The Rise of Sustainable Fashion in Greater Kuala Lumpur: Brands, Designers and Initiatives Leading the Way

26 May 2023

Greater Kuala Lumpur (GKL) is carving out a name for itself as a dynamic hub for sustainable fashion. With its burgeoning eco-conscious businesses and green lifestyle initiatives, the city is fast emerging as a compelling destination for global investors interested in aligning their portfolios with sustainable fashion and sartorial living. Here’s why.

In Vogue: Greater Kuala Lumpur’s Sustainable Shopping Scene

The region’s sustainable shopping sector has various standout aspects:

01. Green Infrastructure 

Greater Kuala Lumpur's (GKL) emerging identity as a sustainable living hub is underpinned by its strategic investments in green infrastructure. The city has channelled significant resources into public transportation, parks, and waste management systems.

According to the Green Building Index (GBI), as of 2023, Malaysia had over 500 registered green building projects, with a significant proportion in GKL. This commitment to green infrastructure enhances residents' quality of life and contributes to a sustainable future.

02. Sustainable fashion industry

GKL’s sustainable fashion industry integrates local communities' talents and artisans' skills into its core. According to Nielsen's Global Sustainability Report 2020, 73% of global consumers would change their consumption habits to reduce environmental impact, and this sentiment echoes among Malaysian consumers as well. Preserving cultural heritage through a fusion of tradition and innovation, the industry presents global investors with a unique and desirable opportunity to make their marks in this region.

03. The rise of eco-conscious consumers

The demand for sustainable fashion in GKL is set to skyrocket, fueled by an increasing population of environmentally conscious consumers. A study by the Malaysian Organic Scheme (SOM) reported a 30% increase in organic product consumption from 2019 to 2022, reflecting increased sustainability awareness. As the number of green shoppers grows, the city presents even more opportunities for investors to support businesses that synergise economic growth with environmental stewardship.
In short, these three factors combine to inform the foundation upon which a vibrant ecosystem of sustainable brands, innovative designers, and impactful initiatives is growing. With this in mind, let's discover the key players shaping GKL's sustainable fashion industry.

Sustainable Clothing Brands

01. The Modest Brand

Renowned for its elegant blend of style and sustainability, The Modest Brand has become a paradigm in Greater Kuala Lumpur's fashion scene.

The brand is driven by a strong commitment to ecological responsibility and social ethics, integrating these principles into its business model. Their clothing line is crafted from organically sourced and recycled materials, demonstrating that style doesn't have to compromise sustainability.

Moreover, the Modest Brand also employs fair trade practices, ensuring fair wages and working conditions for its workers. It’s raising the bar for other brands to follow.

02. Kuelesa


Kuelesa is a vanguard in sustainable fashion, steadfast in its purpose to challenge the fast fashion industry. It turns heads with innovative, eco-friendly activewear designs made primarily from ethically sourced bamboo. The brand began right after its founder left the corporate world and discovered the damaging impact of synthetic fibres such as polyester on the environment.

Today, with the help of a co-founder, Kuelesa aims to increase society’s access to planet-friendly apparel. Its biggest goal: To push more sustainable and diverse textiles at the forefront of the industry, minimise environmental impact, and offset carbon emissions — all while intensifying the spotlight on Southeast Asian craftsmanship.

03. Wustler

Source: Instagram (@wustler)

With its exquisite loungewear and nightwear, Wustler has positioned itself as a beacon of sustainability in the fashion world with its consciously made loungewear and nightwear. The brand cleverly utilises viscose and rayon—semi-synthetic fabrics derived from recycled cellulose fibre—as the primary materials for its collections. These fibres, touted as eco-friendlier alternatives to conventional polyester, underline Wustler's dedication to environmental consciousness.

But Wustler's commitment to sustainability extends beyond its choice of materials. The brand has integrated a give-back philosophy into its business model, pledging to contribute 1% of all sales to the Women’s Environmental Alliance (WEA), a non-profit organisation. This commitment further amplifies Wustler's commitment to environmental stewardship.

Sustainable Fashion Designers

01. Hatta Dolmat

Source: Men's FOLIO

Hatta Dolmat is a titan in the Malaysian fashion industry. A distinguished alumnus of UiTM Shah Alam, Dolmat's journey in fashion spans over a decade, making him a seasoned veteran and a respected figure. Known for his exquisite bridal and couture collections, he has always held a distinct vision for his brand.

With his recent venture into sustainable fashion, Dolmat has demonstrated that high-end luxury and ecological responsibility can walk hand in hand. His campaign against ocean pollution leveraged recycled ocean plastics in his designs, proving that luxury and sustainability can go together.

02. Fern Chua

Source: First Classe 

After surviving a car accident, Fern Chua turned her passion for traditional Malaysian Batik into an award-winning, sustainable fashion brand. The London College of Fashion alum combines traditional Batik techniques with contemporary design, striking a beautiful balance between the old and new. Her brand's zero-waste policy highlights her commitment to sustainability, ensuring every piece of fabric is fully utilised. Chua's approach showcases sustainable fashion as a platform for cultural expression, innovation, and environmental responsibility.

Sustainable Fashion Initiatives

01. Dia Guild

As an e-commerce hub, Dia Guild has successfully fostered a community of ethical designers and artisans, creating a marketplace where sustainability is the norm rather than the exception. Since its launch, the company has seen an impressive increase in unique site visits year-on-year, demonstrating a growing demand for slow fashion. Dia Guild's contribution to the movement is two-fold: Creating a platform for sustainable brands and educating consumers on the benefits and importance of choosing slow fashion.

02. Biji-Biji Initiative

The Biji-Biji Initiative is a progressive social enterprise that champions sustainability. Launched in 2012, it embodies creative innovation and responsible production in Greater Kuala Lumpur. Their fashion line utilises over two tons of discarded seatbelts and advertising banners. This approach reimagines waste as a resource, reducing the ecological footprint of fashion while creating unique accessories. Through engaging workshops and interactive exhibits, Biji-Biji also educates the public about the value of repurposing and circular fashion.

03. Artwist Design

Artwist Design is a notable international brand and design agency based in Greater Kuala Lumpur, renowned for its commitment to sustainability. With over a decade of experience, Artwist has helped brands refine their visions and align with ethical practices. Having collaborated with over 100 brands across 20 countries, they have effectively used their global reach to promote the importance of sustainability. 

With their 360° approach, Artwist assists in product design and development and ensures every step of the process respects people and the planet. Their influence underscores the growing global commitment to ethical and sustainable practices in the fashion industry.

In conclusion, GKL's sustainable fashion scene is flourishing, with brands, designers, and initiatives contributing to a greener city. As a hub for ethical shopping, GKL is a great destination for conscious investment and sustainable living. In this city, business growth and eco-conscious living coexist, reflecting what modern urban lifestyle can be: Eco-friendly and economically scalable.

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