Sustainable Fashion: A Boy Named Sue
How a book inspired two friends to start an online store that installs integrity and honesty back to fashion
To put it diplomatically, online shopping in Hong Kong is restricted mainly to websites such as Net-a-Porter and ShopBop, while eco-fashion is simply a term that most consumers puzzle over. For Samantha Wong and Tania Reinert, however, there is no reason why those two terms can’t be combined, and made local.
As with most entrepreneurs, Wong and Moscow-born Reinert started their online store called A Boy Named Sue after they saw a lapse in what they were looking for in the market, prompting them to embark on a mission to bring wearable eco-fashion to Hong Kong and the world.
Design and materials play a major part in most fashion brands, but they are merely the building blocks at A Boy Named Sue. The rest of the equation rests on functionality, sustainability and education.
“Eco-fashion has always been regarded as a very conceptual thing, we want to bring it down to reality where people can actually wear it on a day-to-day basis,” said Wong, whose fashion blog SamIsHome.com has garnered an impressive following in the virtual world. “Some people take random pieces of garments and sew them into a ball gown dress and I think to myself ‘Who’s possibly going to wear that?’”
The duo are not textile designers by trade. In other words, they require help from the others. After searching intensively online, they managed to persuade 11 designers from the US, the UK, Germany and Denmark, all with their own forte, to help them complete the perfect sustainable triangle that Wong and Reinert invented.
One of them is Australian-born designer Belinda Pasqua. Her cropped leather biker jackets under the label The Sway are made from 100 percent reclaimed leather, handmade in a certified sustainable factory in Pakistan, then fully lined with 100 percent recycled cotton. The hangtags and packaging are also created from fully recycled paper and cotton. Which place the jackets within a closed waste loop – nothing is put into waste.
Explaining what their perfect triangle is, Reinert said the three corners of the triangle are eco, social and local, and education is key. “Eco is the material that [designers] use, social is essentially the working conditions of the labourer, while local is something we wish to do in the future,” said Reinert. “We wish to work with local Hong Kong designers and educate them on how to work with eco-materials and how to rethink their production process in the future. Our ultimate goal is also to educate the consumers.”
The mission was conceived when the two friends read Lucy Siegle’s book To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World?, which details out everything from production to the consumption level in the fashion realm.
“It was such a shock to see how our clothes are made, it’s really sad that people don’t know this and how we just go through life buying clothes with no regard for the integrity of what a garment has,” said Wong. “We want to bring that integrity and honesty back to fashion.”
But how can A Boy Named Sue unravel the deadlock in Hong Kong’s e-commerce? “Aside from the shop, we are an online magazine with tatler_stories that helps connect people outside of their nine-to-five work,” said Reinert. “We interview designers and bring everyone together to see how we select and style our collection. It’s a people business.”
Step by step, Wong and Reinert wish to connect and create a community of women who love clothes, enabling eco-designers to get their deserved recognition and funding from these ladies.
If you wish to learn more about sustainable fashion or just meet the two lovely ladies behind A Boy Named Sue, here your chance. Wong and Reinert will be opening a pop-up store in a new gallery, Time & Space in Sai Ying Pun on November 15.
For more information on its designers, please visit: aboynamedsue.co
A Boy Named Sue Pop-up Store
Date: November 15, 2012
Time: 6:30pm to 9pm (Special lunch event from12noon to 3pm)
Venue: Shop 5, 6-24 Po Tuck Street, Sai Ying Pun