Sustainable, genderless kidswear: This Singaporean mum's designs go the extra mile
“Our minimalist unisex apparel and accessories are designed for versatility and hyper functionality," said Young by Graye's Xie Qian Qian.
All parents know that clothes for young children can only ever last a few months before it’s time to shop again. Of course, it’s wonderful that your child is growing well but after the initial couple of years of excited shopping for adorable little clothes, having to buy a new wardrobe every few months starts to become a little more arduous, expensive and even wasteful, if the clothes aren’t passed on to another child.
Enter Young by Graye’s sustainable and functional range of children’s clothes that aim to disrupt the unwritten rules of kids’ fashion. As a mum of a young toddler, Graye co-founder and creative director Xie Qian Qian, 30, who started unisex fashion label Graye with her husband, Calvin Sim, 30, found the need to repeatedly organise and swap out clothes unsustainable and wanted to create a range for kids that could stand the test of time.
“At Graye, we champion sustainability and inclusivity with a focus on fabric and cut. We advocate a contemporary slow living lifestyle. Our minimalist unisex apparel and accessories are designed for versatility and hyper functionality while converging eastern and western elements,” explained Xie.
Adhering to the brand’s 3R concept of recreate, reflect and revive, the brand is designed for everyday wear, featuring classics that are functional, comfortable and chic.
Our onesies can be transformed into tees to extend its lifespan, at no additional cost.
But why adopt a minimalist approach to a children’s line which is often synonymous with colour and cuteness? “This increases its wearability for an extended period and is thus more sustainable. We create unisex and versatile designs as we believe in utilising our design and technical skills to develop the products further, for it to serve more than one function,” said Xie.
With greater awareness of the serious impact the fashion industry has on the environment, more fashion companies and consumers are becoming increasingly receptive and supportive of the drive towards sustainable fashion.
“Fashion is unarguably a wasteful industry with overproduction and promoting overconsumption. To reduce our impact, adopting more sustainable approach from design to packaging to the whole business model, has always been a conscious effort since the beginning,” she said.
MAKE AND MEND TO EXTEND
The kidswear label also has a "make and mend" policy where old pieces of clothing are revived at the brand’s newly revamped lab store at Wheelock Place.
“Our onesies can be transformed into tees to extend its lifespan, at no additional cost. And for a small fee, cute patchworks and prints can be hot-pressed into our kid’s clothing pieces to customise it according to our customer’s preference,” she expressed.
The brand invites parents and kids to the store to discover how to revive and prolong the lifecycle of their clothes through repairing and customisation. “Adopting this ‘make and mend’ practice instils our sense of responsibility towards living a more sustainable lifestyle," she added.
While roomier than the usual onesies, our designs are not overly baggy to ensure safety.
When asked how safe the oversized onesies are for young children, Xie explained that safety was a key consideration when designing the onesies.
“Firstly, the cut of the onesie is crucial. We sampled multiple times to get the right proportions especially at the neck and thigh openings. Achieving the right proportions for these openings allow the baby to feel snug despite the looser body fit. While roomier than the usual onesies, our designs are not overly baggy to ensure safety,” she said.
The material is also very important and Young by Graye’s range is made of cupro cotton blend with lycra that gives the fabric a supple drape and stretch. The choice of fabric ensures that the onesies are easy to get in and out while also feeling smooth and comfortable on the skin.
The slightly roomier fit of their onesies also allows them to be easily redesigned into children’s tees. “The bottom part of the onesie is cut off and the hem is professionally finished," said Xie.
As part of the brand’s complimentary service to encourage sustainable living, parents can drop off their child’s onesie pieces at the lab store with any special instructions they may have on the alteration. Embellishments such as patchworks and prints, ranging from S$0.50 to S$5, can be added to customise the altered piece to fit the child’s personality. In no time, what was once a garment that a child has outgrown becomes a new personalised tee for the growing child.