Najah Onn’s keen interest in maintaining an ecological balance in the environment started at a young age when she learnt everything about upcycling from her grandmother. “Grandma taught me to use recycled water from the laundry to water the plants to avoid wastage and conserve our resources,” she says.
After serving the public and private sectors as an engineer in Melbourne, Australia, for 15 years, Najah decided to give up her job and further explore sustainability in fashion. She started by working behind the scenes in the industry to get a better understanding of how the business rolls.
“I moved back to Malaysia recently because I wanted to bring a positive change to the fashion industry, in the Southeast Asian context. I want to bridge the gap between what the brands are saying and what they’re actually doing. I went through a personal transformation by putting a stop to shopping and using whatever I already have in my closet by learning styling tips and tricks,” she shares.
It’s been two years now since Najah stopped buying clothes. “My aim is also to educate the public on how fast fashion items don’t last and that they’re not cost-effective. Instead, opt for investment pieces that you can wear and restyle to make them look new and different for years to come,” she notes.
While Najah has been working closely with local sustainable champions such as Kloth Cares to come up with innovative ways to reduce post-consumer textile waste, she has also created a group called Sustainable Fashion Network Malaysia.
“I want to create a platform where budding designers, fashion entrepreneurs, brands, suppliers and even students can work together to spread awareness on the importance of sustainability principles in business,” she concludes.
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