Continuing on the 'ethical, natural and local' theme a second vegan friendly clothing label Bestowed was created in 2011 that used only pure prewashed cotton fabrics. This quickly followed into the launch of our online boutique 'Sustainable Fashion' at the end of 2012.
The following are key factors we feel passionate about throughout these years and enable us to significantly reduce the impact of your new clothing purchases.
Every product on Sustainable Fashion is made in Australia. This is at the core of ethical production we think as all our makers work locally and experience the same living standards and wages that we enjoy in our beautiful part of the world.
We had a 5kW solar power system installed in 2014 and it supplies almost 90% of our needs in summer as we work from our home studio and use the energy during the day. The balance of our power is sourced from GreenPower, so supports the increased use of renewables in Australia.
Prewashing the majority of our garments means they arrive exactly how you expect them to be after the first time you wash them. It makes the garment nicer as any excess dyes are removed and you know any shrinkage that may occur already. Our sustainably harvested rainwater at our home studio is filtered and we use a biodegradable washing detergent to protect our local waterways.
Along with using rainwater in our laundry, other parts of our home and garden use tank water. This sees the home studio water use being half the amount when compared to the average household here in Brisbane, Australia.
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE
The options to use recycled or biodegradable materials are used in every possible part of the day to day running of our business. This extends from using recycled paper and biodegradable options for all packaging, to the composting of all organic waste on site. While the technology for the recycling of textiles is close to becoming available in Australia, presently we repurpose fabric off-cuts for Sarah's 'Archive project' and incorporate the clever use of patches and pockets.
Polyester and nylon in all its forms are basically plastic and shed microfibres into waterways every time they are washed. We never use synthetic textiles for this reason, in addition to them being non-renewable.
Along with modern cellulose based textiles such as cupro, modal and tencel that have close looped systems where the majority of water can be reused, the choice of organic cotton, bamboo and ethical merino are key to our Australian made clothing collections.
Not only are natural fibres better for the environment but they also feel much nicer against your skin, allowing it to breathe. This does mean caring for your natural fibres can require a little more awareness to how they change with washing and wearing, often loosening a little from the warmth of your body when wearing for example. To help understand these things we provide extra detail in the products and often write journal stories to educate customers unfamiliar with these textiles.
CARE AND REPAIRSurprisingly the largest impact a garment has on the environment happens once it starts being worn by you. This of course assumes you wash and wear your garment for years to come as we would expect (unlike the disposable nature of fast fashion), but the energy to continue washing and drying your garment is a significant contribution. This is why we design garments that are easy care, and do not recommend dry cleaning.
A simple hand wash or gentle machine wash with a biodegradable detergent in cold water will suit almost all our garments (merino is the only fibre that needs a warm wash). We also recommend to reduce the spin speed, which leaves a little more water behind, but after air drying this will reduce any wrinkles and reduce the need for any ironing (which is energy intensive and a boring chore!).
These values are central to what we believe is an ethical and sustainable approach to fashion. New items of clothing should be chosen with the intention of wearing them out and cared for over time. Our family is personally involved with every part of the process, from the design all the way to the packing and shipping of your orders, meaning we truly care about each garment and it's impact in the long term.