Me lissa Yang , Reb e kah Y eoh , and Yi P ing Teo

These lovely ladies have re­de­fined the mean­ing of sus­tain­able fash­ion in Malaysia with their pas­sion project, Re­cy­clothes.

Herworld (Malaysia) - - HER LIFE -

What they do

“Re­cy­clothes is an on­line con­cept bou­tique that sells cu­rated sec­ond­hand clothes, with 90 per­cent of sales pro­ceeds go­ing to char­i­ties in Malaysia. Our vi­sion is to em­brace sus­tain­able fash­ion with a con­science. As a so­cial en­ter­prise, we cham­pion equal­ity for all women by en­abling ev­ery­one to dress for suc­cess, as well as fa­cil­i­tat­ing self-ex­pres­sion through style.

If you look at the world to­day, and how much waste is gen­er­ated from fast fash­ion, you will no­tice that many clothes end up in land­fills. In de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, there is so much waste, poorer com­mu­ni­ties are even frus­trated with the sheer amount of dis­carded clothes pil­ing up in their back­yard and don't know what to do with them!

The world is al­ready mov­ing to­wards the fu­ture – and sus­tain­able fash­ion is trend­ing and dom­i­nat­ing con­ver­sa­tions in the fash­ion com­mu­nity more than ever be­fore. What we are do­ing with Re­cy­clothes is mak­ing peo­ple think about the fu­ture of fash­ion by chang­ing their mind­sets.

We lever­age on tech­nol­ogy and we're on a mis­sion to make peo­ple re­think their con­sump­tion habits. We want to be trans­par­ent and this is purely not-for-profit – think of it as our con­tri­bu­tion to dis­rup­tion! The money raised from the heav­ily dis­counted clothes is then chan­nelled to causes that cre­ate value. For ex­am­ple, buy­ing brand-new uni­forms for kids whose fam­i­lies can't af­ford to pay for re­place­ments.

The ar­eas that ur­gently need our at­ten­tion in­clude en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues, such as cli­mate change and pol­lu­tion; so­ci­etal is­sues, such as health­care and ac­cess to food and clean wa­ter; di­ver­sity is­sues, such as work­place dis­crim­i­na­tion; and busi­ness is­sues, such as bribery and cor­rup­tion. We are tak­ing a small step in ad­dress­ing some of these with Re­cy­clothes.”

About the founders

“Melissa is in charge of qual­ity con­trol, lo­gis­tics, de­liv­ery and pack­ag­ing. Re­bekah runs the web­site and takes charge of miscellaneous op­er­a­tional mat­ters. Yi Ping han­dles PR and mar­ket­ing, so­cial me­dia, and cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion. Ruth Yeoh over­looks gen­eral op­er­a­tions and the con­tri­bu­tion of clothes. We all have our ba­sic roles, but what makes us a real team is the way we step in for each other. The four of us are ex­tremely busy with our full-time jobs, and Re­cy­clothes is our mini pas­sion project, so be­ing priv­i­leged enough to de­pend on each other when things get busy makes this ini­tia­tive ever more unique to us.”

How you can con­trib­ute

“You can go to our web­site and check out our items for sale. There is no obli­ga­tion to buy at all but do read about our ben­e­fi­cia­ries, and give us ideas and feed­back as we be­lieve that there is al­ways room to im­prove.

Donors of clothes can con­tact us di­rectly via Face­book or email. We cur­rently have a long wait­ing list of donors, but we are look­ing to ex­pand in this area over time. It's time-con­sum­ing as we care­fully look through the clothes to en­sure qual­ity.”

Ways you can live a more sus­tain­able life­style

"Or­gan­is­ing your wardrobe is al­ways a way to start. This can be done via colours, cat­e­gories or how­ever you deem fit, mak­ing it eas­ier to find a piece of cloth­ing. From here, fil­ter­ing your closet would be to find the pieces that don't fit you any­more. As fash­ion trends come and go, this makes it eas­ier for us to re­cy­cle our cloth­ing and bring out pieces that have not been worn in a long time. Sus­tain­abil­ity is about us­ing in­spi­ra­tion and cre­ativ­ity to re­in­force old trends in fash­ion – give your old clothes a sec­ond chance.

We en­cour­age the idea of shop­ping with a con­science to curb the lust of im­pulse pur­chases. Con­sumers should think about the life­span of their pur­chases. When the time comes for them to dis­pose of their clothes, we hope they will think of how it'll im­pact the com­mu­nity. Re­cy­clothes aims to ed­u­cate about the im­por­tance of sus­tain­able fash­ion through our par­tic­i­pa­tion in the com­mu­nity. Do­nat­ing cloth­ing that is still wear­able is a good way to start con­tribut­ing to this move­ment.

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