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.
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.