FASHION AND TECHNOLOGY JOIN FORCES FOR AN ECO-CONSCIOUS CAUSE
You’d be forgiven for thinking that big tech and the fashion industry make unlikely allies, but this season, NET-A-PORTER and LG have teamed up with three designers to create our first fully machine-washable capsule collection in a bid to help save our planet. Rounding out the trio is luxe Australian resort label Bondi Born…
Despite launching in Sydney just five years ago, Bondi Born has quickly become one of the leading names in luxury swim and resort wear. Founded by businesswoman Dale McCarthy, who worked in the world of finance before making a foray into fashion, the brand was created in response to what McCarthy saw as a gap in the market. According to esteemed stylist and Bondi Born creative director Karla Clarke, it’s McCarthy’s clear vision of what the brand needed to be, what it needed to deliver and, ultimately, who it is for that has made it a runaway success with women across the globe.
“Dale McCarthy established the brand because she was unable to find a swimsuit that she actually wanted to buy. Australia as a nation is known for an incredible lifestyle that’s very much dominated by the beach, but our swimwear offering has always fallen into one of two camps: performance-driven or trend-driven. If you didn’t identify with either of these, there wasn’t a lot for you.” Bondi Born bridges the gap between these two traditional tropes by keeping their woman front and center during the design process. The end goal is to empower her by creating the most flattering designs possible. “Bondi Born exists at the intersection between function and fashion; its swimwear is for real women’s bodies. We care deeply about making sure that women feel incredibly confident in how they look.”
“Our designs are made to be worn in beautiful, natural environments; and so, if there is no natural environment to enjoy, we serve no purpose. It’s in our interest to protect them”
Beyond the power of aesthetics, Bondi Born’s other core principle is a relentless focus on sustainability. However, Clarke is candid about the fact that no brand can claim to be 100 percent sustainable. “We’re all learning, and now the race is on to adopt better practices as quickly as possible and implement the changes that are needed to be better.” A lot of labels lean on vague language and green washing to try and bolster their eco-credentials, but for Bondi Born, this emphasis on environmental care and social justice is built into every facet of the business. Every step of the production process, from pattern cutting to assembly, happens within a 2km radius of the brand’s Sydney headquarters, making for a supply chain with maximum transparency. Elsewhere, suppliers are held up to a stringent code of conduct. Perhaps most powerfully, as a member of 1% for the Planet, Bondi Born has pledged to donate at least 1 percent of its annual turnover to environmental causes.When it came to creating the capsule collection, Clarke turned to a design tenet for inspiration. “It began with drapery, which is kind of the cornerstone of fashion design. It’s often associated with formal pieces, but it’s also really integral to resort wear.” Of course, selecting the perfect fabric was also a crucial part of the design process. Linen is well known for its sustainable properties, so Clarke opted for a Japanese derivate for chic cover-ups. However, the swimwear is cast in a material many people may be less familiar with: ‘Sculpture’, a swimwear cloth that is a staple in the Bondi Born catalogue, not only has the effect of smoothing, supporting and delicately shaping the body, it also boasts five eco-certificates. As a label named after one of the most iconic beaches in the world, the question of fabrication, particularly when it comes to pieces you’ll be wearing in the ocean, has always been close to the brand’s heart. “Our designs are made to be worn in beautiful, natural environments; and so, if there is no natural environment to enjoy, we serve no purpose. It’s in our interest to protect them.”
Of course, one of the fundamental ways in which you can make your closet more sustainable is by expanding the lifespan of the pieces you already own, which is exactly where electronic pioneers LG come in. Fashion and tech might sound like an unlikely match, but together, they’re a force for change. Clarke relished the opportunity to create a fully machine-washable capsule, and one that generated zero waste, too. “I don’t think dry-clean-only pieces are tenable, particularly for a resort-wear brand. So, partnering with LG on this brief was a welcome challenge. I hope this is the beginning of a more functional approach to how we choose our fabrications.” In fact, this idea of longevity is a core part of the Bondi Born DNA and factored into everything from fabric selection to the design process. “The Sculpture cloth we use in our swimwear is actually 10 times more durable than your average fabric. Moreover, if a design won’t last beyond one season, then it has no place in our brand. Each season, we introduce pieces that build on the previous collections.”
The intuitive fabric-protection technology that sets the LG AI DD™ apart from other washing machines on the market was conceived with this same desire in mind – to expand the life of our closets while protecting the natural environment. Clarke confirms: “What’s unique about the LG washing machine is it features incredible technology that senses the weight of the fabric and identifies the softness of the fabric, and then chooses its own setting accordingly. In terms of sustainability, the LG AI DD™ is incredible.” Furthermore, the TurboWash360 setting also saves energy – cutting your laundry time down to as little as 39 minutes – while the machine’s steam technology decreases wrinkles and creases caused by washing, removing 99.9 percent of allergens in the process.
Washing your clothes might sound like a quotidian or downright mundane act, but done right, it can be a surprisingly revolutionary one, too. “Dry cleaning might make your clothes look pristine, but at the end of the day, it’s a really abrasive process that impacts negatively on the planet.” It’s by waking up to the cumulative effect of our seemingly everyday actions, and changing them accordingly, that we can lessen our footprint. It’s exactly this sentiment that inspired LG to launch its #CareForWhatYouWear campaign earlier this year; and in many ways, this movement extends far beyond our closets. Caring for what you wear ultimately means caring for the planet, and building a better and more sustainable future for us all.