While we might not be jetting off anywhere this year, Singapore’s year round humidity means summer dresses and resort wear are always in our wardrobe rotation. As the mid-year months get hotter, we’re reaching for floaty dresses in breathable materials that are cool, comfortable and chic.
The good news? There’s a range of incredible designs out there that combine aesthetics and ethics. This curation of 8 summer dresses are made by sustainable fashion brands that prioritise environmental protection and fair trade standards; from producing using natural, biodegradable fibres to empowering artisan craft in developing countries.
1. The Puff Sleeve Midi Dress | Whispers & Anarchy
Crafted in BCI (Better Cotton Initiative) certified cotton, this relaxed midi dress is one you’ll reach for time and time again. Featuring a tiered design with an asymmetric high-low hem, it billows beautifully behind you as you walk. This piece is designed in Singapore and crafted ethically in Bali. Believing that clothes should be fairly made every step of the way, Whispers & Anarchy designs bring together a love for travel, the founder’s Spanish heritage and South-East Asian lifestyle.
Shop | $155
Available in sizes S through to L.
2. Hibiscusy Summer Tencel Dress | Sui
This floral kaftan dress by India-based label Sui is crafted in soft Tencel, a brand name for a type of lyocell fabric made from dissolving wood pulp and a special drying process called spinning. We love the intricate floral print, which is hand block printed using azo-free (no chemical) dyes. Sui, which means ‘needle’ in Hindi, are on a mission to make sustainability fun and accessible, while bridging the gap between nature and fashion.
Shop | $115
Available in sizes XS to XL.
3. Swing Shirtdress in Navy Floral | Tove & Libra
This whimsical dress has a smart edge thanks to the shirt silhouette, yet is loose at the waist allowing for easy movement. Made from 100% upcycled cotton fabric with mother-of-pearl buttons, this versatile piece by Hong Kong-based label Tove & Libra looks equally at home by the beach as it does in the city. Oh, and of course it has pockets!
Shop | $178
Available in sizes XS to M.
4. The Elsa Dress | Su By Hand
This exquisite dress is crafted in 100% cotton and hand-dyed using artisanal shibori techniques in natural madder root, sourced from Living Blue, a Bangladesh social enterprise. We love the fact that no two are alike. Being a slow fashion label, each piece by Su by Hand is crafted with attention to quality and comfort in premium fabrication.
Shop | $225
5. Hasina Pink Maxi Dress | Aanya
This pink printed maxi dress is light, airy and oh-so wearable for both casual and dressy occasions. A luxe design with a bohemian edge, this is one piece you’ll reach for again and again! Hong Kong-based fashion label Aanya Life’s boho designs are playful and oh-so feminine. From sassy jumpsuits to flowing maxi dresses, each piece is ethically produced in India.
Shop | $220
Available in sizes S/M and M/L
6. Linen Relaxed Shirt Dress | Esse
You’ll feel 100% effortless in this classic shirt dress. It’s crafted in a relaxed silhouette from one of the world’s most biodegradable fabrics, linen, made from the resilient flax plant. The material for this piece and its production takes place in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Ethical label Esse is on a mission to redefine our relationship with our clothes. They create beautiful investment pieces that are thoughtfully-made and merge timeless design with eco and social responsibility.
Shop | $149
Available in sizes XS, M and L.
7. Leila Dress in Indigo | Wray Crafted
This 100% cotton bandhani maxi dress is dyed in rich indigo blue by artisans in Jaipur. Featuring an adjustable waist and a maxi length, this is the perfect casual and comfortable weekend attire. A celebration of the rich culture and heritage of India, all of Wray Crafted’s designs are made in limited batches alongside artisan communities.
Shop | $145
Available in sizes S to XL
8. Patte Maxi in Turquoise | Maisha Concept
This light and airy cotton maxi has a unique pattern inspired by Havelis; traditional townhouses and mansions in India. With a tiered design that skims beautifully over your body, it can easily be dressed up with heels or down with your favourite trainers! The word Maisha means ‘giving life’ in Swahili. Through their hand crafted designs in rich and bright fabrics, this label aims to resurrect and celebrate the heritage and skill of artisans and textile manufacturers across the world.
Shop | $195
Available in sizes XS/S and M/L
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.