In the second part of ‘VINTAGE NEW YEAR’, our two-part exclusive, writer Ngan Lin sits down with KIT LING, the founder of @sg.thrifts on Instagram. Edited by founding ed. Athena.
Hi Kit Ling! For the youths who are just starting to embrace slow fashion, could you give a brief summary about the features of your store and any goals you’d hope for your store to achieve in 2020?
The store aims to make slow fashion an accessible and attractive option for people looking to update their wardrobe or try out different styles! At the moment, the store mostly sells secondhand clothing, but I will be opening orders for custom crochet pieces soon. In 2020 I hope to bring more unique and high-quality pieces to the store, so that more people can have access to a wider variety of clothing options without harming the environment or their wallet! As you may know, fast fashion has extremely detrimental social and environmental consequences – it produces high amounts of emissions and waste chemicals, uses large amounts of energy, exploits less-economically privileged workers, and creates a toxic culture encouraging people to constantly consume more. My personal goal is to get as many people as possible to quit fast fashion – and I use the store to make it easier for people to do so!
Something that is so amazing about your store is that you sell pieces you customize as well! Your custom crotchet two-piece set is so unique and so cute! What inspired you to start making your own clothes?
Thank you! I started crocheting when I was eight, and mostly made random patches of fabric with whatever yarn I could find. As I learnt more about the social and environmental cost of fast fashion, I became more keen on alternate sources of clothing, both via thrifting and making them by myself! A huge inspiration of mine is @n00rvana – her clothes are amazing, and showed me just how incredible crochet clothing could be. Once I saw what was possible, I was motivated to try it myself!
With the influx of slow fashion thrift shops online as well as the surge of interested buyers, do you think sustainable fashion will remain true to its name of sustainability, or will it become another trend parallel to that of fast fashion?
This is a great question – I’ve been thinking about this a lot! Sustainability is such a buzzword and often deliberately used in a vague way – I’ve seen a lot of fast fashion brands promote their “sustainable” clothing lines which are actually only around 5% recycled cotton, or something similar! I hope that the slow fashion thrift shops stay true to the purpose of promoting genuinely sustainable practices, reducing the amount of clothes that end up in landfill, and being a stable alternative to fast fashion. I see how this is difficult as sellers are financially incentivised to promote and encourage people to buy more, which conflicts with the very nature of slow fashion. However, I must say I’m quite proud of many shop owners who I’ve seen emphasise the need to only buy what you really love, even if it comes at their own financial expense! Hopefully the community continues growing with this mentality.
Thank you for sharing with us your insight, Kit Ling! After hearing a lot about the status quo culture that “slow fashion” has become a part of, we’d like to ask: How do you envision your store’s future?
I hope to continue being a platform for slow fashion and for circular living principles in general! By making slow fashion more accessible, I hope to continue encouraging others to quit fast fashion. It’s been pretty exciting so far, and it feels great to be able to connect people with clothing they love that might otherwise have gone to waste. I hope to get my custom crochet practice up and running, so that I can give people clothing that is truly made with love! There’s so much we can do and learn with respect to the global climatic crisis, and if my store contributes by keeping just a small amount of clothing out of landfill, and encourages just a small amount of people to quit fast fashion, I’m motivated to do the best I can to continue promoting sustainable lifestyle practices!