By: Cherylene Chan
If you’re just as passionate about helping the environment as you are about looking stylish, we’ve found two brands that offer the best of both worlds. Zhai and Santorini, which have recently come together under the same oh-so-green umbrella, are local labels that offer chic collections that only feature natural fabrics. While you can shop for Zhai online (Santorini is coming soon!), it’s worth popping along to Haji Lane to try the ultra-comfortable pieces on for yourselves.
Fancy a sneaky peek at the clothes on offer at Zhai boutique? Thrilled to find local labels with a conscience, we headed along to the boutique for a photographic tour with Zhai‘s creative and managing director Danielle Champagne.
Since hitting the racks in 2009, Zhai has been making waves as one of the very first eco-friendly brands in Singapore. We’re talking seriously well-made basics – soft, figure-skimming separates, roomy, all-in-black looks and slip-on dresses made with organic bamboo fibres. Free of pesticides and coloured with non-toxic azo-free dyes, Zhai‘s gear is gentle on the environment and your body (as well as safe for the people who lovingly make them). Discover more about the benefits here, if you like!
Since joining Zhai as its sister brand, Santorini has started embracing the green movement too. Steering away from synthetic fabrics, its breezy, colourful pieces are largely 100 percent linen. Unlike Zhai‘s classic vibe, Santorini goes for a playful-yet-timeless feel with bright prints and intricate embroidery.
Although you may wish to live in Zhai‘s bamboo basics, the boutique also offers eco-friendly togs for every occasion. Among the variety of green (in theory rather than colour!) designs are office-friendly skirts, smart tops, flattering frocks, and stretchy exercise gear. They even have a small collection of bamboo and cotton-blend basic tees for chaps. The designs are timeless and sleek – easy to pair with statement pieces or for layers in cooler temperatures. Zhai also includes a range of funky handmade jewellery and bags – each fashioned from sustainable materials like wood and recycled materials.
On the second floor, Santorini‘s racks of cheerful colours will catch your eye. If you have some upcoming Chinese New Year parties to dress up for, look out for their bold red range and stunning floral cheongsams. We also love their beach-ready kaftans, as well as their line of soft scarves that can be artfully tied into all sorts of different tops.
What are the cool benefits of natural fibres? Besides being biodegradable, bamboo and flax (the plant that produces linen) are rain-fed and need less water to grow than cotton, which requires over 1,500 liters of water to produce enough fabric for a simple shirt. Yowzers! Both materials are feather-light and suited to wicking away moisture, which helps us keep cool and (relatively) sweat-free in Singapore. Those with sensitive skin will be chuffed to know that they’re hypo-allergenic too.
On top of helping our Earth stay healthy and happy, Zhai and Santorini opt to work with fair trade partners whenever possible. That means the hardworking folks who make the clothes get the treatment and wages they deserve. With such devotion to making a change, it’s not difficult to see why this Haji Lane boutique is so popular among conscientious shoppers in Singers.
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