoL’s collection itself embraces sustainability by virtue of its capsule collection that turns away from the traditional fashion cycle and towards responsible consumption. Featuring only eight styles, the “SoL Essentials” are designed to be relaxed but refined, minimalistic and timeless, ensuring that every single piece of clothing can be constantly re-worn, easily matched and will never go out of style.
Speaking about her capsule collection, Tien told us that “I wanted to create timeless and season-less items. In terms of design, its clean and subtle and these pieces can live for a long time in your closet and won’t be outdated.”
It’s also tailored to live up to the motto of SelfWear – each piece is meant to put the wearer’s wellbeing first. “You’re not appealing to trends, you’re not trying to stay on the pulse of fashion, it’s about yourself,” said Tien.
“And it’s practical too, which is even more relevant now that we’re spending so much more time at home. These are clothes you can do the dishes in!”
The styles include a button-down shirt, oversized tee, cami, shorts, wide leg pants, tapered loungers, a robe, a tank dress and two accessories – an eye mask and a headband – to complete the night care routine.
It’s a marked step away from the wasteful multiple-collections-per-year approach that the fast fashion industry has perpetuated. New styles to SoL will only be added based on customer reception, ensuring that its slow and mindful growth matches the demand, reducing waste to a minimum.
THE ORIGIN STORY
A seasoned fashion insider’s journey to sustainability
Lois Tien came up with SoL after she decided to realign her own priorities after years working in fashion herself and her family’s long-standing legacy in the industry. She’s worked multiple brands, including J. Crew, eventually joined the family business G2000, and later oversaw the operations and creative direction of anagram, the firm’s premium apparel line.
We are the slow movement of fashion. We’re in this to be there for the long run.”Lois Tien, SoL Founder
“I grew up immersed in fashion. After many years working for big corporates including my family business, I observed all the excess inventory that was being created by churning out new collections to constantly supply to the demand out there. But often times the supply ended up outweighing the demand,” Tien tells Green Queen. “It hit on a personal level.”
She decided she wanted to do more, and pivot into a segment that was true to what she wanted to achieve. “It was a culmination of all that exposure over the years that brought me to why I wanted to start SoL.”
In this sense, the brand represents her personal journey to engage with a more conscious lifestyle in a way that doesn’t compromise on comfort, style or ethics. “We are the slow movement of fashion. We’re in this to be there for the long run.”
SoL will be launching via a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign on August 5. Tien hopes to be able to raise awareness about the importance of self-care through her new project, but more importantly, to tell her brand story and to bring together a community of customers who can have a direct influence on how the initial capsule collection will evolve. Through the Kickstarter campaign, supporters will be able to enjoy the brand’s Rewards program too and become among the first to try on SoL’s SelfWear sets (aka SoL Kits). We simply can’t wait – it’s been way too many months of life in sweats.
All images courtesy of SoL.
This is a Green Queen partner post.