Exclusive Interview With Brand: Halia

An exclusive interview with the founders of HALIA, an ethical & sustainable brand from Indonesia & Singapore.


1. Would you share a bit about yourself and where you’re from?

Tisha: We are both Indonesians. Tisha resides in Singapore and has become a local. We met when we’re as young as 8 years old when we were schooling in Singapore. Natalia has moved to Indonesia for good for a couple of years now.
Natalia: We met when we just moved from Indonesia to Singapore as kids and have been friends ever since!

2. How did it all start?

Tisha: There was a time when I had a whole mental breakdown and was experiencing a challenging time in my life. I discovered Yoga and it helped me so much with insomnia. I’ve been doing it since then, through my pregnancy until the day I gave birth.
Natalia: Similarly, I got hooked on yoga when I was going through depression. Practicing yoga and learning about its philosophy was life-changing– mentally, physically, and spiritually. That led me to learn deeper about myself and how I wanted to live in this world, and that is to live a meaningful life, full of well-being and purpose, and to help others do the same.

3. Was it always the intention to become a sustainable and ethical designer?

Tisha: Since becoming a mother, I am always on a mission to do better for my child. I’d like my children to live in a world where it’s safe and sustainable, breathing healthy and fresh air. One way of doing it is to take my own action and contribute to a meaningful movement.
Natalia: It was something I had been thinking about but was not confident in pursuing until I saw firsthand the harmful practices of the fashion industry. Then I simply felt that I had to create something that aligns with my own values and that makes a positive impact in the world.

4. What was it that first raised your awareness of the issue of fast fashion?

Tisha: I started noticing how fast fashion releases multiple collections a year. How do consumers keep up with it when the trends change so fast? Where did all the rest of the clothes go and how do consumers empty their wardrobes to keep changing with the times? It must account for something bigger and this must be wasteful in some ways that harm the Earth eventually.
Natalia: For me, I learnt about it when I started my previous business importing clothes from China. I saw firsthand the massive amounts of clothing, waste, and manual labour – all for dirt-cheap prices. It’s reflected in the way people treat these clothes, thrown around like trash. Plastic packaging ripped only to be replaced with another one, just for branding. I remember looking at a mound of plastic packaging and tape and thinking “Where do they go?”. Not to mention the mounds of unsold clothing because of trends and styles that move faster than you can sell them.


1. Could you tell us more about your label?

Tisha: Halia is started by Tisha and Natalia, two long-term best friends who want to do better for the world. Halia uses sustainable, eco-friendly fabrics and materials to provide high-quality apparel. We believe that only with a healthy Earth you can truly live a healthier life. Halia also believes in the importance of mental-wellbeing of individuals other than the physical body.
Natalia: We created Halia with the intention of taking care of one’s body, mind, and soul alongside protecting the Earth, grounded in a philosophy of coexistence with nature. Our brand aims to be a sanctuary of peace and well-being by supporting a mindful lifestyle through the products we offer. We believe in a meaningful and holistically healthy life through loving and caring for our homes – the body, the mind, and the Earth.

2. What is the ethos when you design?

Tisha: Buildable (mix-and-match with anything), long-lasting and comfortable.

2.1 And what defines your style?

Natalia: Minimal and timeless.

3. What have been some of the biggest challenges for you on this journey?

Tisha: One of the biggest challenges is awareness and convincing the customer why they should switch to sustainable options even with a slightly higher price point. Especially selling online, how do we convince them that our apparels are as good as it feels and is lasting.
Natalia: Since it’s only the two of us running the brand now, it’s challenging for us to manage everything by ourselves, especially the business aspect of it.

4. What do you want to achieve personally with your brand?

Tisha: One of the goals that we have was to build a community that has the same vision as us. We would like this community to support one another and build a safe haven that people feel encouraged by.
Natalia: In a world of disconnect where the priority is on the individual interest, we hope to nurture a community of collective care and well-being that encompasses people and the environment.


1. How would you explain the importance of brands like yours making steps to become more ethical and sustainable to someone who isn’t well-versed in what that means?

Tisha: The importance still lies in creating a better world for future generations. We want to live a lasting legacy and leave a positive impact. Other than saving the environment, the impact of being sustainable is cumulative. A small action goes a long way and if brands like us keep doing our part, we will eventually make a difference.
Natalia: The fashion industry is notorious for turning a blind eye to its problems in favor of creating a lifestyle of excess consumption to profit a select few. It is important that we make changes to the harmful fashion system and its business models– changes that benefit, instead of being detrimental to, the environment and everyone involved.

2. For the consumers, what are the easiest ways that we can all be more sustainable in our approach to fashion?

Tisha: Be aware of what you purchase and what you place in your wardrobe. From time to time, review what you’ve owned and whether has it been worn or can be put to better use. Purchase from sustainable brands and brands that strive to contribute better to the environment. Without much effort, you’ll already be doing your part for the environment.
Natalia: Purchase from sustainable brands that do better, and purchase what will last in your wardrobe for years.

3. In your own eyes, how has becoming a sustainable designer changed your life?

Tisha: I’ve become more conscious of my actions overall. Even day to day and how I’ve educated my children to be more mindful of their actions with the consequences in mind.
Natalia: I had been disillusioned by the fashion industry since becoming aware of the many problems it sweeps under the rug. Turning to sustainability has given me a new purpose that my fashion education can be used for good.

4. People say that sustainable fashion is too expensive or too difficult to do. How do you usually respond to that?

Tisha: It is a conscious effort and a change of lifestyle eventually, no doubt about that. As human beings, we indulge in fast fashion, and other forms of entertainment at the cost of the environment, unethical labour, or unfair wages. Is it really too expensive and difficult to pay a little more to better the lives of others and your future generations?
Natalia: The idea is to purchase consciously, prioritizing quality, longevity & ethics over quantity. Every time we make a purchase, we are voting for the kind of world we want to live in. We are no strangers to the negative impacts of the fashion industry, including but not limited to pollution, waste, and worker exploitation. Supporting sustainable fashion means we contribute to positive change and industry-wide improvements in a broken system. The worth is yours to decide.


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