Beyond fast fashion: How this thrift store in Singapore is fighting textile waste

Singapore Green Plan
Singapore Green Plan
4 min readJun 20, 2023

Thrifting is a fun experience because you never know what gems you might find for cheap. This “treasure hunt” style of shopping for clothing and accessories can be addicting for enthusiasts, and keeps thrifters — especially those from Generation Z — hooked on thrift stores and the unique ‘thrift style’.

However, contrary to popular belief, thrift is not all about surface level aesthetic. Behind the movement lies a group of passionate environmentalists, who recognise thrift as a platform for advocacy. Riding on the waves of fashion and individuality, thrift culture also encourages thrifters to appreciate reusing and upcycling, and to move away from a buy-and-throw-away mentality.

Singapore’s Waste Statistics

Singapore saw more waste than ever last year, thanks to economic activity picking up again after the pandemic. Unfortunately, not all waste gets properly recycled. For textiles, only 2% was recycled last year. This was partly due to increased domestic consumption and high freight costs, making exporting such waste more costly.

However, reducing waste alone won’t be enough to meet Zero Waste targets. Perhaps the answer lies also in practising a circular economy. This brings us back to thrifting which could have a larger environmental impact than we think, as it helps extend the lease of life of preloved clothing that would otherwise wind up in a dumpster.

For the love of fashion and giving things a second chance

Hon in his cozy store in Queensway Shopping Centre.

Like many young people who got into the business of thrift, Hon, 21, was first drawn to thrifting because of his love for fashion and unique pieces. He gained a loyal following from posting “thrift guides’’ on his Instagram page, where he shared interesting thrift finds from neighbourhood stores that were off the beaten path. This not only spotlighted smaller thrift stores, but also created a refreshing buzz amongst youth exploring alternative means of self-expression.

Hon’s sincerity in his escapades encouraged others to also view second-hand items and clothing in a new light. The increasing traction on his page encouraged Hon to think more seriously about setting up a physical store. All it took was one successful in-person pop-up for him to take concrete steps in expanding his business. Today, he has a shop in Queensway Shopping Centre called Honsieponsie that he runs with his mother, where he sells affordable pieces of thrifted clothes. As expected, a good bulk of his clientele are younger people riding the wave of thrift. However, to Hon’s surprise, even the older shoppers who frequent Queensway Shopping Centre have taken an interest in his offerings.

Reducing textile waste

Hon sorting out the clothing racks. Honsieponsie sells shirts, tees, jackets, pants, trousers, cargos and jeans, and even accessories.

While Hon still sources from overseas to maintain a certain look to the brand, he is driven by a social and environmental responsibility to ensure that whatever he curates eventually gets rehomed, be it through sales or donations to those in need. This proactiveness, as Hon shares, is sparked by a desire to disassociate from spring cleaning practices where trash and recycling bins overflow with clutter.

More often than not, the items put inside the blue recycling bins cannot even be recycled. Take clothes for example: they usually cannot be recycled as garments contain variable and unpredictable materials.

Thanks to thrift stores like Honsieponsie, who leverage on social media platforms to call for local donations, there’s now a new avenue to tackle textile waste.

Customer donating a spare bag from home, which Hon uses to bag customer purchases.

Honsieponsie has also provided a space for Hon and his mother to advocate for other sustainable practices, like the BYOB scheme. Instead of providing a bag with each purchase, Honsieponsie encourages customers to bring their own bags, and to even donate any spare bags that they have from home. When customers request a bag, it is these used bags that they are given with their purchase — donated by Hon’s family, friends and customers.

Reflections on consumerism

Hon and his mother, also known affectionately as Mama Hon.

Hon’s journey as a thrift store owner has also helped him become more conscious about the things he buys or throws away. Hon recognises that it is hard to change and tackle the culture of consumerism, but his hope lies in making good, wearable pieces of clothing accessible to those who need it, putting a positive spin on “hand me downs”, and giving people more avenues to donate and rehome clothes that would otherwise be thrown away.

Want to check out some thrift stores, and support their initiatives? Consider the following:

Address: QUEENSWAY SHOPPING CENTRE, #03–06A, S149053

Nightingale Thrift Shop

Address: QUEENSWAY SHOPPING CENTRE, #03–05, S149053


Address: 501 GEYLANG ROAD, S389459

LBP Thrift Store

Address: LUCKY PLAZA, #06–14, S238863



Singapore Green Plan
Singapore Green Plan

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