Socially conscious brands in Singapore

We highlight socially conscious local shops and brands that are in it for charitable and sustainable causes
Source Collections
By Benita Lee and Delfina Utomo |
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Spending money doesn't always have to be an impulsive sport. Shopping with a conscience is slowly starting to pick up in Singapore, as with sustainable dining and and plastic-free grocery shopping. So next time you're ready to fork out your money, it doesn't hurt to go one step further and see how your contributions will help. 

RECOMMENDED: New shops to check out in October and the 50 best shops in Singapore

Bettr Barista

Bettr Barista

The concept

It's true. Coffee can taste good and do good. Just ask Bettr Barista who are committed to change and improve lives with specialty coffee classes and over 1,000 professional coffee courses and workshops

The contribution

Bettr Barista holds social programmes for marginalised women and youths at risk and a portion of their proceeds goes to supporting higher education for youths in need. 

Bettr Barista is available in various locations

covenant jewellery

Covenant Jewellery

The concept

Both ready-made and bespoke designs are thoughtfully handcrafted and truly unique but the main purpose of the brand was to create meaningfully made jewellery to impact a new generation of young jewellers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Like its name, it was to honour covenant love through our the jewellery.

The contribution

Everyone is done right here, from ethically-sourced gems and conflict-free dimonds to ensuring all artisans have fair pay, benefits, and insurance. Besides, each piece of jewellery made and sold directly impacts the families of the nine artisans they have onboard.

Available online at www.covenant-jewellery.com

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Source Collections

Source Collections

The concept

Like its namesake, Source Collections believe in the search of better things and better solutions. While it stocks one things and one thing only for now – it's the softest t-shirts made out of Tencel – there was a lot of research and process founder Vincent Ooi had to go through prior to stocking that $39 tee on its site.

The contribution

One of the main things Source stands for is consciously contribute to cleaner practices when it comes to making their tees. Not only do they use Tencel which is one of the garment industry’s most eco-friendly fibres, the brand is also clean and upfront about where its T-shirts are made.

The factory in China where it is made has stringent ethical practices that are upheld and the staff are working in bright, clean and comfortable environments and earn respectable wages. On top of that, your t-shirts come in eco-friendly packaging as well.

Available online at www.sourcecollections.com

anothersole

Anothersole

The concept

Not only are their shoes the comfiest you'll ever put on, it's also helping out someone in another community. Anothersole shoes are a combination of comfort and style, showing that you can still look work-ready with a leather dress shoe that has the technology of a running shoe. 

The contribution

For every pair sold, 10% goes towards feeding malnourished children and supporting their futures. Anothersole’s #Buy1Feed1 initiative is a pledge to use of its revenue to support children in need via World Vision in Vietnam.

This means that when you invest in a pair, you’re helping Anothersole fund food supplies and support underfunded orphanages, and also create sustainable communities where children can better their lives.

Available online at www.anothersole.com

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Megafash

Megafash

The concept

Shop to your heart's content here – you're giving back to society with purchases from the indie labels on offer. From online to offline, this lifestyle marketplace displays local and international names across its three outlets, which revolve around themes like nature, adventure and fashion.

Labels stocked here include Statement Tees, Plain Supplies, The Lost Nomad and Troopers, with items covering a range of watches, jewellery, bags, wallets, shirts and phone cases.

The contribution

Cat fanatics, get yourselves some quirky feline jewellery pieces by Alfie De Meow, a label that supports cat welfare group CATSI by donating 10 percent of its merch sales quarterly. If you’ve got green coursing through your veins, check out Matoa’s wooden watches made of repurposed wood waste.

Those who love the sun and the sand can pick up Lagu’s beach-friendly mats – they're quick-dry, allergen-free and sand-repellent, which means you’ll be leaving those tiny grains by the sea to protect and prevent diminishing shorelines (yeah, apparently that’s a thing).

Three outlets, including #01-05 Wisma Atria (9420 6053, www.megafash.com). Orchard. Daily 10am-10pm.

The Nail Social

The Nail Social

The concept

Get your shopping fix and your nails done at this start-up by entrepreneurs Cheryl Ou and Germaine Monteiro.

The contribution

The Nail Social works with social services to focus on supporting underprivileged women. It offers vocational training for women with unemployment woes, such as single mothers and ex-offenders, to become full-time nail technicians.

But that's not all. The space stocks products that promote a good cause. The fair-trade jewellery by Anchora is the work of artisans from around the world living under the poverty line. Flip-flop brand Soule donates a portion of proceeds to initiatives that provide sturdy shoes for impoverished children and natural disaster survivors. And the floral arrangements on sale come courtesy of Hello Flowers, a local enterprise that employs and trains the needy. That’s a world of good packed into one little salon.

L2, 42A Haji Ln (6717 3221, www.thenailsocial.co). Bugis. Tue-Fri 11am-9pm, Sat & Sun 10am-8pm.

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100 Good Things

100 Good Things

The concept

Change the world, one good thing at a time – that's the motto of this Singapore-based lifestyle store. 100 Good Things was set up by Joan Koh, a globetrotter-turned-social-entrepreneur with the desire to uncover the untold stories behind traditional handicrafts and their makers. She carefully curates the selection, which includes personal care items, artisanal foods and fashionable accessories.

And if you need your faith in humanity restored, hop on to her blog, where she writes uplifting pieces on her travel experiences around the region, and her interactions with villages and their communities.

The contribution

Birthed out of a desire to help poverty-stricken Asian communities, the shop sells fair-trade, eco-friendly items handcrafted by artisans. You'll find an interesting selection that includes silk protein soap, recycled paper necklaces, bangles carved from repurposed bomb casings, and more.

#01-685 Blk 2 Balestier Rd (9383 1047, www.live100goodthings.com). Novena. Mon-Fri 10am-5pm, other hours by appointment.

Matter

Matter

The concept

Pants to see the world in. That was Matter's way of introducing itself over a year ago. Since then, the local label has released several collections, all revolving around that one comfy item of clothing for travellers.

Then and There is its latest line, a collaboration featuring four unique prints, each symbolising the home country of the artist. Repping our nation is Yah Leng Yu from Foreign Policy Design Group, with a combination of deconstructed kopitiam tile patterns.

The contribution

Matter uses craft techniques like block printing, ikat and jamdani, in collaboration with communities in the region. Working together, they create modern pieces with time-honoured methods to make rural textile artisanship sustainable, one pair of trousers at a time.

Available at TANGS Orchard, Curator’s Den and Kapok. www.matterprints.com.

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Head of State Millinery

Heads of State Millinery

The concept

Make a statement with a sculptural headpiece by designer Chee Sau Fen, who founded the brand with the aim of handcrafting unconventional hats, headbands and tiaras.

Each piece is an architectural vision, with shapes and shades that range from bold and dramatic to delicate and feminine – the latest collection, for instance, is influenced by archery... and birds.

The contribution

Recycled raw materials and ethically sourced ones form the backbone of the production process. The brand's NeoTribe collection was made by an indigenous community in the Philippines, from handloom fabric of the country's native abaca plant.

Chee has also brought her work abroad, training stay-at-home mums in Cebu in the art of hat-making, for an alternative source of income.

Available at The Emporium and W Store. www.headsofstatemillinery.com.

The do-good life

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