Australian Made Week is coming up so I thought I’d share why I choose to buy Australian materials and make locally.
In Australia we have minimum wages. Our unions mandate that breaks are required, that manufacturing workshop floors be ventilated and include things like emergency exit points, and fire wardens. It also means I can check in on production quality and provide opportunities for local workers and other small businesses.
With this I can put a guarantee on quality, so you know that your yoga strap will last, and if it doesn’t. I’ll fix or replace it. Because it should.
It’s time we turned away from mass production. It’s not a sustainable or responsible business design. Already we use more than one year worth of the world’s resources before a year is up. The Earth Year as it’s called is shrinking and means the planet can’t replace what we consume. To put simply we’re in credit with the environment and the debt is being called in by means of climate change. Fires, floods, rising temperatures.
Each purchasing decision has consequences and they add up.
For example. If you buy a cheap t-shirt, made with cheap labour, it needs to be made as fast as possible. To keep the price, low quality fabrics are used. These aren’t woven as tightly, which makes your garment looser and more likely to stretch out of shape and become saggy or, it may be put together with threads that are shorter, so they pill as the ends wiggle their way out of the weave as you wash it.
Then the whole thing is sewn quickly so more can be made in a shorter amount of time. It is the quality verses quantity of economics. Quick sewing means less stitches per inch which is why your hem falls down in the first month, if it lasts that long, there’s no time to tie the ends off. It also means the people doing the sewing don’t get breaks. They need to make thousands for someone to make a profit so they can be paid, with each shirt only worth a few cents or dollars.
The whole system of fast fashion, and single use is devastating on so many levels.
Each of these items that needs replacing because it was made with haste, without care, designed to make someone money before it is thrown away takes those resources pulverizes them then tosses them in landfill. Charity shops and recycling centres can’t cope, the items being donated aren’t worth keeping.
I want to make sure that the people in my production lines are paid properly. That resources aren’t being wasted along the way.
The next challenge is working in recycled fiber into the weave, or finding quality materials that are no longer needed elsewhere that can be transformed into new products as part of the circular economy.
Jen (founder 108 Yoga Road and designer behind the Feelix Yoga Strap)