Photography by Pip Cree, words by Hanna Guy
As an Australian living overseas I have felt numerous feelings during the bushfire emergency in my home country. Many personal feelings; the obvious helplessness for the people affected and deep rage at the current government's internationally-recognised shameful lack of humility for those affected and lack of a progressive approach to climate action. But also, other unexpected feelings related to Dorsu.
It has felt irrelevant, uncomfortable and at times outright inappropriate to run any form of marketing campaign - everything seems insignificant in comparison to what so many Australians are going through at the moment and what will come across the predicted long, hot and dry summer.
Other unexpected feelings include a deep gratitude for Cambodians wanting to know if my family is ok, our Dorsu team wanting to know what we can do through our business and incredible pride for the humble stories of community spirit and survival slowly creeping out through the media.
For many Australians this is a deeply disturbing political issue where our country’s leadership has become an international embarrassment and the impact on our ecosystems will set a new global standard, one that we cannot be proud of.
Our friends and community have been asking for my take on the situation and how they can help. My answer is that it is complicated. I believe we have to find a personal balance in the short and long game, our way to act now and also commit to the long-term support that will be required for recovery.
We don’t feel comfortable donating our products and clothes just yet. This is adding stress to already overloaded and traumatised small communities. When organisations directly ask for specific garments, we’ll be ready.
We decided not to donate a percentage of profits or sales during the initial media spread as we were fearful of an accidental encouragement for overconsumption, we decided it was better just to give cash immediately while making a plan. So we did.
We have committed to donate $10 from the sale of every Slow Mindful Fair Fashion T-Shirt during 2020. Our sales, web and online distribution team have also committed to process these specific orders voluntarily, so we’ll be donating that portion of their salaries also.
The phenomenal Empty Esky campaign highlights that not only have many small businesses been destroyed, but it has been at the peak of their tourist season. Building back up takes time and resources and we’re doing as much as we can to support our stockists in affected areas. If you’re in Australia please consider taking your next holiday break to one of these towns and support the local businesses.
All companies are responsible for doing their bit and we want to speed up some of our sustainability plans. Our online sales are already shipped using Sendle, a carbon-neutral delivery service disrupting the Australian postage system, but we’ll be prioritising offsetting transport across our entire supply chain. We’ll also be transitioning over to solar and increasing existing storage and usage of rainwater (currently used for the pre-wash process of our production).
We will be increasing your access to information as much as possible and ensuring our marketing tools, predominantly our social media, are as useful as possible. We’ve never been a brand focused on tricking you into thinking you need more stuff, but we do want to increase the amount of information you can access and help you make informed decisions. Please be sure to sign up to our newsletter and follow our social media.
I do believe that this is a multi-faceted problem, it is personal, political and complex. I've not yet decided on the most effective way to help, but we must acknowledge our incredible freedom and safety to engage in politics, a privilege not experienced by many others across the world.
Engaged and active citizenship is an important part of any democracy. There are numerous ways to take action within your personal capacity, time available and budget. Shift Australia provides clear information to help you take actionable steps towards demanding systemic change.
The garment industry’s environmental impact is larger than we all realise and I fundamentally believe that we as individuals can truly change “the system” through changing our personal behaviours. Fast Fashion companies are falling sure, but we’re still consuming at unnecessary levels and until it’s acceptable to run around naked we need to change our clothing buying habits. Buying less, second-hand, local and sustainable is a great way to take action.