FK chats to Kellie & Sean from beautiful, Canberra based ethically made clothing label Pure Pod.
Tell us about your label Pure Pod and what the concept is behind it?
“Be aware of what you wear ” launched in 2007 – Pure Pod is 100% Ethically Australia Made, using high quality “Sustainable & Eco” textiles including – Merino Wool, Soya Bean, Bamboo, Organic Cotton, Hand-woven Organic Denim dyed in natural indigo, Hemp, Silk, Veggie & Herb dyed organic cottons & Linen. The Pure Pod collection is described as chic, contemporary & stylish, with an urban influence; targeting women in the 30+ market. The ranges are created with the aim of bringing contemporary style to the eco/sustainable fashion market; whilst minimising its environmental footprint whenever possible.
In less than 6 years since the launch, Pure Pod has grown to become one of the largest dedicated, ethical fashion brands in Australia, with clients all throughout Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA & S.E.Asia. Pure Pod has received numerous acclaims such as being a finalist in the 2011 FGI Sustainable Business Awards and being one of only 7 Australian fashion designers to showcase their collections in New York as part of the Australian governments “G’Day USA” promotion. More recently, in October 2012; Pure Pod was accepted by the Ethical Fashion Forum in the UK, to be a part of their “Fellowship 500” sustainable fashion collective, and was selected to show at the 2012 Asia Essential Textile Fair in Hong Kong.
Who are the team behind Pure Pod and what are their roles?
Kelli Donovan is co-founder & head designer of Pure Pod – sustainable. With 20 years’ experience in the Melbourne fashion industry, Kelli’s interest in sustainability & passion for the environment & natural fibres enticed her out of main stream fashion to design their own label and complete a life long dream of having her own sustainable fashion line. The creation of Pure Pod was highly instrumented by Kelli’s partner in crime & creative soul mate, lifestyle photographer – Sean Watson. He is the ying, of the yang in Pure Pod, he is the man behind the movement and who controls the brand management side of the label.
What inspires your work? and what keeps you motivated creatively?
The natural world that surrounds us plays constantly on my mind – when buying products, walking down the street, absorbing natures colours, textures & smells around me, saving bugs & critters, recycling our left overs from our studio & home, recycling food scraps to our compost or chickens! I never stop thinking about how and what I am doing and the impact my life has on the environment. Pure Pod strongly believes that we must leave a cleaner & greener future of our planet for the younger generations.
In the last few years, more and more beautiful, sustainable and organic fabrics have become available which are an inspiration in themselves, gone are the days of the old heavy “Hippy Hemp” fabrics. Its exciting to be able to work with these fabrics and introduce them to the mainstream general public. We often get a message from our clients saying how beautiful our fabrics are to wear against their skin. Our skin is our biggest organ in our body and wearing clothing that lets it breath and feels luxurious so putting plastics and other synthetic fabrics against them does not make sense to us at Pure Pod HQ.
What is your workspace like? and what is your creative process?
Pure Pod was born in the relaxed and creative neighbourhood of Byron Bay, and quickly found a very exciting group of creatives to work with in the region. More recently, the team moved back to their home town – “The Bush Capital” Canberra, and work/live from a groovy 60’s house in the leafy suburb of Farrer where Kelli grew up. They have a great veggie patch, chickens, dog, cat and of course a little budding designer – Ruby, their 3yr old daughter. Our creative process can vary between being inspired by a fabric, a story, art, texture and colour. The process begins with an inspiration, and our clients needs always in our minds, of what they would love to wear and feel great in. There is no point designing “Fast Fashion” garments which do not last the test of time, we try to maintain a timeless style to each and every garment we design.
What challenges have you faced starting your own label, and what are some things you love about it?
Since our launch, Pure Pod has maintained the platform of 100% Ethical Australian manufacturing. Due to the large amounts of cheap imported fashion available and legislative changes made by the government & unions, this is becoming harder and harder to maintain. We would love to maintain production of all our future ranges in Australia. The biggest challenge I suppose we have had to face has been getting people used to paying higher prices for quality Australian Made garments, most people just are too used to cheap imported fashion without the quality.
What new projects are you working on and where would you like to see Pure Pod in the future?
We have lots of new exciting projects in happening behind the scenes of the studio & surrounds! We are a part of a designer collective store opening in May 2013 in the Canberra Centre called CBR Collective, we are exploring new & more sustainable natural veggie and herb dyed textiles, we are preparing new ways of our products going out to customers & new ventures overseas, its all very exciting.