Basic Staples from Bamboo Body

Bamboo Body a brand proving you can Look Good, Feel Good, Do Good in timeless clothing.  Founded by sisters Amanda and Elouise in Australia Bamboo Body formed unexpectedly. Speaking with Amanda and Elouise helped paint a better picture of the sustainable fashion industry. Read below from them both on there journey and how all of us can cultivate a more sustainable lifestyle! 

How did you Amanda and Elouise get your start? What is your background? 

Elouise:  I have always loved sewing and wanted to be a fashion designer when I was a teenager.  I made most of my clothing including swimwear and my formal (prom) dress.  I studied and worked in a completely different field for many years but when the opportunity to create Bamboo Body came up, I jumped right in.  I think it is really, really awesome that I have come back to my early love of textiles and design.

Amanda:  I studied and worked in a completely different field for many years but felt a need to work in a more creative environment where I had ownership over projects.  I opened GlowMama Maternity Boutique in Brisbane Australia.  We still own and operate this business.  Brisbane is a warm environment and I had trouble sourcing maternity clothing that was breathable and made from natural fabrics.  Elouise and I decided it was an opportunity to create our own breathable clothing from natural fibres and Bamboo Body was born.

 Before you started Bamboo Body did you both have an interest in creating a sustainable product? 

No, not really.  We have always lead an eco-conscious life style and we try to reduce our impact on the environment.  It wasn't until we investigated the different fibres in more detail that we realised the massive environmental impact the textile industry has on the environment.  We then felt very strongly about finding a more sustainable alternative to cotton. 

 How did you find and fall in love with bamboo fabric?

When we were trying to find a more sustainable alternative to cotton we just happened to come across bamboo fabric. It was really new and not well known at the time.  We loved how soft and comfortable it was and when we found out it was made from such a sustainable resource we were hooked! 

 

What was your inspiration behind starting Bamboo Body? 

We were initially looking to supply breathable, natural fibre clothing to our maternity boutique in Brisbane but once we came across bamboo fabric we decided everyone needs to be wearing bamboo.  We decided to create Bamboo Body with the philosophy of look good, feel good, do good.  We wanted to bring bamboo fabric mainstream and create clothing that was simple, versatile and that would be worn time and time again.

Do you face any challenges creating sustainably? 

Yes we do experience challenges along the way.  It can be a little more expensive and a little more difficult to source sustainable fabrics.  

Also, while we are very conscious about using sustainable raw products, recycling and reusing, limiting waste and consumption, we are not perfect.  Bamboo fabric, whilst being an amazing alternative, is also not perfect.  Nothing is.  It can sometimes be difficult to strike the balance between living a life on the grid and having a financially sustainable business and limiting our impact on the environment.  With any type of consumption there is an impact.  We try hard to make a difference and we are environmentally conscious in all of our decisions.

What are your thoughts on what it means to live a conscious and sustainable life? 

Amanda:  It's the little decisions you make everyday that add up.  I am really concerned about the level of consumption and the amount of waste on Earth.  I think it is so important to be conscious about the resources you are using and the waste you are creating.  

Elouise:  I often think back to our wonderful great grandmother and how she lived her life.  Nothing was wasted, everything was reused and recycled.  Fruit and vegetables were home grown and swapped with neighbours.  Clothes and all possessions were chosen carefully, they were looked after and either worn out or passed on to someone else.   If possessions were damaged they were repaired rather than thrown out.  Our great grandmother was incredibly resourceful, healthy and happy. 

How do you practice living consciously and sustainably in your personal lives?  

Once again it is the small day to day decisions that all add up.  If possible I walk or ride my bike instead of driving.  I make considered purchases - do I really need this?  Will I get use out of it?  I grow many of my own herbs and vegetables.  I purchase and consume free range / organic food where ever possible.  I compost, recycle and reuse.  I will put another layer of clothing on rather than turn the heat on.  Our washing machine is connected to our rain water tank and I hang clothes out to dry rather than use the dryer.  

What advice would you give to the readers of Living Baree on how to buy and live consciously? 

It can seem difficult to strike the balance between living consciously and surviving in a modern world.  I think sometimes people get overwhelmed and it may seem that your small decisions will not make a difference one way or another.  But if everyone in the world lived a little more consciously it would have a big impact.  Make those small choices to live more sustainably every day.  Consider the resources you are using and the waste you are creating.  Know that every little step you take towards living a more sustainable life counts.

 

 

Images by: Michelle Kappeler

 

Meet Metalsmith Caitlin Cimino

I first came across Caitlin Cimino's line of fine jewelry on Instagram after being drawn in by the beauty and detail of her pieces I was pleased to discover her sustainable practices. I was fascinated and had to learn more about this amazing line and woman. With a warm, welcoming and excited heart Caitlin shared with me her past experiences and her journey into creating her namesake line. 

Meet metalsmith Caitlin Cimino, the woman hand mining her own stones and creating jewelry from recycled metals! 

How did you get your start? What is your background?

It began in 2010 after shoulder surgery nudged me to reevaluate my chosen career path: a path that did not allow me to embrace my love of art and nature. A few months after recovering from the surgery a friend’s birthday came and money was tight for me because I could not work while my shoulder was healing, so I made her a gift: a pair of earrings. After that, I couldn’t stop making jewelry. My creative fire had been ignited. After 2 years of jewelry play, in 2014, I traveled to Florence, Italy to study under a master jeweler. Since then, I’ve incorporated his teachings with my own self-taught metal-smithing practices which includes utilizing bits of nature with sustainable metals.

Before you started your personal line did you always have an interest in creating a sustainable product?

I believe it’s always been in me. I became vegetarian in 2008, after watching a video on factory farming. That video was the catalyst for wanting to learn more about where my food comes from and how the animals and the environment are affected in the process. That need to know and desire to be a positive change spread to all avenues of my life.

 

What was your inspiration behind creating sustainable jewelry?

It came from my understanding of the harmful effects mining for metals and gemstones has on the environment and it’s inhabitants. I’ve been mining my own stones for a few years now, but the day I learned the negative effects corporate metal-mining has on the environment, I put down my tools. I learned things like: 20 tons of toxic waste is created for ever .333 ounce (this of the size of a wedding band) of gold found and 180 million tons of toxic trash is created and dumped into our oceans, rivers and lakes per year from metal-mining worldwide. I took 8 months off and sat with the information, I let it really sink in and even contemplated leaving the industry, which over time really tore at my soul. Over time, I found reputable companies that provide jewelers with quality recycled metals, at which point I picked my tools back up again and decided to create consciously.

What challenges do you face creating sustainably? 

There really aren’t a lot of companies out there that sell quality recycled metals or findings (clasps, jump rings, chains, etc), so that can be a challenge when I need something specific. Luckily, most of the time I can make it myself, it just takes extra time and patience.

What are your thoughts on what it means to live a conscious and sustainable life?

For me, it means looking beyond immediate gratification - which is so prevalent in this day and age. The most conscious choices take effort, time and often, sacrifice. But, in the long run it makes all the difference to the health and the wellness of our planet and its inhabitants.

How do you practice living consciously and sustainably in your personal life? 

I compost the majority of my scrap food. I purchase organic produce and herbs. I’m a strict vegetarian and have been known to drive 2 hours to purchase eggs from happy chickens. I make many of my own skin care products along with natural medicines (I also study Herbalism in my spare time). The bits I’m unable to make myself, I read their labels and research the companies before I purchase their product.

What advice would you give to the readers of Living Baree on how to buy and live consciously? 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask! Be curious about EVERYTHING. Every product you use and every bit of food you ingest. Everything was brought to you with history, and that history may hold great weight. Through gaining knowledge, we are the ones that hold the power to make positive environmental and ethical changes.

 

 

All photos by: Caitlin Cimino