We're very humbled to be approached by Slow Journal, an independent digital and print publication that has a focus on the exploration of mindful living, to become a feature in their sixth issue since launching in 2019.
When catching up with them, we discussed our position on sustainable clothing production, what it means to produce high-quality apparel and the deeper messages behind our brand.
Read an excerpt of our conversation below.
From humble and salty beginnings back in 2009, Andorwith was created by brothers Daniel and Dominic Smith. A small scale operation where the brothers designed t-shirts from their family shack in Goolwa Beach, south of Adelaide and sold them to family and friends from the boot of their car.
Now a boutique surf and skate brand with a strong focus on community and sustainability, the Andorwith range includes mens, womens and childrenswear along with surfboards and accessories.
With their very own concept store in Clarence Gardens, South Australia, their designs and message of 'we're in this together' are being shared around the country by a special group of board riders who live the brands ethos. To love the ocean, love getting outdoors, embrace sustainability and be conscious of their impact on others.
We caught up with Designer and Owner Daniel to learn more about their sustainability goals and encouraging people to shop more thoughtfully.
Where abouts do you consider Andorwith on a sustainability journey?
I would say we are in a kombi van driving down a long road. We are just beginning our journey. But we are making tracks! Our ultimate goal, is for every Andorwith product to contain sustainably sourced and made materials. How are we doing it currently you might ask?
As surfers we are innately aware of the pristine beauty of our ocean environments, however humankind’s reliance on plastic is becoming a catastrophic problem and thus we need to stop our consumption of single use plastic in particular and refrain, reduce and reuse such materials. All of our board shorts are made from 100% recycled polyester, something we are very proud of.
Each board short contains 8 post-consumer plastic bottles which would normally find its way into landfill or into our ocean environments. This process of converting PET into recycled polyester requires 35-53% less energy than virgin polyester. Using more recycled polyester reduces our reliance on petroleum and using such PET plastic from drink bottles reduces landfill and ocean waste which means less soil contamination, air and water pollution.
When considering garment design, and manufacturing processes what are your 3 non negotiables?
Non Negotiable number 1- Premium quality.
There is two main reasons for this: The longer something lasts the better for the environment that piece of clothing is. Thus- Make good things that last a long time!
My Dad used to say to me and i'll never forget it “The feeling of getting a cheap deal quickly disappears. It's the quality of the product that remains with you long into the future”. We live by this!
Non Negotiable number 2- Functional.
What is the products purpose. If it's a product for swimming or surfing in. Make it the best functional garment on the market for that reason. Don’t make something for the sake of a trend.
We will actually never make anything unless we are a 100% happy we are making something that is better than anything else out there.
Non Negotiable number 3- Sustainably driven.
When we embark on making a new product or begin a new season collection, we always ask ourselves and the manufacturer/suppliers “Can we be doing better?, Is there a more sustainable material we could use instead?”
Last year for example when we were making our party shirts for our peak summer collection. Our previous shirts were made from a fabric called Rayon. After some research we became aware of an even better 100% biodegradable, eco friendly & organic alternative to Rayon. Which is called Lyocell.
Lyocell is made from wood pulp from sustainable gum trees in a closed loop process that recovers or decomposes all solvents and emissions. Now all are party shirts are made from this 100% organic and biodegradable material. ;)
As a collective, how do you feel we can best motivate consumers to opt for kinder wardrobe choices?
I think education is the key. Like anything in life if you want to change the narrative you need to do something about it yourself.
If the majority of consumers don’t know enough about the fashion industries impact on the environment, how can you expect people to change their buying habits?
The more information we can provide to our customers about why its important that we choose to buy more sustainable garments/materials etc and the more transparent we can be as brands/suppliers etc, consumers can then make an educated decision on how to purchase garments which are kinder to mother nature. If consumers were aware that the fashion industry as a whole is one of the biggest polluters in the world.
Therefore, where possible when choosing garments or deciding between brands/materials etc, we are buying from brands which supply fabrics and materials which are as sustainable as possible.
Ultimately, what do you want people to feel when they support your label and wear your designs?
Knowledge that they are supporting a 100% independent, Australian family owned and operated business- who at its core want you to buy something which not only will last you a long time but is ethically sourced and responsibly produced.
We collaborate with several other local South Australian businesses, utilising their expert craftsmanship wherever possible. And all of their designs are made in small 10-100 piece runs.
Global brands have the opportunity to influence so many people, in a much more positive way. They really could be a vehicle for change within society, but they seem to focus more on their stock prices and not so much on people.
With independent brands like Andorwith, you’re helping to promote a much bigger message, rather than just promoting big brand’s logo. We’re about bringing people together as one. A large family if you like, to make the world a better place to live one 100% recycled boardshort at a time!
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