In case we haven’t met, we’re Em and Kel, sisters, owners and co-founders of Folktribe. We grew up in the idyllic Grampians National Park where we were free to roam the bush and scramble up mountains from a very young age, we quickly established a strong connection and reverence for nature and over the years we have developed a strong sense of responsibility for environmental preservation.
We are also design lovers and lifelong creatives and while nature provides a never ending flow of inspiration, the earth does not have a never ending flow of resources if mismanaged. After seeing the devastating environmental and humanitarian impacts of the fashion industry throughout out international travels, we were thrust into action establishing Folktribe in 2016.
Our name is pretty simple when you break it down:
Folk (noun): people in general
Tribe (noun): a social division with a common culture and dialect.
For us, it represents bringing all people together with common goals and beliefs, we have a strong culture around ethics and sustainability and we speak the language of our tribe.
So, what are our values and ethics?
Sustainable Fibres + Materials
We believe it’s important to consider the entire lifecycle of the fibres and the materials that go into creating our pieces. Manufacturing fibre, fabric and materials such as zippers and elastic can be a very resource intensive process (and that’s before the garment making even starts!) so we need to consider the impacts of our choice before it lands in our sewing room. It is equally important to consider the life of the garment after it is finished in your wardrobe, we believe clever clothing design should be reasonably repairable and fully compostable at the end of its life.
Versatile, Timeless Design
Timelessness and versatility in our wardrobes are the simplest keys on the journey to achieving a sustainable wardrobe. Rather than releasing seasonally and creating the constant need for something new, we release based on the timelessness of our design and the quality of our work, the longer our pieces can stay in your wardrobe and the more ways you can wear them (meaning you don’t have to buy other pieces), the better!
Made to Order, Made in Australia
We’ve recently changed our stance on this, while working with accredited Fair Trade workers in international countries can serve to provide fair employment opportunities, we have found that over the period of the design and manufacturing process, the carbon impact of the transport alone was significant. Another impact we discovered was bulk manufacturing which is essentially buying huge quantities in order for companies to buy it cheaper, the result of this is large quantities of garments needing to be marketed and sold so they can start again on the next season. This endless cycle of making and selling doesn’t make sense for any sustainable brand whereas made to order means that only what is in demand is created. Made locally in Australia significantly reduces our carbon footprint too.
Choose Well, Buy Less
A simple manifesto with a huge impact, we stand by these simple words and live it ourselves. We’d rather save to buy one piece that we adore and wear to death than ten pieces that we might wear only a few times.
Reduce Waste, Chemicals + Water Pollution
There are huge amounts of plastic, chemical pollution, water pollution and fabric waste in the fashion industry, we believe more questions need to be asked about dyes and where they are going, how much water is being used in fabric production, how much fabric is wasted during production, why does my garment need to be individually packaged in plastic when delivered to the company?? There is a huge amount of conversation and change that needs to happen around these topics and brands need to be responsible for their processes.
There’s no sustainability without transparency, with many claims being made about sustainability there is a need for transparency behind the scenes. The information needs to be easily accessible for the people making the purchase, we can no longer accept that a product is ‘ethical’ or ‘sustainable’ without knowing how and why.
So there's a brief insight into our values and ethics, we’ll link you to the introduction of our sustainability tab so you can dive more deeply into the choices we make as sustainable business owners.
It was really nice to e-meet you and we look forward to seeing you here more.
Kel and Em