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Can fashion be sustainable?

Are people looking at 'eco fashion', 'sustainable fashion', 'green clothing' (or whatever people prefer to call it) as a new trend ? How can fashion be sustainable anyway ?

With it meaning different things to everyone, and businesses tending to jump on trends with little substance behind their claims, is the push for a more sustainable fashion industry in danger of passing along with other trends ?

I guess we have always taken a more pragmatic approach here at Rant. Focussing on designing for our customers that have supported us since 2003. We know they appreciate that we are 100% made in Australia, use natural fibres and have our knits milled locally in Australia. They are comfortable paying a little more as they know their garments will be with them for a number of years and are not mass produced.

Having shyed away from the 'fashion' tag in the past, we are becoming more comfortable knowing that 'sustainable fashion' is gaining momentum.

So what do we see as 'sustainable' in the 'fashion' industry?

Buying everything local is really a major key for us. Supporting people in your own community creates a network of people you know and enjoy working with. Not having to ship things all around the world to get the lowest price reduces the energy required for transport substantially also.

As well as our cutters and sewers being local, all our buying is done with Australian companies, with the exception of a New Zealand fabric company. While the reality is not everything can be made in Australia (especially haberdashery), all our packaging and printing uses recycled material, and is majority Australian made. The use of 100% Greenpower is a way we can support the renewable energy industry, and supporting local charities is also important. In the last two years we have donated over $18,000 to the Australian Rainforest Foundation & Widlife Queensland. Very aware that our business relies on the purchase of consumer goods, we wanted to give back to those working to protect our unique native wildlife and rainforests. So customers can be confident when they receive their parcels from us in their rant 'eco bag' saying that a donation is made on their behalf from their purchase, that it is genuine.

I'm sure the idea of 'sustainability' will continue to evolve, as will every persons understanding of it. Of course the risk is that there is always more you can be doing, and reusing what you have is important too, though the Australian fashion industry is in a unique position to spread the word. The arts have always been a vehicle for social change, and clothing particularly represents how people interact with the environment around them. So here's to 'sustainable fashion' continuing to grow and remaining a 'fashion staple'.

Thanks for reading - Jason


The story of the Bestowed graphics

With 'Bestowed' officially launched we're excited that we can now talk about all the details that came together to create our new pure cotton label.

The imagery for 'Bestowed' was something we spent a lot of time on, working with other creatives from around Australia.

With a name and concept in mind, Ennis & Perry from Melbourne helped us out on the logo & printed material, including the swing tags. A beautiful take on the origins and texture of woven cotton through the use of watercolours, added the natural, organic feel we were after.

A design for the first 'Bestowed' print needed to reflect its botanical origins also. The end result the Rant team came up with is shown here on the right. Flora from Australia and New Zealand were chosen to reflect the Antipodean nature of our designs. Local fauna is also represented by the little wrens we see near us at Enogerra Reservoir. All the printed garments, including the Minerva tee, Lucinda singlet & tunic, were produced by a company certified by Ethical Clothing Australia (our certification is not far away too!).

Sourcing of organic cotton fabrics and sampling in between the Rant collections, meant a busy year at the Rant studio for Sarah and Melinda, which all came together for the photoshoot at Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens. Pure & light were the two words we wanted to convey the most, and the images taken by Photographer, Todd Hunter McGaw, captured this perfectly.

It was then back to Ennis & Perry for the layout of the 'Bestowed' booklet, needing a different signature to the graphics for 'Bestowed' than those Melinda & I come up with for Rant. We had a concept for a booklet that also doubles as individual posters, and the end result from Ennis Perry was beyond our expectations. The finer details continued through to the waterless printing & 100% recycled Australian made paper used for the booklet.

The 'gift of pure cotton' that is Bestowed was ready.

In Australia and interested in receiving a booklet ? Just click on 'contact us' above and fill in your details. You can always see our main website for our contact details also.

- Jason


A gift of pure cotton... the origins of 'Bestowed'

Summer 2010-2011 was a steamy one. I had friends going to Vietnam for xmas/new year and a few customers emailing me for advice on choosing garments to feel comfortable in the hot humid weather. Even though I live in Brisbane, which is hot and humid at times, I put on the air-conditioning. So it made me think about what to wear if this is not a possibility.

Some years ago I had done a trip around Thailand, from the 'Golden Triangle' down to Phi Phi island, travelling only with a small backpack. So my mind started going... cool to wear, multi-use, but still looking good and feeling nice on your skin. There was only one fibre that it can be; light, soft, organic cottons.

I contacted my local fabric suppliers and started looking at all my possibilities. I started sampling and wearing the new styles. Many of my favourite 'Rant' staples were used as a base, then put in the new fabrics. I made new styles that fitted around the bust, then fall away from the body to allow air flow and ensure they did not stick to me. I wore them all day, slept in them and found I never wanted to take them off. I did yoga in them, went out to dinner in them. Yes ! This would be a collection you could travel with to a hot climate and only need to take a carry on bag. My ultimate way to travel !

I chose the cotton knits in a variety of weights. Some needed to be thick enough to not be transparent, some needed to be the lightest I could possibly get. The shrugs & layer tops are only 60gsm (very light), and is very sheer. It is perfect to lightly cover your arms if you need to, but not feel hot at all. The organic cotton jersey I used for the 'Dita' & 'Lisette' dresses, is 110gsm as it needed to not be sheer. I only dyed this knit in black & charcoal as light colours would be sheer as this is still a light weight. By focussing on the weight of the fabrics this meant the end garment would be as light as possible, and therefore make a difference when checking in at the airport.

In future blogs I will design wardrobes for friends & customers who are travelling, show the mix & match combinations & show the weights of the outfits to fit into a carry on bag.

- Sarah







New Bestowed Collection makes Steamy Debut

We thought customers might liked reading the press release for 'Bestowed' as it gives a different point of view behind the new label.

Thanks go to Jillian at Future Buzz for putting this together...

Difficult situations inspire ingenious solutions. And if necessity is the mother of all invention then new clothing label Bestowed will have a strong and devoted following from the start.

Created by the founder of the popular Rant Clothing label, Bestowed garments allow their owners to express a unique point of view.

“From the beginning I wanted to design pieces that formed the ultimate lightweight summer-survival kit,” explained Sarah. “Bestowed was borne from a need to design specifically for the tropics. Whether you live in Brisbane, Broome, Cairns or Darwin, or travel to Vietnam, Thailand or South Africa, our garments are design NOT to touch the body and let the wearer feel amazingly comfortable from the moment they get up.”

While there’s a lot of ‘light-weight’ clothes on the market, Sarah found that designing for a tropical market is distinctly different.

“I think you need a completely different mindset to design for people living or travelling the tropics. Everything needs to be lightweight and breathable and also carry you from bed to beach to dinner – especially if you’re travelling.

“When I design the Rant collections, I can indulge in layers of silks & rayon, but it is hard to successfully layer in steamy, humid weather.  Instead, we’ve designed garments that can be worn on their own and mixed and matched.”

“The pieces in the Bestowed collection are great for travelling with as they tend to remain crinkle-free in the luggage and have the added advantage to being tremendously light and versatile,” explained Sarah. “A carry-on bag of only a dozen items would actually be enough for a 2 week trip because of the variety of ways you can wear each piece.”

The launch collection includes organic cotton jersey and cotton poplin dresses, pants, tunics and singlet tops. Rounding out the collection are shrugs and tops in superfine cotton. This season’s featured colour-ways are black, white, charcoal, indigo, grape and sage.

Celebrating our own national style, talent and resources, Bestowed is 100% Australian-designed and made and is borne from Australian-milled cotton. With its organic cottons and eco-friendly dyes, it’s environmental sustainability taken to the extreme.

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