Curating a more sustainable wardrobe is no mean feat. With the accessibility of fast fashion and the allure of trends, it’s easy to make a few faux-pas and end up with a closet full of clothes that makes you feel more ‘meh’ than marvellous.
So how can we go about breaking the cycle? For starters, the route to a more conscious closet starts with beginning to wear and take care of the clothes you already own. Discovering your personal style and learning to put looks together will help you reduce impulse buys, shop more sustainably and create a better relationship with clothing.
The thing is, there’s a lot to unpack (and quite literally, sift through) when it comes to sorting your wardrobe. Gaining confidence with creating new outfits isn’t easy. Confronting the clothes you own can also be emotional and, quite frankly, anxiety inducing. Doing so, however, offers you the opportunity to feel (mentally) lighter and less weighed down by stuff that no longer serves you.
Thankfully, there’s a new wave of personal stylists and professional organisers on hand to help you choose mental clarity over clutter. Meet four entrepreneurs who can help you reduce mess, shop better and curate a more inspired, sustainable wardrobe in Singapore.
Sera Murphy, personal stylist & shopper at The Reoutfitter
A former fashion merchandiser, buyer and planner, Sera Murphy founded The Reoutfitter to help you declutter your closet and redefine your personal style.
“My role back in my previous career was essentially to have a lot of product on hand to sell at all times. I always felt guilty about it. After taking a break from the corporate world to have kids, I became inspired to start a job more in line with my values. Today, I provide styling and shopping solutions to help people create a more thoughtful, sustainable wardrobe that works for them.”
Offering services targeted to help you choose better, The Reoutfitter’s repertoire begins with The Closet Reoutfit. Sera will go through your wardrobe piece by piece, taking inventory of everything you own. “Throughout this process, we’ll define your personal style and unlock fresh ways to wear old pieces. I’m also there to help you say goodbye to designs that don’t work.”
From there, Sera helps you identify key options that will complete your sustainable wardrobe ‘puzzle.’ This can be carried out with an in-person shopping trip, or done online. If you’re already closet confident but are looking for help with key items, Sera also offers personal shopping services, too.
Sera’s styling method is all about detail, understanding your needs and giving some ‘tough love’ when needed. She prides herself in being honest, helpful and thorough to help you discover outfits that you’ll look and feel great in.
“I always ask why you’ve bought or gravitate towards particular pieces. There’s so much emotion that goes into why we purchase the way we do. Once you’re aware of this, it can really help guide future purchasing decisions. It might not always be comfortable, but positive change comes to those who try! That’s why I liken our service to therapy for your closet.”
“There’s so much emotion that goes into why we purchase the way we do, and once you’re aware of this, it can really help guide your future buying decisions”
And in case you’re wondering: “but what happens to all the clothes I don’t want to keep?” Sera has you sorted by providing a resale platform exclusively for her clientele. Preloved pieces are carefully curated onto The Reoutfitter Shop, which carries excellent condition second hand fashion. Once an item is sold, proceeds are sent back to you minus a commission for the service.
Sera’s biggest tips for building a more mindful wardrobe? Avoid trends, know your body type and keep tabs on the clothes you reach for every day.
“Try this exercise. At the end of every day, when you’re getting undressed, keep the ones you’ve worn to one side. After a couple of weeks, you should start noticing a pattern forming of the thing you wear and don’t. Challenge yourself to reach into the other sections and ‘shop your closet’. It’s a great way to start wearing more of your existing wardrobe, while becoming familiar with pieces that no longer work for you.”
Biek Speijk, Wardrobe Curator & Artist at Biekaleidoscope
After breaking up with an international design career that saw her working for the likes of Diesel, Haider Ackermann, Lois and G-Star, Biek Speijk moved from Beijing to Singapore and discovered a passion to help women build a more empowered, sustainable wardrobe and lifestyle with Biekaleidoscope.
“Even though my past job came with lots of benefits—like flying around the world for design inspiration—I soon realised it wasn’t aligned with my values of great quality and fit. The overall theme was “more is more” and “as fast as possible” which is the opposite of what I believe in. The amount of waste buying samples just broke my heart!”
Today, Biek is a wardrobe curator and artist who helps you journey toward your true self through your wardrobe. She offers one-on-one Closet Clean Out services that use what she calls the B-method: Being, Becoming Belonging.
“We rediscover who you are from within, and from that point we declutter and analyse your closet and style.” From there, she helps you design your life. “What are your values? What kind of life do you want to have? It’s a full journey toward yourself, and from there I believe you can live your best life.”
She’s also passionate about educating on fits, fabric and finish. “People often believe that they can’t afford something better than Zara. However, this is usually because they’re not aware of their style and don’t see what makes a piece of clothing valuable.”
Biek also offers a smaller service called the Style Personality Test. She analyses your current preferences and wardrobe, and creates a tailored guide with a list of brand recommendations. “These are always smaller, mostly sustainably-minded brands. I launch this service a few times a year, and it’s always sold out quickly.”
During the journey, Biek goes deeper to get to the root of your clothing conundrum. “I’ve learnt that a chaotic closet is usually a symptom of a cluttered mind. I want my process to leave you feeling lighter, happier, more content and more aligned with your values. We don’t just organise your wardrobe; we organise your mind, and therefore your life.
“I’ve learnt that a cluttered closet is usually a symptom of a cluttered mind”
Some of her top tips? Hit the unsubscribe button! “Unsubscribe from newsletters with deals and sales. Unfollow Instagram profiles that make you feel bad about yourself, or make you feel like you need to buy new things to fit in. You don’t! In other words, be mindful of how things make you feel. Anything that makes you feel less than, get it out of your life.”
Debby Kwong, founder of Sortorial
Working in Singapore’s media industry over the last 10 years, fashion editor Debby Kwong would often get asked for styling advice from friends: what to wear and where to shop. This became the basis of her business Sortorial, a solution to help you find versatile pieces, stay organised and get to know your style.
“After working in fashion for almost a decade, I wanted to find a way to have a direct, positive impact on people’s consumption behaviour. Especially after learning more about the impact of fashion, the increasing popularity of luxury fashion and the amount of clothing rotting away in landfill.”
Her services through Sortorial aim to help you #sortoutstyleup. Taking a holistic approach toward conscious consumption and building a more sustainable wardrobe in Singapore, her goal is to help you see what you have, in order to prevent you from buying unnecessarily.
She provides professional services to help you organise and design all parts of your home, including one which helps you take measurements of areas of your spaces, to source the best storage solutions. They also offer personal shopping services when it comes to fashion and beauty.
“We aim to educate you to shop better; to know what works for your body type, lifestyle and skin tone. We also help show how to mix and match items and what sustainable fashion brands are out there, so you don’t make poor choices which can lead to wasting time and money.”
At the heart of Sortorial’s services is also the acknowledgement that we develop a strong attachment to things. “When we’re decluttering, we try to rationalise that keeping pricey clothes that no longer fit do nothing more than take up precious space.”
If items are in good condition, Debby recommends donating or reselling, otherwise pieces could be upcycled or recycled into something new. For items you absolutely don’t want to part with, they’re set aside in a small memories box.
For Debby, the link between a decluttered closet and mental health is real. “A messy closet makes you feel overwhelmed and confused, weighing your mind down and taking up precious time when you’re getting dressed in the morning,” she shares.
“A more defined capsule can create a sustainable wardrobe which gives you clarity and certainty. You don’t waste time agonising over what to wear, so you can do more things that bring you joy.”
Aparna Sundar, founder of Global Mindful Journey
A certified Marie Kondo-trained home organising consultant, Singapore-based Aparna Sundar’s mission is to help you build a more sustainable life and wardrobe. “As a green advocate, my goal is to create space for you to make room for positive connection and stronger relationships.”
The KonMari® Tidying Method is different from traditional organising methods. It’s a self-reflective journey which encourages you to surround yourself with things that spark joy. It also advocates showing respect and gratitude toward the things you own.
“With sustainability being one of the hallmarks of this method, I believe that our belongings are meant to serve us for a long time. They deserve to be well taken care of. Achieving balance between knowing how much is ‘enough’ can help you live a more value-driven lifestyle.
Aparna is a life coach for your home, rather than simply an ‘organiser-of-things’. She works one-on-one with you in your home to facilitate inner calm by creating outer order.
“Tidying is an honest confrontation of your belongings. I help you understand what items bring you happiness, while discarding everything else with gratitude and without guilt. While assisting you to clean, clear and declutter, I help you donate items to various charities I work with.”
Organising with storage solutions is the last step in tidying using the KonMari® Tidying Method. More than 90% of Aparna’s clients have never had to purchase anything new, as she ‘shops’ around your home for effective storage solutions.
Aparna feels the key to a more mindful, sustainable wardrobe is buying fewer, high quality pieces that are versatile and will help you create numerous outfit combinations. “A capsule wardrobe, where everything pairs together, can be really useful.”
She also recommends trying outfits on in store when you can, and really getting in tune with how a piece makes you feel: is it comfortable, ethically-made and versatile? Will you wear it for a long period of time?
If you’re unsure how to style yourself, she recommends hiring an image consultant who will coach you through which outfits work with your body shape and personal style. “We shouldn’t feel embarrassed to ask for help in areas others are experts in!”
Susannah believes better design can help create a brighter future. A former magazine editor, she now runs ZERRIN and works at the intersection of consumers, brands and sustainability advocacy.