This article was originally published in Vulcan Post on May 7, 2021. You can read the full piece here.
Tropick's shirts aim to be the most comfortable dress shirts in the world, with features that typical shirts cannot boast about.
Anyone who has lived in Singapore would understand how hot and humid the climate is — just taking a walk along the street is enough to leave one with unsightly perspiration stains.
When Monica Millington moved from Texas to Singapore to be with her husband in 2017, she realised that there was no type of clothing available that could address the perpetually tropical climate and still look appropriate in work settings.
To add on to the problem, men tend to have fewer options than women when shopping, and Monica could not find any suitable solutions for her husband.
She then decided to create clothes that could outlast the tropics for all men, which led to the birth of Tropick.
Timeless, performance shirts for men
Tropick is a premium menswear label that creates men’s everyday essentials that are built to outlast the tropical climate. It kicked off with a performance dress shirt line that marries high-end athletic wear with the timeless style of the classic white shirt.
Monica wanted to make Tropick’s shirts the most comfortable dress shirts in the world, giving them features that typical shirts cannot boast about.
The hems are also shaped in such a way that they can go tucked or untucked, allowing the shirts to be worn in both formal or more casual settings. Furthermore, the cuffs are adjustable to fit different wrist sizes and are convertible between buttons and cufflinks.
Every detail has been thought out because this shirt is our bread and butter. Really, it’s the shirt that does it all. Aside from some athletic-wear labels, there are next to no other brands creating this type of menswear in Southeast Asia right now.Monica Millington, Founder and Creative Director of Tropick
Monica started prototyping for Tropick in May 2019, and the brand was finally launched in August 2020 because of some supply chain delays due to Covid-19.
The brand launched with the No Sweat Shirt, which retails on Tropick’s online store for S$198. A few more products have been launched since, with loungewear sets coming out in a few weeks.
Focus on sustainability
Besides providing high-quality apparel, Tropick also has a heavy focus on sustainability.
Customers will receive their Tropick shirt in reusable mesh laundry bag, which can reduce micro-waste of up to 80 per cent per wash. It also helps to prolong the life of the garment, so wearers can get even more use out of it.
Furthermore, the shirt is shipped in a biodegradable mailer bag, and all the paper used in Tropick’s packaging and tags is uncoated and fully recyclable.
I started by scouring the globe for the best of the best materials and construction techniques, and then built my pricing around that model so we didn’t sacrifice quality with an arbitrary budget. I surveyed a sample group to figure out what their pain points with a traditional shirt were so that I could solve them with my shirt. This helped me design everything from the cuffs to the collar to the placket to the hem and down to the buttons.
Once I finally had the perfect prototype, I had to work quite hard to find a production house that held safety and ethical certifications, could produce garments in an environmentally friendly manner, and could construct a traditional garment with new innovative fabric and techniques.Monica Millington, Founder and Creative Director of Tropick
Monica also shared that all its clothes are made in factories that pass a personal audit by their team, to ensure that wages are fair and safe, and clean working conditions are upheld for workers.
All the attention put into each detail of the brand and product was the reason why Monica took over a year to develop the No Sweat Shirt.
Growing into a lifestyle brand
Due to its unique selling point, Tropick was selected as one of the 11 brands to participate in The Bridge Fashion Incubator programme last year put on by the Textile and Fashion Federation of Singapore.
Most recently, Monica was selected to be one of the 16 candidates to compete on the hit reality TV series The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition, which is currently airing.
For now, Tropick is completely self-funded as Monica aims to grow the business as organically as possible in its first year as the team feels out the local market and determine its expansion opportunities.
She currently has her eyes on Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Japan.
She also envisions Tropick growing from a basics brand to a complete lifestyle range with brick-and-mortar stores, so customers can experience the feel of Tropick’s shirts in person.
“Any growth plans will be rooted to our core value that all of our offerings should be comfortable, built for the tropics, and genuinely useful and versatile,” she said.