Being bandana or silk-scarf obsessed, we decided to explore the possibility of producing our own.
Little did we know it would change everything we thought we knew about 'Responsible Manufacturing'...
Since our founder was old enough to carry a handbag, she has been known to bedazzle her carry-goods from slips of vintage silk to printed gang-land bandanas, depending on her mood.
So when it came to releasing our new look brand and logo, a Custom-Printed A_C Bandana was exactly what the Doctor (read: Director) ordered.
We knew that in order to produce a custom-printed scarf we would be entering a different world of textiles and one in which we weren't so confident in. Sure, we've made things out of Pineapple Leaves, reused Yoga Mats and recycled Waterbottles but Cotton? No. Since starting down this road we have avoided the Cotton World by matter of principle. We decided that if in fact we were going to explore this terrain, we would really need to get into the nitty gritty of the way it was produced and ensure our addition to the market was going to do as little harm as possible.
Well then, didn't we find ourselves down the metaphorical Rabbit Hole of Sustainable Practice. From reviewing the cost of GMO Cotton on the Earth to the spraying of pesticides on the soil, rendering the land unusable for many years to come, we unpacked it all.
It wasn't until we met Prakash that we really thought this was a plausible opportunity to explore.
Prakash, our beloved factory owner based in India showed us around his workplace announcing "We are a Green Factory, my friends. Green!".
But what does a 'Green Factory' even mean?
The below are just a few of the policies that Prakash and his team of likeminded workers put in place to ensure their footprint is as light as their Organic Cotton is soft.
Prakash's 'Green Factory' is powered by Wind Turbines and Solar Energy. They are run entirely "off grid" and rely on the sun and the wind to get their work done.
Low Water Usage:
It can take more than 20,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of cotton, equivalent to a single T-shirt and a pair of jeans. That's why Prakash has chosen a Factory Site that is situated in a region that receives up to 95% of its water from the monsoon rains. This was an important consideration, as the monsoon rain reduces the need for large-scale irrigation projects normally associated with conventional cotton farming, which often deprive local villages of scarce water resources by draining lakes and rivers.
To complete their Water Care, the factory has installed Salt & Water Recycling plants. The Evaporator & Crystallizer are used for the recovery and re-use of salt and water, ensuring no pollutants are released into the waterways and fresh water usage is limited.
If care and attention to the Planet wasn't enough, our factory are also Fair Wear Foundation Certified, ensuring the employees are protected by the most stringent social criteria, providing total traceability across the entire supply chain, and also by the ban on the use of poisonous chemicals that can severely damage the health of farmers and their families.
These standards also free poor farmers from third world debt to chemical companies on the 'pesticide treadmill'. To help tackle the social injustice often seen in manufacturing, commonly known as sweatshop labour, their organic production allows the supply chain to be completely transparent, audited by the Fair Wear Foundation, which promotes fair labour conditions from farm to factory.
As you can imagine, we explored all sorts of options for printing a Bandana but Organic Cotton was by far our fabric of choice. We opted for 70gsm GOTS Certified Organic Cotton, printed with Natural Dyes.
We are overjoyed with our final offering and wrap, swathe or lace our A_C Scarves around every handle, chain or strap in sight. If you require a little inspiration on how to bedazzle your (sustainable, ethical and cruelty-free) handbag, we've inserted some ideas below.
Suffice to say, the methods of this Factory are not only visionary but absolutely necessary. It's 2021 and this is the blueprint for precisely how all industries should operate... but you probably already know this, otherwise you wouldn't have wound up all the way down the bottom of this braggy list of incredible credentials of what exactly makes a 'Green Factory'... Would you? ;)