How to Build a Sustainable Wardrobe for the Lunar New Year
It’s almost time for us to ring in the year of Tiger and we can feel the excitement bubbling away as pineapple tarts are prepped and ang pao are bought in bulk.
Through the excitement of any festivity, we can often get lost in the indulgence and forget our eco-conscience.
So to lighten this burden, we’ve curated five key looks for different occasions that are sure to last throughout the year plus leave little to no footprint behind.
In the many traditions of Lunar New Year, it is believed that wearing new clothes from head to toe symbolises a new start and fresh hopes.
Red and brightly-coloured clothes are often donned by celebrators to go with the festive, upbeat mood and to signify prosperity and scare away spirits of bad fortune.
In our case, “new” can be reimagined; it’s time to get creative and start buying upcycled garments, vintage or thrift items as well as sustainably-made clothes and accessories.
We’ve chosen five looks for your day to day, going out, getting active and lounging at home (after too much yee sang).
1. Your everyday look
A great place to start building your sustainable wardrobe is to find an everyday look that can be smart, comfortable, convenient and also, casual!
This ‘Petal Overall’ from Seeker x Retriever, found on UNPLUG, is a stylish pick that’s adjustable, has an elastic waist and was handwoven and consciously crafted by artisans in Thailand.
Smart but casual for work meetings, lunch appointments and running errands.
To go along with this, the ‘Peony Seat Belt Tote Bag’ from Biji Biji is perfect for day to day errands and work essentials; it’s a verifiable Mary Poppins bag.
Not to mention, if you get caught in the 5pm downfall, your belongings will stay dry with it being made from repurposed seat belts.
A sweet addition which goes with anything is the ‘Circus Drum Gold’ earrings from Fugeelah. What was initially a fundraising project to help keep education free at Fugee School, has morphed into a successful social enterprise. When bought, 50% of your money will go towards paying the fees of a refugee child at the school.
2. Getting dressed up
With all the events surrounding Lunar New Year, it’s important to have a solid outfit choice that will not only make you feel good about yourself but that's also not entirely painful to be in.
We’ve handpicked the ‘Tropical Nuisette Top’ to go with the ‘Tropical Multiway Pareo II’, from FERN Boutique, to elevate the casual look to chic and elegant.
These gorgeous, silky and most importantly, red pieces will accentuate your waistline whilst leaving plenty of room so that you don’t feel like you’re suffocating from being too full at the end of the night.
FERN priorities working with local artisans for the batik-printed pieces and collections are made with slow, conscious methods in mind.
These ‘Vegas Suede High Heels’ in Black from 1 People, can be found at UNPLUG, and fashionably compliments your red get-up. These heels prioritise comfort and height with the inner body covered in Eco Suede with sleek slingback strap for support.
We’ve also included the ‘Calico Knot Pouch’ in a two-tone yellow from local brand, Muni.
This delicate bag, that happens to also look like a money bag, has been designed, sewn and hand-dyed with plant extracts solely in Malaysia. The sweet cherry on top of a great look!
3. Working a sweat
It’s important to stay active this year, especially with COVID still knocking about… so we’ve handpicked the perfect pieces for when you're hitting an exercise class whilst also running about.
First, we have the ‘Impact Bra’ and ‘In My Element Shorts Leggings’ from Terrae, which can be found at UNPLUG, in a range of five gorgeous colours.
This set is ideal for yoga or pilates sessions with a coffee run before heading back to work from home. Each piece is made from recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate - a fabric made out of recycled plastic bottles and made with durability and flexibility in mind.
To go over this, grab an oversized button down shirt or vintage T-shirt from curated thrift and second-hand shop, OkGo Store, in Subang Jaya.
Not only can you find casual wear here that’s been reused, instead of going to a rubbish mill, you can also find top-quality, second-hand designer wear and accessories. A fun day out finding eco-friendly clothing for the year.
Hold your hair back with one of Kanoe’s set of 3 ‘Batik Headbands’ that’s made from reused batik fabrics, locally sourced.
4. At home comfort
Let’s be honest, this has been our most important outfit for the last few years with us all being forced homebodies.
Having a staple, go-to home outfit is essential and so satisfying once you’ve nailed it on the head.
We’ve chosen the ‘Sweet to Me Set’ from LTTL made from natural fibres. This set ticks all the boxes in the comfort category whilst also looking deceivingly smart for the waist-up business Zoom calls on your weekdays. You could even roll out of bed in this set, wash and brush your teeth and be ready for work!
To keep those toes all comfy and clean, the ‘Women Essentls Slides’ from Indosole, which comes in eleven colours and can be found at UNPLUG, is the perfect fit for your day at home. You can even wear them with socks for extra coziness.
Keep your hair tidy whilst looking cute in these ‘Bananas Over Bandanas’ head pieces from Love Light Lemons, also found at UNPLUG in four patterns.
These are an essential when you're doing housework, especially when you’re cooking up a storm and need those annoying little strands of hair out of your face.
5. Men’s go-to fit
Don’t worry guys, we didn’t forget about you. Last but not least, we’ve carefully chosen a simple yet effective outfit for your everyday life, which can span from work, running errands and meeting up with friends.
From Kualesa, the ‘Truntum - Jet Black & Coral’ is a sleek, modern addition to your daily wardrobe. This local brand creates pieces from sustainable, raw materials with this particular polo made from 95% Bamboo Lyocell.
For your bottoms, wear these ‘Su-ke Pants’ from Totomi, found on UNPLUG, made from eco-friendly linen and with functional pockets on either side. To go with your blue polo, wear the ‘Linen Natural Dyed Face Mask’ in Indigo Blue from 1 People, also found at UNPLUG.