Made for good.
Cloth & Co. is an Australian fashion company that ethically and sustainably crafts comfortable, versatile and timeless basics, though there is absolutely nothing basic about this incredible company. The Cloth & Co. team understands how detrimental the conventional fashion industry is to both the environment and garment workers, which is why they are doing absolutely everything in their power to change this narrative.
Partnering with artisan communities in India to craft their beautiful garments, with a specific focus on empowering women and marginalised communities. Through the partnerships developed and the relationships formed, Cloth & Co. aims to empower the artisans who bring their clothing to life by preserving traditional crafts and bringing consistent work and fair wages to these communities and, in turn, to help them become financially independent.
Cloth & Co. does everything sustainably and the way in which they source their fabric of choice, GOTS certified organic cotton, is no different. Organic cotton farming involves using untreated, non-GMO seeds, makes use of frequent crop rotations for healthy soil, encourages biological diversity for a natural pest control, and is guided by the principle of the farmer working with the land rather than against it, and as for the manufacturing, organic clothing manufacturers do not use inauthentic materials, chlorine bleaches or formaldehyde.
Oh, and just when we thought we couldn’t love Cloth & Co. any more, they tell us that they have partnered with Ecologi – an organisation working with The Eden Reforestation Projects – to plant one tree for every purchase.
Cloth & Co. is completely focused on ethical production by preserving traditional crafts, ensuring positive impacts on people and the environment, and by providing living wages to the incredibly talented artisans who bring the Cloth & Co. garments to life. Through the use of natural materials, a sustainable business model, and ethical sourcing and supply chain management, Cloth & Co. is most certainly helping to set Tomorrow’s Standard in what it means to do good business.
Want to know where Cloth and Co sits and what they’re working on in terms of these 5 values? Hover over these values to find out.
We only use natural fibres and all of our garments are made with 100% GOT's Certified Organic Cotton and we use certified OEKO Tex dyes. We are also working on a Regenerative Cotton Project where we will work directly with the farmers who grow our cotton, all of which is done using biodynamic and regenerative farming practices. For packaging our garments come in HOME compostable bags which are great as they keep the garments in good order with no plastic waste. To offset our carbon footprint have partnered with Ecologi to reduce our environmental impact. For every purchase made on our site, we plant 1 tree!
Firstly we have very stringent criteria for companies who work for us, we are also a small family business so long term relationships are important for us; this means that we know the people and our values are aligned. Our factories are also family run businesses with the highest standards of certifications. SEDEX, GOTS and FAIR TRADE among others. Independent audits and certifications are our assurance but we also have a full time local team member who visits regularly which to us is the best way to really know who is making our clothes and how they are treated. For our hand loomed fabrics and garments, we work directly with artisan families and stitching units who we have known for years.
Our order quantities are based on what we feel confident we will sell and requires a lot of analysis to get that right. We also have a partnership with Upparel® and offer our customers a $25 voucher as an incentive to send their worn out clothing to be upcycled or recycled into useable fiber. Our factories are encouraged to retain our offcuts and scraps for upcycling into usable products.
Cloth & Co. supports a number of women's cooperatives and organisations that provide training and dignified employment to vulnerable women in India. We have a number of products that we design specifically to provide ongoing work to these organisations; an example is our gorgeous hand knits from our current winter collection and for summer we will be launching a totally practical oversized hand loomed linen tote created entirely by a group of young women who have been rescued from human trafficking. This is an important factor in what we do, it has been since the outset.
As our organic cotton is all GOT's Certified, this is traceable back to the farm; we are working on a Regenerative Cotton Project where we will be directly connected with the farmers, their families and their land. (which we are so excited about) We are trying to trace back to the source for any fibres we work with and our preference is locally produced (in India) to reduce our carbon footprint throughout the supply chain.
Behind the Brand
“We specifically work with small organisations that provide women with equal opportunities and dignified employment with a living wage, along with other benefits to provide a better standard of living. All of our suppliers are independently audited and require certifications including SEDEX, SA8000, GOT’s and Fair Trade ensuring they meet the highest social and environmental standards”.
What made you start Cloth & Co.?
My love of travel and working with communities in India. It was the women we were working with in a village outside Jaipur and our desire to uplift them in an empowering way.
They are so resilient and watching them find their voice and confidence through our designs and their new found skills was what inspired us to contribute to this through a business; providing a market and supporting their training and education to create products with meaning and purpose.
Our goal was always to be more than just a fashion label, we never set out to produce more stuff, it was to use business as a force for good.
Do you have a morning routine? If so what is it you do to set yourself up for the day ahead?
I find walking the best way to set myself up for the day. Being in nature inspires me, makes me feel grateful no matter what else is going on in our world. It’s grounding, literally.
What’s the biggest barrier you’ve found to succeeding as a socially conscious business?
I think the biggest barrier has been finding the right alignment with our suppliers/artisans/women’s cooperatives in creating products that meet our quality, environmental and delivery time expectations. But also just teething issues and finding our way as a small business that doesn’t want to compromise on what we believe in.
Competing in a market where there’s a lot of competition in the sustainable and ethical space with brands with big marketing budgets that leverage ‘organic’ and ‘ethical’ without any real substance or transparency to greenwash confuses the consumer when it comes to their expectations of price.
Within the ethical fashion community, there’s a big question that we ask which is ‘who made my clothes?’. In the scope of Cloth & Co., who made your garments? Can you tell us a bit about them?
We specifically work with small organisations that provide women with equal opportunities and dignified employment with a living wage, along with other benefits to provide a better standard of living. All of our suppliers are independently audited and require certifications including SEDEX, SA8000, GOTs and Fair Trade ensuring they meet the highest social and environmental standards.
Our passion projects are with a number of small women’s cooperatives and Self Help Groups (SHGs) where we specifically design products that we know will sell all year round and we can just introduce them to the market when they’re ready.
Why did you pick the fabrics you have chosen to work with?
We love natural fibres and have never considered using anything else. Cloth & Co. has a strong environmental agenda and have focused on circularity in our product designs from the outset to minimise our carbon impact. We only work with natural fibres with a low impact on the environment such as linen and for our cotton, we only use certified organic.
Best piece of advice you have ever received?
A woman I worked with in India for 9 years had this quote as her email footer, it was a good reminder:
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” – Vivian Greene
One documentary everyone should watch? Why?
Although there have been many since, The True Cost is a game changer and I truly believe it should be screened in every school & university – it is something that just can’t be ignored.
Are there any other Movers & Shakers out there in your world that you think people should know about?
I’m inspired every day and just read an interview with Greta Thunberg in the Guardian – Greta Thunberg: ethical fast fashion is ‘pure greenwashing’ it’s a must-read.
Bandana Tewari – Watch Woven Threads: Conversations On Slowness, Sustaining Culture and Creativity with Bandana Tewari for Lagos Fashion Week.
Vandana Shiva – An Indian Scholar and environmentalist who just makes so much sense.
Grace Forrest – founding director of Walk Free, an international human rights organisation working to eradicate modern slavery, which affects over 40 million people globally. She is awesome!!