TALKING STYLE, ETHICS & SUSTAINABILITY | THE GREEN HUB

I’ve always been a fan of the Australian fashion label GINGER & SMART. They are the epitome of cool, feminine fashion, that’s also well made and has a conscious.

Founded by the Sydney sister design duo (try saying that five times!), Alexandra and Genevieve Smart, the brand has consistently grown for nearly a decade. With many brands struggling to connect the dots between style, ethics, and sustainability – GINGER & SMART has been blazing the luxury fashion path from the beginning.

We spoke with Genevieve Smart to dive deep into GINGER & SMART’s journey, initiatives and what the future of sustainable fashion might look like.

If you look at any of GINGER & SMART’s collections, you’ll see beautiful fabrics, unique garments, and feminine cuts. As an ‘eco’ brand, they are very successful in still achieving show-stopping pieces, which is why it can be found in various mainstream retailers such as David Jones and The Iconic.

“We design for spirited women whose distinctive style is an expression of their individuality. A sense of cool confidence and discovery underpins the luxury contemporary design aesthetic of our brand, which seeks to combine the polished and the playful aspects of a woman”.

As a consumer, detailed information on products such as how it’s made is vital to gauge understanding and the impacts. GINGER & SMART has an extensive product description for each item, detailing the fabric, certifications, production methods, equipment, features and environmental impact of each garment.

According to Genevieve Smart, sustainability is at the core of their brand and this is evident through collections such as ENTROPY, which is made from sustainable forests that are biodegradable.

Sustainability has been embedded in the brand from its beginning 2002. We believe that sustainable fashion can influence not only environmental change but also social change and bring awareness to sustainability generally. Nature is not only our life force but also the source of so much inspiration for us creatively and we owe it to mother nature to look after her.

Our sustainable purpose is to create beautifully considered timeless pieces, designed to be worn many times and with a low impact on our global environment. We are committed to continually increasing the percentage of garments sourced from renewable or recycled resources… We collaborate with a manufacturer who engages 800 farming households in needy areas and provides training on Organic farming and provides non-GM cotton seeds, bio fertiliser, and non-chemical pest management.”

Aside from working hard to ensure fashion doesn’t damage the environment, GINGER & SMART also care about people. They not only ensure that their workers are well looked after, but contribute to social initiatives to assist vulnerable communities.

“We feel a moral obligation to the people who make our garments. Adequate wages, healthy working conditions, a safe hygienic workplace, protection of the environment, prohibition of forced labour and elimination of child labour are all vital to our social responsibility… We have recently partnered with Sydney Community Foundation to collaborate on a The Women’s Friendship Sewing Circle supporting migrant and refugee women In Fairfield. We contribute time in a mentoring program and work with the women to produce a STRONG&KIND Tote, which raised funds to support the program. We consider it a privilege to be able to give back to those less fortunate through the social initiatives we support.”

To be fair to fashion, there’s a reason not all brands are fully ethical or eco-conscious – it can be difficult and it requires effort. A certain amount of time and resources have to go into overseeing supply chains, getting certifications and still making a profit. Genevieve Smart completely understands these difficulties, having been through the process herself.

 

“Collaborating with suppliers in researching and developing innovative sustainable solutions can be full of challenges and complex contradictions and takes time to develop, but it’s always worth it. The challenge is finding a solution that is sustainable but also economically viable for the business. There is a strong sustainable community in Australia and a heartening rise of the conscious consumer so we feel we are part of making important change in our industry.

There’s a seismic shift happening in future fashion and we try to stay close to new technology and adopt innovative methods where we can across all areas of the business. Waste reduction and the Circular economy hold some interesting prospects for us in terms of future fabrication. Sustainability will rely on a collaborative approach between industries to recycle materials. As designers, change and innovation are key drivers so the future is exciting in this space.”

I’m really excited to see where GINGER & SMART go in the future, considering what they’ve achieved in a decade. They are a testament to other fashion brands that luxury and style don’t have to be compromised to be ethical or sustainable. Innovation and collaboration are vital for the fashion industry, and with brands like GINGER & SMART fighting the good fight; Australia might get a seat at the table.

See the article here.