Environment

Fast fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, second only to Big Oil. It’s a pretty awful reality. This high turnover model is directly responsible for some of our planet’s most critical environmental issues, including the carbon impact of global transportation, mass consumption of non-renewable energy, and landfill overload. It’s an un-sustainable system, and one that we’re determined to help change.

None of our fabric scraps hit landfill. We keep off-cuts and end of season’s fabric and, instead of discarding them, turn them into garments which are sold at our charity sample sales. By doing this, we minimise our waste, create garments for our customers to love, as well as helping the community.

Minimising Waste

With any type of production, there is always some waste – we try to keep ours to a minimum by designing a little more cleverly. Each and every Kuwaii garment is designed and considered incredibly carefully before the cutting process begins, to ensure that our production wastage is kept to the most minimal amount we can. We will often switch the fabric and cutting direction of our pattern pieces to ensure maximum use of the fabric, and working with our local manufacturers who share our low-waste philosophy means they work hard to reduce cutting waste on every style they produce.

We keep off-cuts and end of season’s fabric and, instead of discarding them, turn them into garments which are sold at our charity sample sales. By doing this, we minimise our waste, create garments for our customers to love, as well as helping the community. It’s a win, win and win. When we can’t use the leftover fabric ourselves, we donate it to local craft groups, schools and kindergartens. We have given fabric to the Brotherhood of St Laurence, who use it in art therapy and sewing classes, or we donate it to Resource Rescue Inc, amongst many others. Our fabric sample swatches are dismantled and donated to a local kindergarten for their craft projects. We have also had fabric sales to sell our smaller lengths of fabric that we can’t use in production. This has been incredibly popular with our customers, who love to find a special length of Kuwaii fabric for their own projects.

Our goal: to source a fabric recycler to donate larger and bulk scraps to. If you have a use for fabric scraps, or know of an organisation who do, we’d love to hear from you.

Plastic Free & Recycling

In 2018 our business brought in a “Big 4 Plastics” Ban. The “Big 4” plastic items are the most common single use plastic items in daily life, and the cause for the most plastic waste found in our oceans. The “Big 4” are:

  • plastic straws
  • disposable coffee cups
  • plastic shopping bags
  • plastic water bottles

We were so empowered by our success in banning the Big 4 that our plastic ban soon spread. We were proud to also ban the following:

  • plastic cable ties (used to bind clothing hangers for delivery) -> replaced with fabric ties made from our scrap fabric
  • plastic tape -> replaced with compostable cellulose tape
  • plastic cutlery
  • plastic takeaway containers
  • plastic garment delivery bags -> replacing them with re-usable fabric ones that we make in our studio.
  • Plastic express post satchels -> replacing them with home compostable ones.
  • Plastic hangers -> while we do use these, our hangers are sent back from our stores -> office -> manufacturers, so we need a finite amount of hangers and none of them hit landfill. You’d be surprised if you knew how many fashion brands discard their hangers to landfill after a single use. We also take the time to ensure the wire clothes hangers are returned to our dry cleaners so they can be re-used.

The plastic that we do receive in our fabric deliveries (which we are working on minimising through supplier relationships) goes to Blanc and White collective who re-purposes our plastic waste to make it into new material for handbags and wallets!

We calculate in this short time we have saved an incredible amount of plastic waste from landfill.

Goal: Our aim is to have phased out as much single use plastic as we possibly can by the end of 2020, from our stores, office and supply chain.

Who we support

With every choice posed to us, we make the decision to purchase the most ethical option that we can find. We think carefully about where our money goes, and the choices that we make, and the businesses we support. We actively choose women-led businesses where-ever possible.

 

Our stores are run with 100% renewable, carbon neutral electricity. We also have switched to ‘GreenPower,’ meaning that we are contributing to renewable energy development in Australia by paying extra on our electricity bills. We support companies who are committed to making a difference and whose practices are in line with our environmental policies. We look for local businesses who are vegan, committed to using natural alternatives to chemical ingredients, who donate parts of their proceeds to charity, and who, like us, try to minimise their environmental impact. Some of our favourite companies and products to support are:

  • Who Gives a Crap toilet paper and tissues.
  • Natures Organic – Earth Choice and Organic Care cleaning products and handwash – although we are switching to our own made from bi-carb and vinegar in re-used containers.
  • Biome for our office supplies instead of Officeworks.
  • Town Talk Reusable jewellery cleaning cloths
  • Going Green Solutions biodegradable bin liners.
  • Eco Totes Hemp Totes.
  • Dirt Bag Compostable Postage satchels.
  • Keep Cups for reusable coffee cups.
  • Kleen Kanteen for reusable water bottles.