A new web and mobile platform for ethically-minded fashionistas has launched for the Asia Pacific market.
Based in Singapore and founded and funded by Deutsche Bank financier Tony K Tan, Smthgood aims to appeal to female shoppers who are increasingly concerned about the environmental and social footprint of the garment industry.
Billed as the first of its kind in the region, the site is an online marketplace for trading eco clothing brands, which are included based on what the garments are made of, how they’re made, and their impact on communities and the environment.
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Labels that trade on the platform include Thai brand Thamon, which uses fallen leaves instead of leather to make bags, and Outfyt from Singapore, which makes clothing from fish nets and fabric scraps.
Users can earn rewards by posting and sharing their own styles of green fashion brands using an editor tool called Lookbooks. The tool is based on the belief that shoppers are more likely to make a purchase if they’re inspired and influenced by the design choices of others, according to Tan.
“Our objective is to speak not just to consumers who are already ethically minded, but also to those who are curious and want to learn more,” he told Eco-Business.
Smthgood launches at a time of growing eco-minded consumerism in the region, and will compete with the likes of secondhand goods site Carousell, Singapore-based fashion marketplace Zerrin, and Malaysia eco-products platform Poptron. A 2021 study by research firm Ipsos found that consumers’ concern about climate change and the need for brands to align with good causes is more pronounced in Southeast Asia than other parts of the world.
Tan pointed to a 2021 study by Stern School of Business that found that green products, which account for only 17 per cent of the market overall, have grown 2.7 times faster than conventional products since 2015. He also noted that shoppers are now more driven by purpose than price.
The fashion industry is among the world’s most polluting industries. It consumes up to 200 trillion litres of water every year, accounts for about 10 per cent of global emissions, and the polyester in clothes makes up between 20 per cent and 35 per cent of microplastic pollution in the ocean.
Major e-commerce sites have been trying to cash in on the growing interest in sustainable fashion brands with schemes to help consumers shop for greener brands. Amazon now flags the more eco-friendly products on its website. Alibaba-owned player Lazada was called out for greenwashing last year when it launched a promotion for “less or better” plastic products an Earth Day. The products labelled “eco” included disposable razors and polyester t-shirts.