Fast fashion has contributed to textile waste around the world, with over 92 million tonnes of textile waste generated yearly. If this isn’t shocking enough, almost 6 in 10 garments that we purchase will eventually end up in landfills. As more and more fast fashion brands pop up around the world, such as Shein and FashionNova, the planet is dying at a faster rate than ever. You might argue that fast fashion brands such as Cotton On and H&M have introduced their new eco-friendly range-but let’s call a spade a spade.
To combat this issue, there are some artisanal fashion brands in the market which promote sustainable manufacturing practices and fair wages for employees. One of these brands is Diaguild, a brand founded by 3 Malaysian friends. During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the retail industry was badly affected, and small fashion designers and artisan brands were the hardest hit. Knowing that the livelihood of many artisan designers were at stake, they decided to heed their calling to preserve ancient artisanal craftsmanship techniques.
Hence, Diaguild was started as an online platform selling artisan clothing, accessories and home decor from artisan designers all over Southeast Asia. Since then, reception has been positive, and their popular pieces, such as the FERN Palm Leaves Multiway Pareo in Wisdom Green, and the majority of the bags in the Putri S line are sold out.
Here are some of our editor’s picks:
Corsets which have a long history in fashion, spanning hundreds of decades back to the 1600 BC, are becoming trendy again. Instead of buying a cheap and flimsy corset from a fast fashion outlet, why not opt for a form-fitting garment like a Milly Corset? These corsets come in a wide variety of colours, namely, brown, red and grey, and they are exclusive to Dia. Manufactured with spiral boning instead of plastic, they are extremely durable and sturdy, providing better support for your body. Featuring interesting and intricate motifs, they are also very versatile, and they can be worn with a pair of high-waisted jeans, or a midi-skirt and a pair of simple earrings.
When you purchase one of these corsets made from upcycled kimonos, you are helping disadvantaged refugees as well as asylum seekers from Life2Life El Shaddai rebuild their lives.
Norah Wrap Top in Blue by Rosa Supra
The founder of Rosa Supra, is a lawyer by profession, and the name of the brand is a latin word commonly used as a legal terminology, which means “above” and “beyond”. This elegant piece partially handwoven by elderly Thai farmers, is the epitome of Rosa Supra, which has a low V-neckline and a cinched waist, fitting for a dinner party with friends or a formal occasion such as a boardroom meeting. The inspiration from this top comes from a mythological half-bird, half-human creature in Thai literature, charming and feisty, with the balloon sleeves bearing some resemblance to the wings of this mysterious life form. Accessorise it with a pair of jeans and a clutch bag and you will look immaculate and classy.
Looking for sustainable office wear? The black and white version of the KARLA Shirt would be perfectly suited for offices with strict dress codes, whereas, the luminescent petrol blue and shiny pink versions are ideal for social gatherings. The button down back adds an interesting touch to the entire look. You can coordinate it with a pair of jeans for a smart casual look or wear it to the office with a pair of tapered or flared trousers. It also works well as a jacket layered over a camisole, tank top or spaghetti top. Proceeds of the sale will help to support the livelihoods of elderly ladies who make cheongsams for a living.
Eva Dress in Silver Grey by Kemissara
Do you want to dress sustainably in style? You can’t go wrong with Kemissara’s designs, which have been worn by Lisa from Blackpink, lead rapper of the iconic Kpop group. This dual-toned halter dress with contrasting textures is resplendent and comfortable at the same time. For a graceful and stylish look, the fabric belt helps to cinch your waist and flatter your figure. If you are going for a more flamboyant vibe, wear this dress without a belt. Become the Belle of the ball or the Talk of the town with this gorgeous dress!
Voluminous, flowy and eye-catching-this Brooklyn skirt has very well-defined pleats and bright colours. As part of Khoon Hooi’s Birds of the City collection, the unique piece comes with a stretchy waistband and it makes a good ensemble together with the Khoon Hooi Taylor Top . If you are loud, playful and full of exuberance like Khoon Hooi, this skirt will reflect your bubbly personality.
We hope you have enjoyed the list of outfits specially curated for you! Diaguild offers worldwide shipping and Malaysian readers can use the code “MYDIA10” for 10% off all orders within Malaysia. If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, Diaguild has a 7 day return policy for undamaged and unused items.
Besides shopping on Diaguild, you can read more about their artisanship journeys on their blog, as well as many interesting articles to educate yourself about Southeast Asian fashion. To find out more, click on Local Clothing Brand | Handmade Gifts | Malaysian Fashion Brands (diaguild.com). You can also follow them on Instagram or Facebook to keep up with the latest trends in sustainable Southeast Asian fashion.