Doing our bit for sustainability
For Surface Art, sustainability is not an afterthought. Our business was founded to be Australian and to help keep the local textile industry alive. From the beginning, we have been committed to designing and selling locally, in the community where we live and work. In fact, all of our design, and much of the production of our clothing and homewares is completed within 5km of our Leichhardt studio in inner west Sydney.
Australia ranks number two in the world for textile disposal. Some is donated but most goes into landfill, so the materials you use matter. For example, polyester can take more than 200 years to decompose. We primarily use natural fibres, with the occasional addition of spandex to provide stretch and to help our garments retain their shape. We aim to produce quality clothing in enduring designs that people will wear from season to season. We are about slow fashion.
At Surface Art, we believe that everyone should play a part in sustainability and that small things can have a big impact. The sustainability landscape in fashion is complex and can be confusing. Read on to see how we are endeavouring to do our part.
Keeping it local
Surface Art is committed to reducing our carbon footprint and has been since the beginning. One of Moyra's guiding principles has been supporting local businesses. She carefully considers every collaborator based on how they do business and their proximity - most are family-run businesses. Moyra is passionate about using local makers and screen printers, and she has maintained long-term relationships with many suppliers.
You can't get more local than doing things in-house, and Moyra still makes most of the homewares, cuts the fabric for the skirts, and produces sample ranges in the Leichhardt studio.
Plus, Moyra designs all of Surface Art's original fabrics. Her designs are inspired by nature, her environment, and objects and art and design movements that she loves. Surface Art textiles are quite timeless, combining contemporary Australian and nostalgic influences.
Reduce and reuse
We are always thinking of ways we can do more with less and make the best use of the materials we have. Some of the key ways we do that are as follows:
- Sell the majority of what we produce - This may sound simple, but producing the amount of clothing and fabric we need to sell is key to our strategy. We accurately produce only what we need. We sell our small fabric offcuts to home crafters and sewers at reduced prices to eliminate waste.
- Upcycle remnants -The fabric pieces that are too small to be sold, we donate to Boomerang Bags so that our remnants can be made into reusable shopping bags.
- Social responsibility and charitable donations - For clothing that is not sold, Surface Art donates to like-minded charitable organisations and has directly sent clothing to communities where they are needed.
- Use of natural fibres - Most Surface Arts fabrics are made with natural fibres. There are many advantages to this for consumers, including the fact that they will effectively biodegrade if they are ever in a landfill.
Creating quality goods that stand the test of time
Moyra says that she is in the clothing industry, not the fashion industry. What she means is that she designs clothing, homewares, and fabric that is timeless and of high quality. It is not meant to be disposable. At Surface Art's core is designing and producing products that will stand the test of time. Some of ways they do this are:
- Longevity of items - Wearability, comfort and longevity are considered carefully as every piece is crafted. Surface Art is not about being on trend, but about creating garments that can be loved and enjoyed for decades.
- Design for all women - We create design that works for women in their twenties through to their eighties. And, we design with all women in mind, creating clothing in sizes up to size 20. We truly want to have something for every woman.
- Diversity of design - Moyra designs most of her own fabrics, but she has a special line that was inspired by her Mother's love of sewing and fabric, Theodora Jones. She carefully selects designs and fabrics sourced from overseas to create limited edition clothing and cushions in these curated fabrics.