Australian label bassike is leading the charge when it comes to ethical businesses practices. Having just been donned “B Corp Certified” we spoke with Co-Founders Deborah Sams (DS) and Mary Lou Ryan (MLR) to find out more about what the certification stands for and the eligibility process. We also scored a sneaky insight into what summer aka resort 23 will look like at bassike.
What does it mean to be B Corp Certified?
DS: B Corp is a universal certification that verifies bassike holds values of high social and environmental performance, corporate governance, and transparency – a belief in using business as a force for good.
The B Corp movement aligns with the bassike ethos to treat people and planet with respect, which has been embedded in the heart of the brand since launching in 2006. This milestone reflects the many commitments we have made over the years to support ethical systems and processes. What started as supporting our local industry and working with organic cotton, has evolved into a culture of continuous improvement and innovation across our design, production, and operations. We are a proud, female led business who supports our local community, our team and our customers.
By purchasing a bassike product, you know you are supporting an ethical and sustainable business that is considerate of people, planet and prosperity.
How did bassike go about achieving this goal?
MLR: B stands for ‘benefit for all’ and B Corps are considered leaders in the global movement to innovate economic and operational systems to have a positive impact on our global community and our environment.
To achieve certification, you must complete the B Impact Assessment – a demanding 300 question analysis that evaluates businesses and organisations based on five key areas; governance, workers, community, environment and customers, to ensure you meet the strident criteria set by the international B Lab network.
The in-depth review process has opened my eyes to the sheer breadth of what organisations can do to support and champion benefit for all – it’s a new way of thinking and a new lens to apply to every decision you make as a business owner and brand founder.
Why do you think people need to be conscious of shopping sustainably?
MLR: I believe in progress over perfection, and encouraging designers and brands to implement change in any way they can – however big or small those first steps may be – but as a consumer you also need to be very conscious of where you are spending your money and the brands you are supporting. One organic cotton garment in a line-up of pieces produced less responsibly, isn’t necessarily better than shopping with a smaller designer who makes everything sustainably but may not have the resources for formal accreditations.
What are easy ways for consumers to know they’re supporting sustainable brands?
MLR: A lot of the time it comes down to the transparency of the designer or brand you are buying from – I would spend some time researching your favourite brands online or asking the retail team next time you’re visiting in-store. Garments made in Australia do come with a level of certainty around social, environmental, and ethical responsibility in the workplace.
Looking for 100% natural fibres is another great place to start – such as cotton, wool and linen – as this will ensure the garment is bio-degradable and will breakdown into the earth at the end of its lifecycle. Recycled and regenerated yarns are another good option that ensures fibres are being reused instead of retired to landfill.
How does bassike go about having an ethical production process?
MLR: bassike is built on the idea of authentic clothes, honestly made – we have championed local manufacturing and the use of ethically sourced fabrics from the very beginning.
While local manufacturing can cost more than producing offshore, one of the benefits is greater visibility and relationships with our makers – we are able to visit them on a weekly basis. The close partnerships we have with our makers have also allowed us to implement green energy and water reduction processes at a number of our facilities, which was a great contribution to our recent B Corp and Climate Active Carbon Neutral certifications – a shorter supply chain also reduces our carbon emissions.
At bassike, we have a commitment to continuous improvement and as part of this we have created a sustainability ranking index for all bassike garments, footwear and accessories across the complete product range, and accounting for the entire supply chain. Our comprehensive rankings not only empower our internal teams to understand the impacts on the environment, labour and animals of each product we make, but also serves as a tool to support the clear communication of our sustainable attributes to our customers and retail partners.
Do you take inspiration from Sydney’s Northern Beaches when designing a collection?
DS: The Northern Beaches is the spiritual home of the brand – it’s where I grew up, the location of our very first store, and where the bassike office has always been. To me, the Northern Beaches really encapsulates the laidback Australian lifestyle and the relaxed, but elevated way we like to dress. I think that sense of utility and androgynous ease that is present in all bassike collections comes from the surf culture of the Northern Beaches, and Australia more broadly.
What are your clothing MUST HAVES this spring?
DS: My go-to pieces are great pants. From tailored pleated pants, to our traditional slouch pull on styles or denim. This is always my starting point and the building block to my daily edit. I then add a jersey top with a knit, or a tailored jacket or trench over the top. Simple, classic, comfortable but still put together.
Favourite item from bassike spring 22?
DS: Spring is always a point of newness and rebirth in the bassike seasonal calendar, shedding the layers of winter with a new outlook as we move into the warmer months. I love all the athletic details in this collection, inspired by vintage varsity silhouettes – the utility trench in our new technical ripstop fabrication is a standout for me!
What can we look forward to seeing from bassike for summer 22?
DS: I am constantly inspired by the beauty in nature and our environment. The bassike Resort 23 collection was inspired by my fascination with life underwater, in particular the complexity and vibrancy of the ecosystem known as the Great Barrier Reef.
The bold and contrasting colours, textures and shapes throughout the collection, were inspired by the way that our environment naturally generates colour, and the diversity of the species that make up the reef and the way they interact. It is a playful and optimistic collection – expect layers, volume, wrapping and bold colour.
September 27, 2022