How Style Can Be Sustainable, According To Ashepa's Founder | Clozette


It's no secret that living a sustainable lifestyle requires more effort. You have to be more discerning about the products you buy, research about brands and their supply chain, limit your consumption of cheap, trendy items or maybe give it up altogether and more. But even so, it doesn't have to be a burden. For example, there are simple ways you can take to create a more sustainable wardrobe. To help us with this endeavour, we talked to Chetna Bhatt, the founder of sustainable lifestyle brand Ashepa.


Known for their uniquely designed accessories and bags, Ashepa also offers homeware and other handmade home decors. They collaborate directly with artists in Africa to create beautiful items that are truly one-of-a-kind. Ahead, our interview with Chetna Bhatt about what it means to have a sustainable brand and her tips on how we can live a sustainable lifestyle. 


Chetna Bhatt Founder Of Ashepa


What made you decide to go the sustainable route?


I have always had a passion for beautiful artisan pieces but realised I didn't know anything about the products or the persons behind them. So when I started Ashepa, one of my goals was to let the consumer know about the person behind every item and know where it was made. I want them to know that there is a human behind every piece. It was also important to me that the people we worked with earned a fair wage to provide better livelihoods for their families and are able to pass on their craft to the next generation. To me, sustainability must also include economic and social equity objectives.


What does it mean to be a sustainable brand?



A sustainable brand sets out to have a meaning or purpose that goes beyond financial results and is constantly seeking to increase the well-being of humanity and all life on our planet. This includes everything from labour practices to the environmental impact of their production. It sees people as activists, not consumers. And it understands the lifecycle and environmental impact of all its activities so that it can seek to continuously innovate and reduce its impact.


How can consumers identify brands that are "greenwashing"?


The reality is that for some businesses it's all about numbers and money and people measure a successful business based on that rather than the impact it is having. To identify and avoid brands who do 'greenwashing', you can go to the company's website and see if the information on the product is thorough. If the information is vague or they are making huge claims that should ring alarm bells. Consumers should feel at liberty to ask where their product comes from. It is also the brand's responsibility to be more transparent about their supply chain so that the end-user feels they are well-informed about the product.


How does Ashepa ensure sustainable production and ethical sourcing?


As we are a small business, we are not officially Fair-trade-certified yet, but we practice the same values. Our artisans are paid a fair wage and that means they get paid over the local minimum wage which provides them with a higher income than what they would normally earn. We work directly with the artisans and there are no middle people.


Ashepa


Secondly, all our pieces are made from locally sourced and eco-friendly materials. Our jewellery is made in Kenya from upcycled brass. The handbags and some baskets are made from a natural plant material called Raffia. We have recently introduced a range of baskets that are made from certified cotton, too. For me it wasn’t a question about implementing ethical practices, it had to happen and that was one of our core beliefs. 



What's your advice for people who want to live a more sustainable lifestyle?


It is virtually impossible to be 100 per cent sustainable but you can start by trying to be with what you buy. Ask yourself if you're going to use that piece to its full worth. Next, make the effort to look for brands that are environmentally, socially and economically responsible. Look for brands that are transparent in their production line. Always shop slow by shopping for high-quality and timeless designs that will last you a long time. You can also consider renting clothes, which allows you to still be trendy but lessen the impact on landfills. Lastly, be creative and repurpose pieces that you own!



In your opinion, what trends are sustainable? Which ones should we avoid?


Vintage fashion to me can be worn at anytime and passed onto generations because of the high-quality workmanship and materials used in it. As for trends to avoid, I'd say those that are using PVC and plastic. Some high-end designers have used these in their collections, but I'm not a big fan of the material as it has negative environmental impacts.



Do you think the future of fashion is sustainable?


Chetna Bhatt Founder Of Ashepa


I think a sustainable future for fashion is definitely possible. People craving sustainable clothing now than ever before. As mentioned, it is impossible to be 100 per cent sustainable but steps can be taken to get as close to it. Since consumers are the ones who power the fashion industry, the most effective way we can push for a more sustainable future is by transforming our consumption habits. This means adopting a mindful approach, that looks beyond instant gratification and towards long-term impact. 


Do you have a piece of clothing or accessory that you've owned forever?


Yes, I definitely do. However, it isn't actually something I bought — it was my mum's. It's an electric blue pencil skirt that she wore in the 1980s that I absolutely fell in love with and a matching silver-plated earrings. The materials and finishing on these were perfect and timeless.


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We all love form-fitting outfits that enhance our figures and make us feel sexy. But sometimes, we can’t help but want comfier pieces that give us a bit more freedom to move. For lazy days that call for these, oversized clothes are your best friends. Check out how the ladies from the Clozette Community style their oversized obsessions for a completely laidback look.



Brightly coloured


Woman wearing a brightly-coloured oversized outfit
(Photo from: HazelStyleWitch)


Daring denim


Woman wearing an oversized denim jacket
(Photo from: shanegallano)



Travel easy


Woman wearing an oversized shirt
Woman wearing an oversized shirt
Woman wearing an oversized shirt
(Photo from: Camillepujalte)





Formally casual


Woman wearing an oversized outfit
(Photo from: sharniehung)



Down to a Tee


Woman wearing a white oversized t-shirt
(Photo from: axdelwen)


(Cover photo from: sharniehung)



Next, do the '80s fashion right with these tips.

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How’s your Monday going? If you’re in need of a boost for the incoming days, then you’re in the right place! Have a little pick-me-up by reading up on the hottest bites that occurred while you were getting your weekend rest. From Kylie Jenner’s daughter Stormi getting her own clothing line to VMA drama, here are just some of the most intriguing updates that will get you through the week.



Kylie Jenner’s daughter might just be the next fashion mogul with Stormi World


A screenshot of Kylie Jenner's IG story teasing STormi World clothing line with a blue tie-dyed hoodie for kids

(Photo from:  @kyliejenner)


Yes, that’s right — Stormi’s very own clothing line seems to be coming up soon. Through her IG stories last week, Kylie Jenner posted a photo of a small blue tie-dyed hoodie featuring a cloud print with the phrase “Stormi World”. “Who’s ready for Stormi merch?” the beauty mogul teased her fans with a text overlay on the photo. With Kylie Cosmetics expanding with a nail and baby collection, big things seem to be in store for this mother-and-daughter duo. 


Amanda Seyfried gives us a Mean Girls throwback with a cover of Taylor Swift’s Mean



It may have been released 15 years ago, but Mean Girls remains one of the most iconic chick flicks beloved by all. And who better serve us major nostalgic feels but the actresses who played Karen Smith herself? Amanda Seyfried made an appearance last week at the Williamstown Theatre Festival to sing a duet with Ashley Park, who played Gretchen Wieners in the Broadway version of the film. The duo sang a cover of Taylor Swift’s Mean with a twist, sprinkled the song with tons of references to the movie. How many of your fave lines have you spotted?



James Charles just shared his DMs with major celebs for a video



In this weekend’s video, James Charles DM-ed 100 celebrities to pick the products he would use for his makeup routine and decided to share the messages. What’s shocking about this is that a lot actually replied, including Rihanna, Kim K, Millie Bobbie Brown and so on, and they actually offered super great advice.  While it was exciting watching James Charles do his own unique look for the video, it was also equally interesting to see how celebs chat in private. 



Is Miley Cyrus shading the MTV VMAs on Instagram?



MTV’s Video Music Awards nominations were released a few days back. Sadly for Miley, she didn’t make the cut and wasn’t part of the few who are now being voted for by MTV viewers. Drama ensued when fan account @mileycyrusedition complained on Instagram, saying, “Guess I’m not watching the VMAS this year unless Miley performs.” Miley herself has commented “No f***in way” to the said post, which could most likely mean she won’t perform in the awards show. As always, looks like this year’s VMAs will be full of drama and we’ll be just right here waiting for tea to spill.



Nafura’s Alpine Snow White Skincare Range is finally here


Alpine Snow White Skincare Range

Alpine Snow White Skincare Range


Celebrity news aside, something equally exciting is coming up for skincare junkies in the region. Known to offer formulas that suit the needs of a modern woman, Malaysian beauty brand Nafura is releasing their Alpine Snow White Skincare Range this week. Made with seven plant extracts cultivated in the Swiss Alps, the all-new Alpine Snow White Serum and Alpine Snow White Moisturiser will help boost your complexion’s radiance.  Achieve your skin goals and get them online or at Health Lane Family Pharmacy stores and authorised distributors nationwide, in Brunei and in Singapore starting this 1 August.


(Cover photo from:  @kyliejenner)



Didn’t catch last week’s news? Read all about it here.

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