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Hi there!

Guess what?  I  discovered something new. I gave in to rescued fabrics and organic cotton. Because it is an amazing thing to put your money into.

Rescued fabrics are great because they are given a second chance to create something out of them instead of throwing them away.

But organic cotton? It is the softest fabric  EVER (okay, cashmere might be softer, but I can’t wear it in Singapore ’cause it’s too hot!) and the benefits surrounding the use of it are amazing.

 There is a sustainable fashion brand from Singapore that uses rescued fabrics and organic cotton, and also other natural fabrics.. Its called Esse and it is a very  special one.

I feel like all sustainable fashion brands are special in their own way, but with Esse it was love at first sight. Their delicate, minimalistic design, their beautiful photography, the  ethical fabric sourcing and the amazing quality of the garments they make really got my attention.
rescued fabrics, organic cotton

The first time I saw a design from Esse was browsing through ZERRIN, my favorite online shop for conscious brands. Then I got curious and started the stalking process… checked their website, their Instagram, Facebook…

Everything looked perfect. Design and quality focused with a conscious approach.

Right up my street.

But there was something else. The brand has this relaxed, effortless chic vibe that makes you want to try on everything they’ve got to offer.

And that is exactly what I did!

I saw on their website that they have open studio days. So I made an appointment and visited the studio, had a great time with Alicia, the founder,  trying on everything I liked and left with 3 new additions to my wardrobe (two of them made of 100% organic cotton and the other one made of rescued cotton) and a smile on my face.

Because this is what I discovered:rescued fabrics, organic cotton

THE BRAND

The name Esse, is derived from Latin, meaning ‘exist’ or ‘to be’. It is a word that invites consumers to look inwards, to be aware and discerning. Alicia chose that name because she wanted to invite people to approach fashion differently. To think about the way they interact with their garments and inspire them to consider their garment’s purpose and life cycle.
Esse’s goal is to create a fashion label that has a holistic and conscious approach during the full production process, from the sustainable materials like tencel, bamboo and 100% organic cotton that they use, to the seamstresses that they work with in Ho Chi Minh, to the quality of the products.
By communicating this to her customers and being transparent every step of the way, she can help them make more informed buying decisions, and become more aware about their purchasing choices.

WHO MAKES THEIR CLOTHES?

Their factory or studio( as they like to call it), is located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, in a shophouse. It currently is not certified, as they like to work with small batch producers because they believe  it is the best way to  supports the local community. Esse’s  team is composed of five experienced seamstresses that oversee everything from pattern drafting, sample making, grading and production.
More info about their studio and the seamstresses can be found hererescued fabrics, organic cotton

THE FABRICS

Esse uses  “rescued fabrics” and natural fabrics like bamboo, tencel or organic cotton for their creations, which translates into a minimal environmental impact as natural fabrics are biodegradable.

Rescued fabrics are ones that were over-ordered by fabric warehouses or factories and that would otherwise be discarded and end up in the landfills.

From the natural fabrics, organic cotton is my favorite and I think deserves a special mention. 

Organic cotton is harvested without the use of harmful pesticides that are toxic and can poison the fauna, the farmers and even the people living in the surrounding area, as water supply can be easily contaminated from runoff. There are tons of studies on how harmful the use of pesticides is and how they are the cause of severe illnesses in the areas where the cotton fields are harvested.

 But if you don’t want to read, go watch True Cost on Netflix to get an idea of how this practice affects the fashion industry. It is a great documentary. 

Organic cotton is a great alternative to regular cotton  because not only is it better for the planet, but also for your skin and for your wardrobe. You will benefit of a higher quality piece that will last a long time and that won’t alter your skin.

– Alter my skin? Huh?

Yes, the harsh chemicals used to harvest the cotton don’t just disappear when the fabric is made. They stay there and can even increase with the use of industrial dyes.  If you have sensitive skin you might have noticed how your skin itches when you are wearing certain clothes… Some people even get rushes.

And that’s why.

Organic cotton is a much more sustainable alternative among natural fabrics.  And it is oh so soft! Such a big difference with regular cotton…rescued fabrics, organic cotton

THE DESIGN

Since my interest for sustainable fashion started growing, I noticed that one thing that many of sustainable fashion brands have in common is that they make casual wear.

And one thing that got my attention from Esse is that I can actually wear their clothes to the office!

I work in an office environment were jeans and casual clothes are not allowed, they don’t even do casual Fridays. I do wear sneackers often, but I have to compensate with the rest of the outfit and dress it up a bit. So dressing to go to office  from brands that I’d be proud of wearing is usually a struggle.

Esse’s pieces are minimalistic, with a sleek patterns and neutral colors. They are easy to wear and to dress up or down. Which makes them a bliss to combine with other pieces of your wardrobe.

The organic cotton kimono is the one I’m wearing in these pictures and  is my favorite piece. It is so soft and cozy that I love wearing it as a gown at home. But i have also worn it to the office as a layered vest too. Love its versatility! 

THE FOUNDER

The girl boss behind the brand is Alicia Tsi, a lovely Singaporean that learnt how to sew when she was a kid and decided to pursue her dream by taking night courses in fashion design while working full time. She eventually quit her job  in fashion retail and started her own brand.

Esse is her second fashion label, and her best approach to transparency and sustainability. After educating herself in fabric quality and the environmental impact of the fashion industry, it is safe to say that she knows what she is doing…

She has a positive view on the future of fashion, as she believes that the fashion industry started to become more aware about its impact on the environment, and more brands are now incorporating elements of sustainability in all aspects of the supply chain.
For Alicia, the next step would be to educate consumers and democratise sustainability so that it becomes mainstream, because consumers play a very big role, and can be the catalyst of change by ‘voting’ with their purchasing decision. This is something I personally believe in, and you can read here more about how we, as consumers, have the power to become decision makers.rescued fabrics, organic cotton

WHERE TO SHOP

There are three great places to shop Esse in Singapore. Their website, their studio and ZERRIN.

The Esse studio is a lovely place to visit and in my opinion the space Alicia has for Esse captures the essence of the brand perfectly. It’s a minimal space that transmits a calmed  and “slow” feeling that I personally love to have when I shop.

Alicia was kind enough to offer a discount code for Tropikelle’s readers. Enter ELISA20 at check out to enjoy a 20% discount on your purchases. Full disclaimer: I don’t get anything from it, this is all just for you (and for me when I buy again!)

If you are in town don’t miss the chance to make an appointment with Alicia. Visiting the studio gives you the opportunity of meeting her, learning more about her adventure on sustainable fashion and the beautiful garments that she makes.

Bonus: If you are lucky like me you can also take a peek of the remaining pieces from her previous collections  which  she has on sale with big discounts. I got a beautiful shirt dress made from rescued cotton fabric that I’ve been wearing to office non stop!

If you want to see more pictures of the pieces I got and how I style them follow @tropikelle on Instagram and Facebook 

 

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