It is no secret that the fashion industry is wildly harmful towards the environment. It is the second most polluting industry, after oil. We have found the tug of war between our creative desires and our environmental consciousness has been exhausting since we began Albeco in Bali in 2013. It is sometimes confronting to be given the opportunity to start a clothing label in a place like Bali where evidence of a suffering environment is right in front of your face. But Bali and us have a rhythm and there is more to our relationship than 'getting clothes made cheap'.
Our Family Run Mini Factory:
Michael is our tailor. He lives in Java and travels to Bali for us. We travel to Bali for him. He is our most valuable asset and we love him. He calls Lexi and Conrad, Lesi and Coinrah. Michael's wife Ratna also works for us, along with both her and Michael's brothers and their wives. Laura (a pivotal member of our family) introduced Lexi to Michael in 2002 and very quickly the importance of this meeting began to fruit. We are so grateful for Michael's commitment to the tribe.
We are not mass-produced, we are fair trade, we are conscious, we gather our off-cuts and save them (we don't know what to do with them yet, but we once gave a bag to a local farmer who tied the fabric on string and hung them over his rice field to scare birds from his fruiting crop). Michael and his family are supported by us and we are supported, encouraged, guided and learning from them.
We've recently introduced Organic Cotton to make our clothes. The production of Organic Cotton enriches the soil's ecosystem, uses non toxic chemicals or GMOs (genetically modified organisms), and uses 71% less water and 62% less energy than non-organic cotton. Cotton usually uses irrigation and it takes 2,700 litres of water to make a conventional cotton t-shirt (that is the average amount of water a person consumes in 3 years)! But our Organic Cotton is 80% rain fed, meaning it reduces the pressure on local water supplies.
In 2015, 26 million metric tonnes of cotton was produced globally, much of it for the apparel industry. Organic cotton makes up less than 1% of this.
The introduction of Organic Cotton to Albeco means we are one step closer to a healthier and more sustainable brand.
Would you like to help us make a more positive impact on the world? We recommend buying second hand clothing and passing on garments you no longer desire. We also encourage supporting local companies who make responsible choices in fabrics and production, and contribute to the local and global community.