The story so far
Meet Raye Padit, a psychology graduate who went on to study fashion – a passion he had since he was 10. After working as a fashion designer for a few months, Raye was horrified when he discovered the extent of waste, pollution and the overconsumption that is synonymous with the garment industry. Want to know why? For the period 2000-2015, global garment sales outpaced the world GDP. The clothing utilisation i.e. the average number of times a garment is worn before it is discarded, however, declined steadily during the same period [Source: 2017 Ellen Macarthur Foundation report]. In Singapore, 25 kg of textile waste per capita was generated in 2017. Of this, only 6% was recycled [Source: National Environment Agency – NEA].
So what did Raye do? He co-founded Connected Threads Asia, a platform to spur dialogues and promote the sustainable fashion as a way of life in Singapore and beyond. Here is a link to a feature article on Raye in Secondsguru’s Eco Warrior series in 2016. Back then, Raye was raising funds for an online platform that would empower people to make more conscious choices when taking the decision to buy fashion. That campaign did not succeed. Not one to give up, Raye ran another Kickstarter campaign in June 2018 to find support for his vision to transform the largely linear textile economy to a circular one so that the cycle of fashion can be made into a closed loop with minimal waste. He was successful this time around- in fact he exceeded his target by 20%! In a short span of 3 years, Raye has gone on to become one of the leading sustainable fashion practitioners in Singapore.
The story here on – The Fashion Pulpit is born
Launched in July 2018, ‘The Fashion Pulpit‘ is currently Singapore’s only physical store where you can
1. Swap preloved clothes – You will find clothes (casual, formal, wedding) and accessories for women, casual wear for men.
2. Join workshops – To learn how to repair and mend your damaged clothes or create something entirely new by upcycling. Click here to see the list of upcoming workshops at ‘The Fashion Pulpit’.
3. Take part in fun fashion events with a sustainable twist- In August 2018, The Fashion Pulpit hosted a one-of-a-kind Fashion Auction night in collaboration with Covetella and Style Tribute where the participants got an opportunity to bid for pre-loved designer bags and dresses using their swap points.
4. Head over to buy eco brands at the one-off pop up events happening in store! The upcoming pop-up is by folks from The Green Collective showcasing local sustainable brands all under one roof! Details here
5. Get your preloved outfit transformed- Have a gorgeous wedding outfit or cocktail dress that doesn’t quite fit or is not really your style anymore? Head over to see Raye after taking an appointment via email on email@example.com. He will work his magic on and you will do your bit for the planet!
Don’t have anything to swap, but still want to buy preloved? You can still head over to The Fashion Pulpit, every item there has a $ value on it too. So you can buy for dollars instead of points.
Want to start swapping already?
Enclosed below are the various membership tiers on offer at the store. [Psst: My suggestion is to start with the one-time swap option at $35. Best way to try. Sign up for more if you like the experience.] Earlier this month, I caught up with Raye to chat with him about The Fashion Pulpit and consumer mindsets 2 months into his big dream seeing fruition. We met at the store’s spanking new location at #02-08, Liang Court, 177 River Valley Road. A true blue eco-warrior, he has ensured the store space is as environmentally friendly as can be. The paint on the walls is by Gush Paints – an organic paint that purifies the air and the in-store decor has been done up primarily with used light fittings and preloved decor items- think lights, mannequins, hangers, display racks, ropes and such.
Over a cup of fairtrade coffee by Sarnies, Raye spoke about 3 strategies he is following to wean fashion consumers off from the usual ‘want it, buy it’ attitude and make them more open to swapping preloved clothes.
1. Power of curation: Every item dropped to be swapped goes through strict quality check. Those that the team feel will not be able to find a new home, are returned. Swap points are allocated to each accepted item and the swapper is given a tally of their aggregate outstanding points. The points in hand, you are set to start swapping!
2. Being environmentally friendly is fashionable: Raye has been using social media to showcase the concept of the store and the workshops with the right blend style and sustainability. In short, he makes it cool to be seen at a swap concept store!
3. Ultimate retail experience: Finally, the store space is done up like any full-fledged fashion store with lights, display racks, shelves and lots of colors!
Can you resist a visit here?
Raye shared some fascinating anecdotes and stories from the two months that the concept store has been up at Liang Court- some of them I am disallowed from ever admitting to having heard! One interesting story he narrated was about a mother and daughter who walked into the store looking for an outfit for the daughter, not knowing it houses preloved garments. She tried her outfit and soon realized what was going on when she asked for a different size. The ensuing debate between the duo- the mother wanting to leave, and the daughter keen to try and buy a different piece- sounded familiar to me as I am certain it would to you! But then do we let the opinions of others guide our choices/ decisions or do we act as we deem sensible in this resource deficient planet of ours, knowing fully well the extent of waste attributable to our fashion consumption choices?