As odd as it may sound, the initial idea behind ecoture was the result of an exploding smoothie that destroyed a Matt & Nat handbag, rendering it totally unusable and prompting the search for a replacement.
That handbag was Caitlin’s. (And, before you ask, the smoothie was cacao and banana, made with almond milk, naturally). The issue, as Caitlin explained it to me, was that finding a new bag to replace the smoothie-infested one wasn’t just a simple matter of popping into David Jones at lunchtime and selecting from a vast range of mid-priced women’s bags. Finding the perfect vegan handbag would require lots of online research and, given that it would most likely be ordered from an overseas brand, would involve a wait of days or even weeks.
I was slightly shocked that buying a fashionable vegan handbag wasn’t easier. Yes, I’d had issues buying gifts for Caitlin for a while, but surely finding wearable ethical, sustainable and vegan fashion and accessories wasn’t that hard when you knew what you were doing?
Well, yep, it can be. Sure, it’s getting easier, but it remains a lot harder to put together an entirely sustainable, ethical and cruelty-free wardrobe than it does a ‘normal’ wardrobe.
So, my thought bubble was something very much like: ‘Why not bring amazing ethical brands together on one online platform for an easier shopping experience?’ I pitched it to Caitlin as a ‘green Net-a-Porter’ and that's still the vision we’re working every day towards realising – a premium online shopping platform offering a wide range of quality brands, with every product earnings its place based on both its fashion and eco and ethical credentials.
ecoture is built on the understanding that our consumption of fashion shouldn’t be at the cost of the planet or its human and animal occupants. Many ‘ethical’ brands focus on one or two of these aspects, but we believe that all three are key to a healthier, happier, fairer and more sustainable world.
Our tagline – think, act, shop consciously – is far more than just a nice-sounding marketing ploy. Caitlin and I firmly believe that information is power, and that conscious consumerism is crucial in changing the way industries operate. We want you to know what you’re buying, where it comes from, and that the people who made it were fairly paid and treated with dignity.
How about us, though? How do we personally stack up? Neither Caitlin or I would claim to be perfect (not even close!), but we’re both doing what we can to reduce our impact on the world.
Caitlin has been vegan since mid 2015, after she decided she wanted to know more about where her food came from. This led her down the path of research beyond animal agriculture into finding out more about the impact of all her purchases. It was at that time she truly came to understand the impact her consumption made on the lives of others … and the environment. She concluded that vegan wasn’t the same as ethical, that truly ethical fashion had to be vegan, and that it all had to be sustainable.
I have always had a quality over quantity mind-set and had been disturbed by the rapid spread of the fast fashion mentality over the past decade or so. Watching The True Cost documentary, though, made me completely ashamed to be even a little part of a system that is so exploitative and environmentally damaging. [Link to blog post?]
Then, when my husband John had a major health scare last year that caused significant damage to his heart, I became a self-described ‘flexitarian’, slowly trying to reduce our household consumption of animal-based products for both health and environmental reasons.
On the business front, we try to ensure our business practices are as responsible as possible. Our business cards are printed on 100% recycled stock with vegetable-based inks in a sustainable manner by an independent printer in Melbourne. Our ecoture-branded packaging is made from 100% recycled post-consumer waste using vegan inks and glues. We don’t use bubble wrap or packing peanuts. To ensure the safety of our deliveries we use Geami Greenwrap, instead, a sustainable and eco-friendly paper-based alternative to bubble wrap that’s recyclable and compostable, takes up less space and doesn’t require adhesives.
ecoture is a Member of the Ethical Fashion Forum [link to site/profile] and aspires to B Corp certification.
Working with some of the most dynamic brands from around the world, we aim to showcase the very best of modern eco-fashion and beauty, from Italian-made shoes and bags to innovative jewellery made from bicycle inner tubes to handmade, limited run organic cotton garments that will take pride of place in any wardrobe.
We hope you enjoy our finds as much as we’ve enjoyed finding them. And, rest assured, this is only the start of a wonderful journey. We’re going to keep scouring the globe for new designers and products that satisfy the ecoture ethos. It’s all part of changing the world, one handbag at a time …