She’s roughed it out as a human rights activist, worked in a cotton textile mill in Punjab, and lived the glam life in Singapore as marketing manager of a luxury jewellery brand. But Brandy Dallas gave that up to start her own sustainable fashion label after she had an epiphany while on a surf trip to Canggu, a village in Bali, Indonesia, in February 2019.
“I suited up and started paddling out to the break, but I soon found myself completely covered in garbage. I had a large black plastic bag caught on my foot, along with sandals, bottles and food wrappers. When I jumped off my board, I felt the rubbish move with the waves around my legs, and it was in this exact moment that I reached a tipping point. I headed home and re-evaluated everything, from the plastic in my fridge to the clothes and materials I had in my wardrobe,” says the 31-year-old, who’s based in Singapore. That, coupled with her struggles to find sustainable womenswear essentials at an affordable price point, prompted her to launch chic minimalist label Sans Faff in February this year.
The founder and creative director says she wants to shift attention away from fleeting trends to focus on enduring essentials. Its debut collection “Future Proof Essentials” comprises sleek, wearable and timeless basics such as a crew neck T-shirt, button-up playsuit and T-shirt dress – all in black or white only.
“I want to make well-made wardrobe staples that can be worn season after season,” she says. “After all, a formidable dress will always be a formidable dress regardless of the time of year.” The word “formidable” is key as Brandy, who is sole designer for the brand, isn’t just designing for any woman. She says: “The Sans Faff woman is intelligent, irreverent and fiercely honest. She is an activist for the future, and she understands the power she has as a consumer to make a difference.”
The secret to the durability and comfort of the pieces lies in the bamboo fabric. Prior to its launch, Brandy spent six months sourcing and product testing to formulate the signature material, which does not pill or fade and is as gentle to the skin as it is to the Earth. As one of the fastest growing plants in the world, bamboo is considered a renewable resource, and a sustainable alternative to materials such as rayon and viscose.
And it’s not just design and philosophy that Sans Faff has nailed down. The homegrown label has all its pieces made in Singapore by a local family-run factory that operates in a Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) industrial estate. The strict tenancy guidelines of JTC real estate, including clean working conditions, structural safety, and fire protection, quells common worries surrounding fashion brands that outsource their production and risk unsafe or exploitative practices.
While Sans Faff is still in its infancy, Brandy has big dreams. She ultimately hopes for Sans Faff to be fully accountable for the entire life cycle of its raw materials and products.
By 2021, it is my goal to be able to trace everything, from where our bamboo fibre is grown to the textile manufacturer making the fabric, and how it is disposed or repurposed at the end of each garment’s life.
At the same time, she’s also keeping her eyes peeled for new types of sustainable materials. “Pinatex is my latest obsession,” she said. “It is a new plant-based textile, made from the waste of the pineapple harvest that can be used as an alternative to leather. The quality looks and feels amazing – I’m just trying to see how we can explore these exciting options while maintaining our affordable prices.”
You do not need to sacrifice your personal style in order to protect the environment and buy more consciously.
Sans Faff is available online at Sansfaff.com. Prices range from $60 for a T-shirt to $232 for a jumpsuit.
Brandy Dallas photo @studio.d.art
Lookbook photos Amberly Valentine
This article was first published in Her World’s June issue.