Hi! I’m Jade and I live on Australia’s east coast in a surf town called Torquay.
I created Two Sparrow as a solution to a problem: fast-fashion.
I was getting ready to go on holiday and asked friends where they were getting all their new bikinis from.
I discovered they were often purchasing tens of pairs of swimmers from overseas online mass production retailers at unbelievably low prices (think $5 AUD for a PAIR) with a no returns policy and no thought of where they would end up if they didn’t fit.
This mortified me.
Being a beach girl myself, I usually went for quality over quantity when it came to swimwear. I still even have some swimmers from when I was a teenager.
As I did more research into the fabrics that are used to construct swimwear (usually raw nylon and elastane) I discovered it is generally hard to recycle swimwear and it usually takes hundreds, if not thousands, of years to degrade.
With this shock horror I dug a little deeper and tried to really understand just how much waste these fast-fashion retailers were producing.
“Less than 1% of textile waste is recycled, and with the current technology we have available, it would take 12 years to recycle what the fast fashion industry creates in 48 hours.”
I wanted to understand more about manufacturing and the supply chain side of things. If you can sell a piece of clothing for $5, imagine what the living wage is of that person manufacturing the item.
Fast-fashion manufacturers don’t usually disclose how much their workers are paid but this report from Oxfam gives great insight into the true cost of an item. For these larger retailers, only 4% of the price of an item actually goes to labour.
So, If you are paying $5 for an item, that means about 20 cents goes towards wages.
The average hourly wage in Bangladesh for example is 39 cents, and China is 93 cents AUD. A full day's work will barely cover living expenses for a woman and her child at this wage.
Meaning, these large retailers are usually paying at or below the minimum wage to produce garments for this price.
At this point, I thought, there must be a better way.
As I researched more into the fabrics that swimwear is actually created from, I discovered Econyl.
Econyl takes plastics and fishing nets and turns them into a nylon fibre, eventually creating the fabric that swimwear is made from, once weaved with raw elastane and at the time was barely seen in the swimwear industry.
Using fabrics that are partially recycled (Econyl still uses raw elastane) is a step in the right direction, but we needed to ensure that our swimwear was being made in ethical working conditions with workers being paid an appropriate wage.
We wanted full transparency. For us, this was only achievable but manufacturing in our home country of Australia.
We spent months, researching, calling and emailing as many people as possible and eventually found an incredible team from all over Australia to help us create our range.
It was not an easy journey at all and we learnt the hard way many times.
Our map of our supply chain below:
As GoodOnYou says “Sustainable fashion cannot exist without transparency”.
To be able to walk into our factory and chat to the sewists while they are completing your garments and work with our pattern makers in person while they bring your ideas to life is a truly incredible experience.
It isn’t just about being in person though, there are so many benefits of Australian made:
- Less Co2 emissions from shipping/freight (for example our swimwear factory is just 80km from our office in Torquay)
- Quality manufacturing and adhering to Australia’s strict manufacturing guidelines
- Supporting our local economy and keeping jobs in Australia
- Knowing exactly where and how the garment is made
With Australian rules and regulations, there are minimum standards in product quality and consumers can easily take it up with government bodies if they don’t believe a product is to standard.
Quality manufacturing is so important and helps us create garments that last tens of years instead of one.
The final piece of the puzzle is where and how do we help at the end of a product's life cycle?
We are working with our partner, Unify to recycle your Two Sparrow pieces, free of charge at the end of its life (in the far far future).
Simply send us an email and we will send you a paid return label and give you $20 off your next purchase and we will recycle it for you.
Closing the loop on textile waste.
My journey of understanding fashion and how much waste there really is opened up my eyes about the industry and the lack of awareness with consumers about what is really going on behind the scenes.
My passion and determination to make a difference, along with a genuine love for our designs makes every part of the journey worth it.
Through Two Sparrow Australia we want to spread awareness and help consumers understand the true cost of their garments.
We want to lead by example and ultimately, change the industry and reduce the impact fast-fashion has on our planet.
Being an avid beach and ocean lover myself, there are so many reasons why the sustainability of our planet is important.
Australia has an ingrained beach culture, and part of our vision is for every Aussie to know exactly where and how their swimwear was made.
Living in Torquay, the beach is a huge part of my life and I wanted to create something that involves my favourite place in the world and my passion for sustainability and ethical
My passion for sustainability, especially in garment manufacturing and love for creating beautiful and flattering garments that consumers also love is what keeps us going.
Seeing people in Two Sparrow pieces is so much more than another bikini, it’s the fact that they know exactly where and how their garment was made.
We expect you to wear your Two Sparrow Garments when doing the things you love: swimming, surfing, running, yoga - the things that help you clear your mind. Bring clarity also knowing your garments were ethically and sustainably made in Australia.
We have the sustainable, ethical, Australian made
part covered so you can just wear your Two Sparrow items feeling good about yourself.
Feel good taking time out for yourself to do the things you love.
Do good wearing Australian, ethical and sustainably made.
Feel good, do good
Jade - Two Sparrow Australia