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 also 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 our guiding principles has been supporting local businesses. We carefully consider every collaborator based on how they do business and their proximity - most are family-run businesses. We are passionate about using local makers and screen printers, and we have maintained long-term relationships with many of our suppliers.
You can't get more local than doing things in-house. In the Leichhardt studio, we make most of the homewares, cut the fabric for the skirts, and produce our sample ranges.
Plus, we design all the Surface Art original fabrics. Our designs are inspired by nature, the environment, and objects and the art and design movements that we love. 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 to make the best use of the materials we have. Some of the key ways we do this include:
- Selling most 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.
- Upcycling 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.
- Donating unsold clothing - Surface Art donates unsold clothing to charitable organisations and has directly sent clothing to communities where they are needed.
- Using 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.
We use compostable packaging for orders up to 500g that can fit into the compostable mailing satchels. The satchels are made from corn and a man-made binding agent for flexibility. You can put them in with your food scraps or garden waste – or even in your worm farm.
Currently there is no option to use your own packaging for orders between 500g and 5kg and to receive the best Australia Post rates.
Creating quality goods that stand the test of time
We say that we are in the clothing industry, not the fashion industry. What we mean is that we design 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 we do this are:
- Creating items with longevity - 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.
- Designing for all women - We create designs that work 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.
- Providing diversity of design - We design most of our own fabrics, but we also have a special line that was inspired by Moyra's mother's love of sewing and fabric, Theodora Jones. We carefully select designs and fabrics sourced from overseas to create limited edition clothing and cushions in these curated fabrics.