If you’re lucky enough to have had your luggage lost or stolen on an international trip, you’ll resonate with the story of Jackfruit the Label’s founder, Charada Hawley.
The underwear designer was becoming aware of the slow fashion movement when she was suddenly without a lot of her personal items (including underwear) on a trip to South America.
It was in her attempt to rebuild her underwear collection that she struggled to find what she was looking for.
“Every pair of underwear that I purchased to replace my stolen items over time was a disappointment,” Charada says.
“I ended up purchasing some underwear from an ethical brand, but I found it to be really uncomfortable and just not right for me.
“It was a few months later when I was visiting my mum in South Australia that we got to talking about sustainable fabrics and together we ordered some bamboo samples. With this fabric I ended up making myself my most favourite underwear that I’d ever had and it kind of just happened from there.”
This fabric, a mix of beautiful bamboo, organic cotton and spandex blend, is what sparked the idea for the label.
“My mum and I did some research initially and found an Australian supplier selling all kinds of gorgeous bamboo fabrics that meet the Organic Content Standard and Oeko-Tex Standard 100. I chose the one I wanted to make my underwear from, and that’s the same fabric we’re still using today,” Charada says.
“I’ve learned a lot over the short time we’ve been in business. It’s so important to me to stay open-minded and continue learning, and it turns out that we can do better than bamboo. Most of the world’s bamboo fibre comes from China and it can be difficult to trace, and it’s hard to get answers from the mill. I’m actually in talks with another supplier, milled in Australia with fibres from Europe.
“We’re trying to make a fabric that feels and performs like our current fabric, but that is more sustainable. It’s taking a while because I want our end product to remain as soft and comfortable as it is currently, but I think it’s important to say that this is something that we’re aware of and we’re working on.”
Charada knew that she didn’t want to manufacture overseas for a number of reasons.
“Mum and I were making everything ourselves. We knew that we would be starting out very small and that we had the skills, so there was really no point in outsourcing any manufacturing at all,” Charada says.
“We did discuss growth and upscaling as even though we are small now, we believe it’s important to look ahead at all the possibilities, so we aren’t lost when the time arises. But, it is really important to us that we keep our products Australian-made.
“The environmental impact of the label is something that we consider carefully, the ability to oversee quality control and worker safety is important and we value being able to provide employment to our local community. All of this points to keeping manufacturing here in Australia.”
The manufacturing process for Jackfruit the Label from design all the way through to dispatch can be described as homely.
“We work on design in-house, make a few sample sizes and go back and forth until we feel we’ve got it right, then we send out samples for more testing. Once this is done we really just go for it,” Charada says.
“Everything is made to order, so we don’t have to worry if something isn’t selling well and it also means we can offer a large size range and varied styles. Having this whole process in-house also means we are able to go back and make adjustments whenever we need to.
“It also means we can minimise wastage with things such as our Waste Knots. These are scrunchies that are made from scraps of our signature fabric and elastic. It is really cool because each one is unique as our dye batches can vary and some will be made from more than one batch.”
The inclusive size range of 6-26 has been at the heart of the brand since before it launched.
“I didn’t want to launch a label that didn’t cater to real people and real people come in all different sizes,” Charada says.
“I understand that in traditional manufacturing a large size range is a quick way to lose money, so we haven’t gone a traditional route. It was too important to me. I couldn’t imagine owning a label where my own friends couldn’t wear my garments.
“We make everything to order, so in terms of production and stock this isn’t an issue and is yet another benefit to designing and sewing everything in-house.”
Jackfruit the Label’s production is accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA), which has been a great contribution to the label.
“ECA is an institution and being accredited was the simplest way to prove to our customers that we are dedicated to ethical manufacturing,” Charada says.
“Being listed on the ECA directory means that people who are searching for ethical garments can find us super easily and it’s also given us the opportunity to be involved in things like The Quick Unpick, which I’m really excited to be a part of.
“They are also super helpful if you have any questions about ethical manufacturing in Australia.”
Britt’s List readers can get 10% off at Jackfruit the Label with code BRITTSLIST at checkout. Shop here.