Bondiwear – ethical fashion

BondiWear is a company committed to ethical fashion, with a lot of thought and care put into every step taken to create this range of t-shirts.

In fact, the BondiWear range is set apart from standard fare through each stage of production – literally from the ground up.

The result is organic cotton t-shirts with great designs that are 100% Australian, produced locally in Sydney.

These t-shirts speak for themselves in terms of style, but it’s also good to know the origins of each element that goes into them. From the way organic cotton is grown to the t-shirt cut and prints, here is a look at what goes into creating this unique t-shirt range.

From Farm to Yarn: Using organic cotton

There is both environmental need and consumer demand for more clothes made from organic cotton.

On the environmental side of things, organic cotton production eliminates the use of toxic, persistent pesticides and chemical fertilisers, making it a more sustainable crop and reducing the risks cotton farmers face.

More and more people are also focusing on ethical consumerism – figuring out the best practises and products and supporting them as a result – with researchers at Charles Sturt University saying there is now strong demand for more “clean, green textile products”.

Without the use of standard pesticides and chemicals, organic cotton farms rely on people throughout the planting and harvesting processes, which means a lot more care is taken and crops are typically smaller to make it easier for farmers to manage.

Once the cotton is harvested and baled, it is turned into yarn and then woven into the fabric.

The result is cotton that actually feels different to more standard options. According to the Soil Association and Global Textile Standard’s Cottoned On website, organic cotton “consistently produces better quality yarns than conventional cotton”.

Fitting Fashion: Finding the right cut and style for the shirts

The cotton produced by organic farms becomes a blank canvas for designers and wholesale companies like Bandsome, which designs BondiWear’s shirts.

The Sydney-based company is committed to making t-shirts that are 100% Australian, with both it’s own collection of shirts as well as wholesale options for labels like BondiWear.

Bandsome creator David Attewell says their business model is based on three key points: quality, style, and ethical means for production.

“Using local suppliers and manufacturers we are able to build a better relationship and maintain the highest level of quality with our product,” he says.

“We also believe that many Australians today feel strongly about how and where their products are made. By being 100% sweatshop free we reassure to our customers that they are purchasing a better and more ethical produced product.”

BondiWear shares many of Bandsome’s values, and Attewell says they wanted to help out as much as possible when Bandsome was approached to work on the new label.

“There are many parts to consider when starting a label; from the style, to design, to printing, re-labelling and tagging,” he says.

“We suggested suitable styles that would fit with their aim and intended market. We also advised them on what printing methods would work best with their designs.”

The result of this attention to detail and care is a range of t-shirts that are fashionable, comfortable and ethical.

Printing Process: How designs are screened onto the shirts

The advice on printing methods that would also support BondiWear’s aims led the team to another Sydney company, 25 Watts Print & Design.

25 Watts is run by a team with decades of experience in concert merchandising: Mark Brooks (Graphic Design), Helen Hill (Education) and Glenn Torres (Master Printer) and has an aim to “produce screen printing of the highest quality” – something that is definitely achieved with the unique discharge inks the company uses.

In fact, 25 Watts has an exclusive partnership with ink company Ryonet USA, distributing Ryonet’s Discharge ink range and Enviro Water based inks in Australia and New Zealand.

While the more common Plastisol inks used for printed t-shirts sits on top of the fabric – and can feel heavier or even peel off as a result – Brooks says the water-based pigment ink 25 Watts uses is more like a dye.

“It takes the colour out of the garment replacing it with the printed colour. The printed shirt has no surface feel at all, like wearing a blank t-shirt,” he explains.

“The finished print is permanent, vivid and soft. This makes printing using discharge ink ideal for fashion, hospitality and fitness. As we like to say – it’s a print that breathes!”

When it comes to the BondiWear range of shirts, Brooks says a lot of care is taken throughout the printing process – from the colours chosen through to how the designs sit on the shirts.

“We hand print all of BondiWear’s shirts making sure every garment meets the high standard [that’s expected],” he explains.

“Glenn [the company’s Master Printer] matches colours in BondiWear’s colour roughs by eye and spent a considerable amount of time getting this right.”

It’s also worth noting that the discharge ink used by 25 Watts is free of phthalates, a chemical additive used in hundreds of manufactured items including other printing inks, clothing, cosmetics and automotive parts, despite growing health concerns.

With BondiWear’s focus on ethical and high quality production, working with the 25 Watts team has added another layer of care to the creation of this t-shirt range.

The Final Product

Once the shirts are printed by 25 Watts, they get sent to BondiWear ready to be bought, shipped and worn by people that share the same ethical values.

This range began with just an idea – to create comfortable clothes that showed care for the environment and the creation process. Then it was a matter of finding the right materials, production methods and companies to help make it a reality.

The resulting range of t-shirts not only reflects the shared values and high quality processes used along the way, but also shows that there are a lot of interesting stories behind the clothes we buy and wear.