We love our basics as much as we love our suits and bomber jackets. And the T-shirt is probably the most oft-used basic in our wardrobe. We’ve been on the search for the perfect T-shirt for the longest time, and we think that search has finally come to an end.
Truth be told, we weren’t expecting much from Source Collections, simply because its vision of transparency and direct-to-consumer processes closely resembled Everlane, which was our go-to destination for basics. But its founder Vincent Ooi promised us that its offerings were different and a cut above the rest while still remaining affordable to everyone. He sent a couple of T-shirts over to let us test them and after wearing them a couple of times, putting them into the washer and dryer, and then donning them again, we are sold.
The one thing that makes Source Collections stand apart from the rest is its cut and silhouette, which is made for the slimmer Asian body. Its sleeves are flatteringly cut closer to the biceps while not being overly tight and the body of the T-shirt is slightly tapered to flatter those who work out while still remaining accessible to the rest who might have surrendered themselves to a sedentary life.
We chatted with Ooi to find out more about Source Collections.
When was SOURCE Collections founded?
SOURCE Collections was founded last year in September 2016, and we spend a whole year working on the brand before finally launching online in late September 2017. From designing the tees from scratch to ensure a good fit for people in the region, sourcing for the right factory partner who believes and commits in being socially and environmentally responsible, to testing and sampling the different types of fabric and quality. We spent more than three months working on the custom-mill fabric that we are using now for our tees.
What was the inspiration behind setting up SOURCE Collections?
Having been in the design & manufacturing field for more than eight years, helping watch & jewelry brands develop and produce their collection, I’ve always had the idea to start a label of my own. While I could have easily started a watch & jewelry brand, but apparel was something that was always in my mind. While the fashion industry in Asia is saturated, we couldn’t find a label that offered premium basics at an affordable price.
Most basic T-shirts that range between $15 and $25 are made of lower quality that do not last after a few washes, while better quality ones are priced between $80 and $120 or even higher. That also brings us to the reason why we chose a direct from factory to consumer business model by cutting out the middleman so that we could offer better quality products at an affordable price.
We were also greatly inspired by the ethos behind the label HonestBy by Bruno Pieter and its concept of 100 per cent transparency. We wanted people to know more about the industry, where it’s made, the actual cost, how it’s made, and who are the people behind these amazing products. We know of designers, but how much do we know about the process and people who spend hours cutting and sewing up our favourite pieces?
When people are furnished with such information, we believe they would cherish and appreciate more the things they have.
Where are your factories at?
Our partner factory has its office headquartered in Hong Kong with its factories located in China and Vietnam. Our products are currently manufactured in their China factory, which is based in Dongguan City.They have a long history of working with global renowned brands such as J.Crew, Kit and Ace, Vince, Adidas to name a few and have been audited by non-profit organisations to be socially compliant, meaning no forced or child labour, fair working hours and safe working conditions for the workers.
There are a lot of T-shirt companies out there now that also focus on transparency, fit, etc. such as Everlane and its ilk. How is SOURCE Collections different from the rest?
Sustainability. Apart from focusing on creating basics of higher quality and transparency, we will focus on sustainable options such as Organic Cotton, Tencel, and more. In addition to that, we also hope to raise awareness about the issues of the industry today and to have more people get involved by slowly shifting their mindset and habits by not spending unnecessarily buying items which they do not need but buy less and spend more on better quality products that they will love and use.