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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | November 29, 2020

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Empower Women to Empower the Planet

Empower Women to Empower the Planet
Yasmin Bonnell

Environmentally friendly and reversible Australian swimwear label BAIIA, is made exclusivly with reclaimed fabrics in the endeavour to revolutionise the fashion industry and empower change makers.

The emerging local brand, which can be found online and occasionally at The Village Markets in Burleigh Heads, was recently shown at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia.

The Creative Issue had the chance to chat with BAIIA The Label founder and designer Amber, about her experience at MBFWA and her inspiration behind the progressive label.

TCI: You’ve just returned from MBFWA, how was that?

Amber: A whole lot of fun! Going behind the scenes of one of Australia’s largest fashion events has been on my bucket list for a while, but to be there for the recognition of BAIIA’s unique designs and philosophy around sustainability in fashion – that was the icing on top! Personally, it really helped to build confidence in myself as a designer, and in my business. It was such a great experience!

TCI: What was the inspiration behind your recent collection Terra Australis?
Amber: I spent my earliest years in the Solomon Islands, so when I moved back to Australia I was re-enchanted by how diverse this magical part of the world is… so, it’s really always been a dream of mine to create something that paid tribute to this land. Ironically, I actually think the Australian landscape also shares so many of the same traits as the women I design for; persevering, strong, distinct and uniquely beautiful.

TCI: What kind of woman do you imagine wearing BAIIA the label? What does she embody?
Amber: The kind of woman who wears BAIIA is the sophisticated, sexy and ambitious woman of the new era. She’s the woman who knows she is never too small to make a difference in the world; she can, she will, and always with style.

If I could sum the BAIIA Woman up in a quote, it would be these words by Maya Angelou:
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style.”

TCI: Do you have another collection in the works? If so, what can you reveal about it?
Amber: As much as I’d love to say yes, I’m still just really enjoying Terra Australis and it’s large presence in my life right now. As fast paced as fashion can be sometimes, I want to take my time with each collection, and fully be with it until the next burst of inspiration comes (usually at the convenient time of 3am on a Tuesday morning!)

TCI: Can you tell me a bit about the design and manufacturing process for BAIIA?
Amber: Basically, I’ll start off sketching multiple designs and prints, until I get a few that just feel ‘right’ all together. I’ll then work with a textile designer/artist to create the textile design as well as my pattern maker to create the perfect fit. I’ll then send everything over to my manufacturers to create a few samples, and once the samples are perfect I then go ahead with my bulk order. This process usually takes around 6 months or longer

TCI:  In what ways do you manage corporate social responsibility?
Amber: In my opinion, the largest stakeholders to ANY business are one: The planet/environment and two: The people. Both of which, no business would survive without, yet ironically, they are often the most neglected in the supply chain by many large, fast paced businesses.

I like to take care of these important stakeholders and  to ensure I am maintaining my Corporate social responsibility by: Contributing to a cleaner environment by using fabrics that are made from collected plastic rubbish & ghost fishing nets, helping to decrease the demand for oil drilling, water waste & chemical pollution & CO2 emissions normally produced as a result of the production of virgin synthetic fibres by working exclusively with recycled fibres.

All our garments are printed using a heat transfer sublimation printing process with only water-based inks. This ensures that there is no ink run-off into waterways, as well as no water wastage in the dying process. All the paper we use to heat transfer the prints onto the fabric are then used to gift wrap our swimsuits for our customers. I also use a carbon neutral postal service when shipping domestically.

Ten per cent of profits are donated to Rainforest Preservation (Organisation: Cool Earth) and providing education for young women in underprivileged communities (Organisation: More Than Me) – because I strongly believe that when you empower women, a natural side effect of that is the empowerment of the planet.

TCI: Where can people shop BAIIA the label?

Amber: We sell exclusively through our online store: at the moment, but we’re in the works of stocking fashion boutiques both nationally & internationally soon, so watch this space!

Follow BAIIA on social media:
Instagram: baiia_label
Facebook: BAIIA

Images: Supplied