Upcycling to help the less privileged

Creations of The LampPost Project include tote bags and sling bags. PHOTOS: THE LAMPPOST PROJECT

Watching the National Day parade and hanging the Singapore flag from your window are ways to stoke national pride, but creative director Sharon Goh, 40, believes you do not have to wait until August to wear patriotism on your sleeve.

Ms Goh, who works for creative agency DDB Singapore, is one of the founders of The LampPost Project, which upcycles National Day lamppost banners and flags into merchandise such as tote bags, T-shirts, sling bags and reusable face masks.

Inspiration struck in 2017 when Ms Goh and her colleagues were having a creative discussion about new sustainability initiatives.

"It happened to be quite near National Day. so we looked around and saw the lamppost banners and flags nearby," she says.

In previous years, residents of the Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and a network of seamstresses - some of them seniors - all pitched in to make the items.

They earn at least $11 a product, with the rest of the proceeds going to SAMH. This year, however, the SAMH residents did not take part due to Covid-19 social distancing measures.

Instead, The LampPost Project team collaborated with Fashion Makerspace to launch workshops for the first time, where people can learn to make sling bags in small-group or online classes.

They will make two bags during a session and have the option to donate one bag for sale. A quarter of the fees, which are $76 for in-person classes and $24 for online classes, will also go to SAMH.

Ms Goh says the project has brought together like-minded people who enjoy the idea of upcycling and want to help the less privileged.

  • This is the third of a five-part series in collaboration with DBS to showcase people in Singapore who have come together to uplift the community in these trying times. Read more at

"It has been quite encouraging to see our little project help different groups of people and create a self-sustaining cycle," she says.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 09, 2020, with the headline Upcycling to help the less privileged. Subscribe