The t-shirts inspiring fashion industry change

Mindful Fashion New Zealand has collaborated with local designers to launch the Full Circle T-shirt Project, aiming to highlight solutions and raise funds to address sustainability challenges in the local fashion industry. 

Today marks the Full Circle T-shirt Project’s launch, with Mindful Fashion New Zealand members Twenty Seven Names, Wynn Hamlyn and Kate Sylvester producing and designing printed T-shirts to support sustainable textile and clothing development.

The project aims to show how sustainable challenges are overcome when an industry collaborates for the greater good. It also illustrates the challenges the apparel industry currently grapples with, including textile waste and traceability issues. In New Zealand, more than 220,800 tons of fibre, fabric & textiles are sent to the landfill every year. By 2040, it is projected that textiles will make up 14% of all Auckland landfills. 

The created T-shirts demonstrate what it means for a garment to be circular and responsibly made. 

“Each T-shirt is made from organic cotton grown and produced in a fully certified supply chain. They are manufactured, printed and finished in New Zealand with a pathway to be recycled back into new fibre at the end of their life once they are no longer repairable or wearable”, says Jacinta FitzGerald, Mindful Fashion Programme Director. 

As with most sustainable ventures, the project has not been without challenges. Speaking to Good about the issues faced, FitzGerald explains:

“The industry has so many sustainability hotspots. Materials are a big one. When creating the full-circle T shirt I was incredibly conscious of the fact that we were putting a new product out there. I could only reconcile with this if it could be done in a sustainable way. We explored using deadstock fabric from Cambodia to help factories going through a difficult time, as they were faced with huge volumes piling up due to Covid-related cancelled orders. However the quality was not consistent and we didn’t want to create a short-life product. After much hunting I finally found an organic cotton that could be traced back to a farm in India and was made in Australia. Finding a rib to match was the next hurdle! Unbelievably, I found one sitting in Auckland that matched the colour of our main fabric (you have no idea how many shades of white there are!). The most amazing part of the story is that the rib itself was ex-stock from a NZ textile mill, and is NZ-made from organic cotton. It took a lot of time and hard work to source materials that we could stand behind and feel confident were produced in a low impact way. I’m very proud of what we have achieved by working together and being mindful in our choices.”

Designers Wynn Crawshaw, Rachel Easting & Kate Sylvester

All proceeds from the Full-Circle T-shirts support sustainable fashion development for the New Zealand clothing and textile industry. Part of this will be funding workshops led by Mindful Fashion to provide the industry with tools to advance work on carbon reduction, low impact materials and social sustainability and develop further circular initiatives.

Proceeds will also enable the organisation to advance its goal to work with the government on pathways for skilled workforce development and increased job opportunities within the textile and garment industry in New Zealand.

“As an industry organisation, we are uniquely placed to bring the industry together in a pre-competitive way to take action on sustainability challenges, many of which are too large for any single business to tackle alone. Now we have started to see the results of this sort of collaboration, we are excited to see what else is possible that will contribute to a thriving future for New Zealand fashion and textiles”, says FitzGerald.

The T-shirts are on sale for NZD$139 through Mindful Fashion New Zealand and the designers’ respective websites.

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