Collective Hub - - FEATURE -

For Ceren Alkac-Lee, founder and cre­ator of Od­dbird Co, the de­ci­sion to go slow comes down to qual­ity and au­then­tic­ity.

“Be­fore I dis­cov­ered the ex­tent of global tex­tile waste, most of the clothes I bought for my fam­ily came from high-street stores. Like most items in our wardrobes, they were cheap, easy-to-wear pieces made from polyester and other in­ex­pen­sive fi­bres. To tell you the truth, I prob­a­bly didn’t for a minute con­sider where it came from, how it was made, how the peo­ple who were mak­ing the clothes were be­ing paid or treated, where the items would go af­ter we were done wear­ing them and whether they were even biodegrad­able. My sis­ter gave me a talk­ing to years ago which sparked my drive to find al­ter­na­tives that were both within my bud­get and clas­sic enough to keep in my closet for years.

“The con­cep­tual idea of Od­dbird Co was born in the sum­mer of 2014 when my chil­dren and I spent four months ex­plor­ing my home­land of Turkey. I knew I had to cre­ate some­thing that brought my cul­ture to a new gen­er­a­tion in a mod­ern way, but at the same time was eth­i­cal and slow.

“Our cloth­ing, robes and tow­els are all sourced in Is­tan­bul, while our vin­tage kilim pil­lows and rugs orig­i­nate from Izmir. What makes Od­dbird so spe­cial to me isn’t just its aes­thetic, but its ethics plat­form. We spent a lot of time forg­ing the ex­act re­la­tion­ships we de­sired so that our prod­ucts are fairly – and beau­ti­fully – made by a small group of artisans. In­stead of sourc­ing fac­tory-made, mass-pro­duced or syn­thetic fab­rics and pump­ing out thou­sands of Turk­ish tow­els a week, we use hand-wo­ven textiles made ex­clu­sively from nat­u­ral raw fi­bres, and the looms that our textiles are wo­ven on can only pro­duce on av­er­age 100 per week. I fig­ure a thought­fully cre­ated prod­uct will be thought­fully pur­chased and used for a life­time.

“It used to be that the fash­ion in­dus­try had four sea­sons a year but now it can [have] up to 15 or more. [This] means that the av­er­age con­sumer is pur­chas­ing new cloth­ing far more fre­quently to keep up with trends, re­sult­ing in over 12.5 mil­lion tonnes of tex­tile waste in 2013 in the US alone – and ap­par­ently it has dou­bled in the last four years. It can’t last; even ‘big box’ re­tail­ers like H&M are start­ing to im­ple­ment re­cy­cling pro­grams to com­bat their im­pact. I see that slow fash­ion is go­ing to be a nec­es­sary and preva­lent trend in the in­dus­try with peo­ple slow­ing down them­selves and fi­nally be­com­ing aware of what they’re pur­chas­ing and why. I’m very ex­cited to be a part of that.”

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