2018 was a remarkable year of change around topics such as mental health, gender equality and sustainability. Fashion as an industry was certainly not immune to these conversations, and when it comes to sustainability in particular, the industry continues to be in the midst of transformation. Looking to jump into the new year with a clear conscience when it comes to waste-less fashion? Follow these 10 fashion pioneers (and their brands) on Instagram who are making strides towards a more ethical and sustainable industry.
An industry veteran who has worked at Lane Crawford for over a decade, Sarah Fung is the founder of The Hula, an online marketplace for purchasing pre-owned designer womenswear. She was inspired to start her business after witnessing firsthand how resource-intensive fashion is as an industry. Her solution? Creating a business where customers can easily donate and purchase a covetable and curated treasure trove of fashion goodies, all with the click of a button.
If Sarah Mower is following this stylish sustainability gal, then you should, too! Yu’s Instagram account features passionate commentary on all aspects of sustainability, including ethical fashion brands that she champions, pay equality for garment workers, and the livelihood of cotton farmers. Her latest focus? Understanding how brands like Burberry and H&M can better manage their inventory better to avoid billions of dollars in unsold stock.
A finance veteran who is obviously no stranger to the boardroom, Chessis left her former life behind when she was inspired to create office wear that would empower women. The unique selling point? Her business, Isabella Wren, uses state-of-the-art 3D technology to construct clothes digitally. By entering measurements into the company’s website and choosing from a variety of customisations, customers can receive an impeccably tailored garment that will last a lifetime, all whilst minimising waste.
Melissa Chu founded Rumi X in 2015, creating colourful activewear with a feel good vibe. The pieces are as beautiful as they are ethical, with their fabric made of recycle plastic bottles and upcycled coffee grounds. All of this results in unimaginably soft fabrics with high-stretch and moisture-wicking properties.
What would it take to make the most sustainable shirt in the world? This was the bold premise for the birth of Cosmos Studio, an ethical minimalist brand with Scandinavian vibes co-founded by Jeffrey Man and Davy Chan. Their shirts, all of which are impeccably constructed, uses 98% less water, 70% less chemicals, and 50% less energy than their industry counterparts.
Kay Wong and Toby Crispy are the duo behind The Fashion Clinic. They’re well-known staples of Hong Kong’s fashion scene, with the former founding Daydream Nation and the latter working as Design Manager for Agnès B. Their latest venture involves giving customers’ garments a new lease on life by repairing, reshaping and redesigning them.
No eco-list would be complete without mentioning Dr. Christina Dean, the pioneering founder of NGO Redress and co-founder of The R collective. Recognised as one of British Vogue’s Top 30 Inspirational Women, Dean passionately advocates for a reduction in textile waste and environmental sustainability through talks, seminars, thought-leadership pieces and documentaries.
As Chief Catalyst Officer at the Lane Crawford Joyce Group, Ventura is responsible for forging new initiatives and partnerships. One of her passion projects is Luxarity, a pop-up charity drive where fashion sales and donations are made for a variety of worthy causes, including most recently, The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel.
Many people will already know Johanna Ho, the British-Chinese fashion designer who formerly headed an eponymous fashion label for many years and had a shop in Central. As a long-time supporter of sustainability, Ho has since started another clothing label, PHVLO, all whilst still championing a sustainable future.
If fashion is about breaking boundaries, then ACF has taken that philosophy to heart. This modern streetwear brand, founded by sustainability pioneer Alexandra Foster, is both gender-neutral and ethical, using deadstock fabrics to create trans-seasonal pieces that will can be worn across a wide variety of climates and seasons.