I get excited when I meet new people who are environmentally conscious and who look for ways to make a change for the better. Raye Padit, the founder of Connected Threads Asia and Swagalls, is one such person. I had a lovely chat with him last weekend to learn more about his background and his passions as well as his vision for sustainable fashion in Singapore.
Raye is originally from the Philippines. He didn't start out in fashion, but rather found himself drawn to it as he was finishing up studying Psychology in university. He was inspired by his mother's love of fashion and watched her design her own clothes, so he moved to Singapore to learn more about the industry. There, he learned the basics of fashion, how to sew and then interned with local designers before starting his own label PeyaR.
He began to notice how much waste was created in his own design process and felt compelled to change the system, especially after seeing the devastation of the Rana Plaza accident which claimed so many lives. Knowing that fashion is the second biggest polluter, Raye set out to change the industry. He began to collect waste fabric from fashion houses to upcycle and use in his own designs and he made it a goal to change people's mentality by proving that sustainable design can be sexy.
He co-founded a non-profit organization called Connected Threads Asia which aims to educate people about sustainable design, raise awareness for the issue of textile waste and promote sustainable fashion in Singapore and beyond. He noticed that some people were ready to take the 'next step' so he created Swagalls as a way to take some 'tangible action' and make a positive contribution towards moving Singapore in a more sustainable direction.
Since most of us only use 20-40 percent of our closets, Raye wanted to help people to be able to do something with their old items. Sometimes people can feel uneasy donating to places like the Salvation Army since they don't know where it goes, so he decided to create a platform for people to dispose of clothes as well as a way for others to get clothes inexpensively. Swagalls is this platform.
Raye's vision for Swagalls is simple. He wants you to be able to change your wardrobe without spending too much money. He wants to limit the demand for new clothes and he wants you to be able to shop without any guilt. While he's starting this venture in Singapore, it's his hope that it can branch out to other countries as well.
Swagalls will offer a range of services for consumers who he affectionately calls Swapaholics. In addition to educating people about wearing second hand, Swagalls will host physical swaps where people can bring their clothing and shop without guilt and walk away with items to refresh their wardrobes. Swagalls will also offer online swapping as well since he feels this is a great way to target the professional community who may not have time to participate in swaps or get to pop ups. The best part is this; since Raye knows that clearing out your closet can be a difficult task, Swagalls will offer to come to your house and help you go through your closet and pick items that you no longer want.
All you Swapoholics have to do is subscribe and then you can earn credit points in your account to use later. And that's really the reason he's introducing Swagalls with a Kickstarter campaign. To make this work, Raye wants people to be a 'part of the revolution.'
So please, click over and make a contribution, then share this post and his website
so you can join the movement!
Don't stop there! Here are some brands who are also leaving their mark in the fashion revolution to become more sustainable. There are Singapore based brands like Etrican who have been around for nine years and have really been pioneers in their support of sustainable fashion and Matter who sources their goods in India and champion fair pay and good conditions for their employees. Finally, PeyaR, Raye's own brand creates bespoke garments from textile waste.