Bassike has always been a pillar of ethical envy for the Australian fashion landscape. One foot into any of their local stores and you'll understand why. With organically sourced fabrications and an Australian made approach, investing in one of their iconic Bassike jersey t-shirts is not only a rite of passage for so many of us, but a commitment to local businesses doing the work. Today, Bassike has taken that work a step further with their #morethanbassike campaign, as the brand announces that its organic cotton jersey product line is certified carbon neutral by Climate Active.
Leading with integrity, the brand takes this next step at the forefront of sustainability and ethics within the Australian fashion industry. For Deborah Sams, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Bassike, the journey has been a goal from the beginning.
"I suppose the milestone means to me that it's been a continuous process from day dot of consciously trying to improve our process and head in the right direction towards sustainability." She tells me over the phone. "So I feel like this is really where we can put a stake in the ground and say that we've achieved some big milestones. Being certified carbon neutral as an organisation, as well as being able to certify our jersey, which is a huge part of our business. It feels fantastic. To be to be able to walk the talk."
For Co-Founder and Director of Sustainability & Supply Chain Mary Lou Ryan, spearheading this initiative has been fulfilling through a time where the climate crisis is becoming more and more urgent. "I think coming out of what everyone's been going through for the last few years and especially the devastation that we're seeing to our planet, it's just been nice that we can be in a position as a design-led brand to really champion our industry in terms of making good choices." She says. "I think people are really interested in making good choices. So it's been very fulfilling. There's still there's still work to be done. But in terms of our continuous improvement, we're certainly on our pathway. And it's been really lovely to lead the business and really transition us through that process."
To celebrate this milestone, bassike chose New York-based, Australian model and entrepreneur Lara Worthington, to front the campaign, mirroring the brands sentiments of influence and accountability as a philanthropist and entrepreneur herself.
"For us, it was about aligning ourselves with somebody that felt that was a natural fit for Bassike." Sams says. "With Lara, she does love the brand, she wears the brand, it's an authentic collaboration. She's got a great energy and confidence and her sense of style, really fits with our brand. So it just felt very natural for us to collaborate with an Australian icon, and someone who has just got great style. And also does great stuff herself, with her philanthropic endeavours and also influencing fashion and beauty. We're big fans of each other, so I think it's such a great connection."
The news of the organic cotton jersey product line being certified carbon neutral by Climate Active comes almost a year after after the Climate Active Carbon Neutral certification of the Bassike organisation in July 2021, one that signifies a lot for a local Australian business.
"The certification signifies that the greenhouse gas emissions associated with sourcing our raw material production, yarn spinning, garment manufacturing, distribution, and the end of life of Bassike's organic cotton jersey products have been measured to reduce any emissions where possible, and then we must offset the entirety by other reduction and capturing projects." Ryan notes.
As far as the process has been for the business to get to this point, it was never going to be a simple one. "When you think about the fashion industry, and the contribution that the industry has to greenhouse gas emissions, so much of it comes from the product and the lifecycle of garments. So, for us, our jersey collection is such a big part of our business, we've been using the same organic cotton since we started the business 16 years ago, and it just felt like it was the next logical step for us to really understand supply chain and what we could do there in terms of making better decisions and reducing our impact on the planet." Ryan explains. "And that was just really why we've decided to take our organic Jersey for that. And we've been able to move our mini mill in Melbourne. So with that move, factories were able to work back with them. They have now installed some solar panels, so they work off renewable energy with the installation of those. So just being able to understand the supply chain and where we can really reduce our environmental impact in choosing sea freight, open air freight, and all the things that have a huge contribution to climate."
One of the most admirable things about the Bassike brand is that, as Sams mentions, there is no lip-service being paid without tangible action propelling it. For Bassike, these steps are milestones in every sense of the word, but they are no finish lines.
"Our focus really at the moment, is around material selection. When it comes to material selection, we are working on good environmental applications whether it's organic cotton, or it's our stewardship, which actually supports deforestation. So just really making sure that we're transitioning as the industry is transitioning, and that we continue to make good choices." Ryan says.
"A lot of work goes into actually understanding what the carbon footprint is. So it's about building core fabrications around that, and fabrications that are going to be ongoing in the business. So I suppose the jersey was a first step, and we'll see where we go with other fabrications."