#1: The brand advocates total transparency.
One of the first things you’ll realise when browsing through Source Collections‘ debut range on its website is that they value transparency. A lot. Every item of clothing comes with a diagram which details the true cost of said item, such as labour and transport costs. There’s also an entire section on its site documenting where pieces are made: In a factory in Dongguan, China (above) that promotes safe working conditions and eschews forced or child labour.
While he has not received any formal fashion training, founder Vincent Ooi says that his background in the luxury watch and jewellery industry has given him valuable insight into designing and strategising a product, brand positioning and understanding how factories work. “I see it as a blessing in disguise, because (my “untrained” perspective) has allowed me to invest only in things that matter: comfort, fit and durability,” he shares.
#2: It wants to be a part of your everyday sartorial choices.
Its only offering since launching in September 2017 is the plain old t-shirt. The women’s range comes in four iterations: A crew-neck, a V-neck, a cap-sleeved version and a tank top, and in three colours (black, white and grey). The men’s range offers three designs: A crew-neck, a V-neck, and one with a front pocket.
But why feature basics alone, especially in a saturated retail market like Singapore? Ooi reasons that his brand occupies a niche area that straddles both affordability and environmental considerations. “There aren’t many local brands that offer premium basics using sustainable materials,” he says. “Most brands that offer wardrobe staples are either made of low-quality materials that don’t last or are highly overpriced.”
The other reason is an obvious one: Tees are “the pieces we always turn to, and the ones we most often wear”.
#3: Only high-quality sustainable materials are used.
Women’s tees are made of tencel, a breathable and lightweight fabric derived from wood pulp. It’s also reportedly regarded as one of the most environmentally friendly materials out there, as almost 99 per cent of the water and solvents used in producing it are recycled. Men’s tees, meanwhile, are made of certified organic cotton sourced from India.
Another sign of the brand’s dedication to quality: All the fabrics are custom-made, which means that everything from the type of yarn used to the dyeing process undergo rounds of testing before being finalised.
#4: Members of royalty dig its designs.
One of the most gratifying feedback Ooi (above) has received so far was from a member of the Johor royal family, who bought over 20 pieces after initially purchasing a men’s organic cotton tee. “He shared that he had officially replaced all of his James Perse t-shirts with the ones he bought from Source,” reveals Ooi.
#5: Nothing is priced above $39.
The number listed above might floor you – but it’s true. Men’s tees are priced at $32 or $35, while women’s pieces range from $35 for a tank top to $39 for tees. All this is thanks to the brand’s “direct to consumer business model (i.e. its online store), which means there is no middleman and no (brick-and-mortar) retail expenses to consider”, says Ooi.
Our thoughts? The brand’s relaxed tank top is breathable, lightweight and sits comfortably on skin (read: It’s great for Singapore’s perennial humidity), while the crew-neck t-shirt is well-fitting and perfect for pairing with, well, anything in our wardrobes. More colourways and polo tees are in the works, and we suspect that these tees will soon be one of your every day staples.