Retail in Asia


Säntis Textiles MD Annabelle Hutter embraces circularity through Thailand-based brand, Born on Saturday


SEE ALSO: How online marketplace Piktina is leading fashion recommerce in Vietnam

Annabelle Georgina Hutter is the managing director of Säntis Textiles, a Swiss family-run textile company headquartered in Singapore, with offices in Indonesia, Thailand, Turkey, Mainland China, Egypt, Pakistan, as well as in the US and the UK. In a bid to contribute to the circular economy, Säntis Textiles, which specialises in textile spinning and fabric development, launched a 100 percent recycled cotton, RCO100, in 2016. More recently, the textile company announced a venture into traceable fibre technology with FibreTrace. 

Based between Zurich and Bangkok, Hutter founded the Thailand-based sustainable brand Born on Saturday during the Covid pandemic, putting to use only 100-percent recycled fabric to create bags and accessories. Retail in Asia discusses circularity, textile innovation and the Born on Saturday brand with Hutter.

RiA: Can you tell us about Born on Saturday? 

Hutter: I started the brand in 2020 when I saw that our factory in Turkey had an excess amount of headstock fabrics from production. I bought these fabrics and created tote bags out of them at an atelier in Chinatown, Bangkok. From start to finish, I oversee my own production of the bags and work really closely with my bag maker, highlighting a future model of production that I believe should be the norm in the industry for the next decades to come. 

I also wanted to tell the story of circularity from an organic perspective. Instead of fancy marketing and loud greenwashing tactics, I believe the consumer should be wearing recycled and subconsciously incorporating it into their daily lives while still enjoying the present and not feeling pressured in any way. 

RiA: How did your love for textiles come about? How did textile upcycling come to you?

Hutter: My family is a textile family, and alongside Born on Saturday, I run the recycling department of my family company in Switzerland. We are the developers of the world’s first technology creating 100 percent recycled cotton, which is the fabric I use for Born on Saturday. 

RiA: What led you to create Born on Saturday and what is it doing differently? 

Hutter: I have a creative spirit, I love good quality circular products, and being different. I embrace all of these elements and I think we do that differently in general. Along with being the only 100-percent recycled cotton accessories brand in Asia, we don’t cater to a mass market. I design what I find fun and I think that’s why I can connect with those that I’ve already connected with in the last three years of the brand being around! I think being original is really key nowadays. 

SEE ALSO: Love, Bonito’s co-founder Rachel Lim on taking the brand global

RiA: How has the brand been received in Thailand? Are you looking to expand across Asia at some point?

Hutter: It’s been received really well in the last three years and still even though the SKUs haven’t changed (and are limited), the response has been consistent and stable. I’m proud that I can silently get the circularity story across this way. We have also had a lot of great collaborations, and proud partnerships with our retail points at Siwilai Store in Central Embassy and on Pomelo. Most recently, I had a shop at Wonderfruit Festival which was a highlight. I used it as a platform to invite people to learn more about recycled cotton, sustainable textiles, as well as female empowerment. 

I am currently exploring launching a new collection and hopefully can launch further in Asia, but for now, due to carbon footprint reasons, I prefer to keep my sales in Thailand.