Sera Murphy aka The Reoutfitter is a personal stylist who focuses on sustainability – sustainability for the environment but also for her clients. It isn’t sustainable for clients to continue trying new looks that don’t work for them, or to continue to wear clothes that don’t quite fit into their changing bodies or lifestyles. With 15 years of experience in retail buying, and as a mum of two with seven international moves under her belt, Sera understands and ‘gets’ what purchases will get the best bang for your buck, and last for years!
Her career in fashion began long before “sustainable fashion” was in vogue, but the self-confessed shopaholic admits that it was all she could think about, the longer she remained in the industry. Then, in 2020, she answered her calling as a personal stylist – with a difference.
Fortunately for the denizens of this little island, she arrived in Singapore with her husband at the end of December 2020, bringing her babies (her kids and her business!) with her. Armed with an Apple Watch and a knowledge and passion for swapping, reusing and reselling apparel, she’s now helping individuals rediscover their best selves by revamping not just their wardrobes, but also their shopping habits.
This style saviour may be a decluttering pro but whatever you do, don’t compare her to Marie Kondo. “I don’t believe in throwing away everything that doesn’t ‘spark joy’. I love keeping old things because you just never know when you’ll wear or need something; or you can repurpose it, or reuse it in some other way,” says Sera. “Marie Kondo also addresses the issue of clutter but doesn’t address how decluttering can lead to a destructive amount of waste.”
Sera shares with us her sustainable fashion and style secrets plus her favourite hangouts in Singapore.
When and why did you start your career as a personal stylist focused on sustainable fashion? What was the turning point?
I worked in the fashion industry for 13 years. Ten years ago, I was what you could call a major shopaholic, mostly due to the discounts I got while working for a big retailer in NYC.
I had a nagging guilt from this overconsumption and used swap parties as a way to alleviate that feeling. When I took time off to have kids in 2016, I volunteered for an NGO called Redress Asia in Hong Kong. It was then that I addressed the guilt from my past and realised just how damaging this industry could be. In 2020, I decided to marry my passion for using clothing to make people feel better with this passion for educating people about better shopping habits and started Reoutfitter.
What’s your favourite sustainable fashion boutique in Singapore?
A Vintage Tale in Joo Chiat. It has an amazing selection of curated vintage pieces from all over the world. There’s even some really good designer gems, completely unworn. During non-COVID times, they’ll even serve you some bubbly while you shop. I could live there!
Who’s your style icon and why?
Ashley Olsen, because she’s a fellow petite who doesn’t shy away from more voluminous cuts. I like to break some of those old-school fashion rules around what short people should and shouldn’t wear. I also love Iris Apfel and hope to be a fraction of how fabulous she is at her age.
What’s your top go-to label for clothes that never go out of style?
I would say Theory. Never forget the iconic poplin shirt Jennifer Aniston wore to death in the early 2000s with her jeans – that would look great even today! Theory gets overlooked a lot for “office wear”, but it has some classic basics that will never go out of style and dresses that can work from day to night.
What do you wish people understood more about sustainable fashion?
That there is no way to be 100 percent sustainable when it comes to what we wear. Much like with anything in life, there are varying levels of being sustainable and it’s important to find what option fits for you and the steps you’re willing to take. It could be as simple as getting something fixed to re-wear. Or it could be as complicated as only buying sustainable fabrics. It could even be washing your clothes less often!
One really good way to start is to stop buying from fast fashion retailers where possible, and choose second-hand or investment pieces instead. Awareness is the first step.
What’s your one advice to women who want to up their style game?
Invest in one piece at a time! My favourite “style game upper” is a gold chunky-hoop earring. If you can find one that’s a good size for your face, and bold enough to stand out but not overwhelm, you can wear the piece daily and it will instantly elevate your look, even if your clothes may not be big investments. Pieces like this will help you realise the value of “cost per wear”, and you’ll be open to investing in other pieces later. Complete this sentence: When I’m not working, I can be found… Exploring Singapore with my two kids! We love going for a bike ride along the river, playing at the beach and frequenting all the amazing kid-friendly activities here.
Favourite spot in Singapore to get inspired?
Dairy Farm Nature Reserve. I’m originally from Seattle, Washington in the US, which is surrounded by greenery, water and mountains. Dairy Farm also has all three elements. Whenever I need a break, I love to get back into nature and be reminded of just how amazing the earth is. It helps me to remember why sustainability is so important.
Sera offers two services. The Closet Reoutfit is just around your existing wardrobe, while The Full Reoutfits – her most popular service – is wardrobe plus shopping. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
thereoutfitter.com | IG: @thereoutfitter
This article first appeared in the December 2021 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy