Going beyond the label: Is your eco-friendly shirt really green?

Entry type: Single project

Country/area: Singapore

Publishing organisation: The Straits Times

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 2022-11-17

Language: English

Authors: Stephanie Adeline (Project lead & data journalist)
Joseph Ricafort (Digital graphics designer)
Amanda Chai (Reporter/ST Life)
Billy Ker (Artist, stop-motion animation)
Bryandt Lyn (Artist, stop-motion animation)
Rebecca Pazos (Data visualisation editor)
Bhavya Rawa (Intern)
Charlotte Tan (Intern)
Ng Shin Yi (Intern)
Sylvia Quek (Intern)


The Straits Times digital graphics team is a multi-disciplinary team focused on creating high-quality data-driven and visuals projects for editorial. Our audience are mostly Singaporeans from all walks of life, so we balance innovation and functionality for all of our projects.

Project description:

A closer look on the transparency in the supply chain of major fashion brands and its sustainable claims. Following the production journey of a simple t-shirt and its contribution to the carbon footprint.

Impact reached:

The project received praise and shares from the sustainability and fashion space that it was well-researched and a creative way of educating consumers about where their clothes come from.

Internally, this was the first time we used stop-motion animation in our interactive graphics, and it challenged us to think of how to summarise a complicated process into a tight stop-motion animation. The story went through multiple rounds of sketches and mockups, which allowed us to learn how to collaborate better and incorporate multiple team members’ creative ideas. We also had a lot of fun with the project. In order to do the first part of the story with the green hangtags, we did our own data collection process of surveying fashion stores in a Singapore shopping mall.

Techniques/technologies used:

“t was an entirely new project collaboration with our Digital Graphics and Art team that uses stop-motion animation and the outcome was a totally unique project.

The process of doing stop motion was a tedious process. It took a lot of preparation from the Art and Digi graphics team in terms of materials procurement and storyboarding. We made refinements using After Effects and exported the charts between Observable and Illustrator.

On the stop motion side, we had to plan out the storyboards based on the limitations of our photography light box, deciding which elements we will need to acquire. Some elements need to be planned out, animated, printed out and painstakingly cut out piece by piece to be photographed. After which, each frame of the animation has to be photographed frame by frame and finally composited together to form the animation.

This story used a lot of visual metaphors too. One of which was, the styles and theme exhibiting a transition from a sustainable looking store into a greyish industrialized theme which projects a sky full of carbon emissions. Another is we used fuzzy/blurry graphics to show a transparency metaphor on brand transparency on their supply chain processes.

Context about the project:

The initial idea was entirely different from the what ended up being published. We went through multiple rounds of brainstorming and sketching. The topic was also quite complex, since there’s not exactly one way to produce a shirt. For example, the wet processes that a garment goes through can happen at multiple points of the process. It was a challenge to summarise the process without oversimplifying it. In order to explain the process accurately, we sat through multiple interviews with experts and those who are familiar with the process over several weeks.

What can other journalists learn from this project?

Journalists can learn that the creative process to creating an interactive page is not always the most straightforward. The best ideas don’t always come at the beginning of the process. In this case, we had many eureka moments that helped us make this interactive better, but that meant we had to make changes to our original idea. Ideas can evolve and get better overtime.

In addition, we also learned the importance of checking with experts and those working on the ground, to ensure the information and data we’re showing is accurate. This is also not always the most straightforward process, as we needed to strike a balance between what’s engaging and pretty design-wise, and how to be accurate.

Project links: