Fashion designer Danielle Champagne recently took over Zhai Eco Collection, one of Singapore’s first sustainable fashion brands. She shares with us her passion for sustainable fashion and what she has in store for the environmentally responsible local label.
When and why did you first get interested in sustainable fashion?
Many years ago while living in a cold country, my skin was suffering so I started researching and found a few eco fibers that could actually help but very little was available on the market. So I told myself… one day… as a new career.
Why is sustainable fashion so important?
Any sustainable business is playing a role in protecting our planet, whatever size the business is and how green we can be. Sustainable fashion not only tries to do it’s part but also provide an opportunity to make a statement by choosing sustainable brands, while sporting a cool style too!
What is sustainable fashion anyway, and how does Zhai subscribe to that?
Sustainable fashion goes deeper than just the choice of fabric I think. Being holistically green by trying to reduce the carbon foot print, by choosing fair trade factories, by making sure workers are not exposed to chemicals, by reducing waste and applying as many green gestures as possible on a daily basis… this is what sustainable is for Zhai. Sustainable fashion is all this + comfortably fashionable! Zhai is doing all this already and is always trying to improve.
How did you feel when you first took over Zhai?
Things happen for a reason. Many small events led us to this business at the perfect time. I was obviously excited, but also a bit overwhelmed as this is quite a change from being a teacher. But since my background is in design… this is like coming back to my very first calling! Loving it!
What have you got in store for the business?
We are in full expansion mode at the moment. We have launched in Japan last month, talking with the Netherlands, hopefully Australia and many more. We are shopping for an appropriate space for our 3rd outlet in Singapore. We are also offering Distributorship Agreements in Singapore and overseas. We are vegan, have introduced eco-friendly jewelry, eco-bags and more eco/ organic products are studied. We are open to suggestions too!
What are 3 things shoppers can do to be more environmentally friendly?
Clean up the wardrobe and give your clothes a second life by passing them on or up cycling them. Choose better quality items that will last longer and not fill up our wastelands after a few washes only. Shop wisely. Make sure you can mix and match to create different outfits so you don’t need that many items.