Kelli Donovan, one of Australia's best known eco fashion designers, tells us about her involvement in the 'green' fashion field and her passion for healthy living and ethical business. She and partner, Sean, co-own Pure Pod.
What made you choose to work in the Sustainable Living sector?
I love everything to do with health, wellbeing and nature so it was just obvious I would eventually work in the sustainable living industry.
I have worked as a fashion designer my whole career which spans over 20 years and I always felt like a ‘fish out of water’ in this highly polluting industry so I needed to find a place where I could be passionate and creative about what I did without leaving a heavy footprint on our environment. Ethical fashion was something I was born to do and I have always wanted to do it since I was at fashion school.
My partner Sean, commercial photographer and co-owner of Pure Pod, has had a huge influence on me and where Pure Pod is going. We love what we do and we hope you do too!
I am also a yoga and pilates teacher so anything for better health and wellbeing is great for me!
What obstacles have you faced?
One of the hardest things is to keep our production in Australia and make clothing with sustainable or organic textiles in an ethical way. Paying good money for Australian manufacturing makes our prices medium to higher which can make some customers cautious but, once they have worn our clothing, they realise that the cheap imports don’t last and end up costing your pocket and the earth! Fast fashion is one of the highest polluters on the planet, people just don’t realise. To buy a product which is made better with good quality fabrics and by amazing craftspeople, will last you for a long time. Plus, if it’s an Australian designer product you JUST LOVE, you will wear it with pride and enjoy lots of fantastic comments about our designs when you wear it. Small designers only produce small quantities of good quality products so the price will be higher but will last 10 times longer. This is an issue we need to constantly tell Australian consumers, as they are now so used to cheap imported goods which don’t last and are not made by people on realistic wages; the cheap products can turn into garbage quicker and don’t support Australian workers or our Australian fashion industry.
What so far has been one of your greatest achievements?
From a business point of view, it has been many awards and acknowledgements we have been given or won over the years for our Pure Pod brand from showing at G’DAY USA in New York to being selected as a ‘500 Fellowship’ member by The Ethical Fashion Forum, winning the’ Best Fashion product’ recently at the Sustainable living Awards and too many more to list here.
On a personal note, I love nothing more than having a conversation or email from a customer who lightens up your day with the joy they have when they wear our clothing or when they receive their orders and just love them! That’s what really pushes my buttons! Our customers are my main inspiration!
How do you see investment in the Green Business Sector developing in the future?
We were one of the pioneering ethical fashion labels in Australia in the early 2000s and seeing this side of the industry grow and develop here in Australia is so exciting. It’s only a matter of time before our whole industry in fashion will bend towards more sustainable practices and considers where the clothing is made and by whom. There is more and more interest from multinationals getting involved in making their products greener and more ethical. With a united front, all of we little eco designers have helped to make this happen; together we have a stronger voice and we are changing the future of fashion.
What or how can your product or service benefit the consumer?
Our product is very well made, using sustainable and organic textiles, Australian made, being an eco product which is beautifully designed, fits very well on real women’s bodies, helps reduce fast fashion landfills, is lovely to wear on your skin and helps our local economy, as it is made here and supports locals families who are involved in the processing of our goods.
What or who inspires you?
Women inspire me. I love talking to our customers and hearing their stories about their loves, lives and what they like to wear. They are my main inspiration but I also love art, music, nature and colour.
Some of Pure Pod's summer range - To view more of Pure Pod's clothing range, visit www.purepod.com.au.
More info at www.purepod.com.au.