Obus is proud to offer affordable, high quality garments to our customers while at the same time supporting local businesses, the Australian manufacturing industry, and social causes we believe in.
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Around 80% of Obus’ products are manufactured in Australia, including the majority of our garments and selected accessories. Our knitwear (excluding Merino Travellers) and accessories such as footwear, jewellery, socks and leather goods - comprising approximately 20% of our annual product line - are produced offshore, and we work hard to ensure we engage businesses who comply with our high manufacturing, environmental and ethical standards. We care who made your clothes, and we aim to offer as much information as we can about our production processes to customers through our website, blog and social media.
Read on for more information about Obus’ manufacturing information, environmental and labour policies, and commitment to ethical clothing production.
What you buy, and how long you wear it, impacts on the environment in multiple ways. Obus’ commitment to producing small runs of high-quality, well-made clothing that transcends seasonal fads is at the heart of our business model. Our Swap Shop service will even exchange your pre-loved Obus for store credit!
Within each seasonal collection, Obus prioritise the use of natural materials such as cotton, organic cotton, linen and wool, as well as eco-friendly fibres such as Tencel and Econyl. Leather used in our accessories and footwear is vegetable dyed (not chemical dyed and without chromium).
We are well known for our bold and original printed textiles, which are present in each collection. As technology in the digital textile printing space improves in leaps and bounds, we are increasingly turning to this process to produce our custom-designed fabrics, as it consumes less water than traditional screen printing and produces far less toxic waste water.
Each Obus collection is designed to ensure the most efficient use of fabric in the manufacturing of each piece, and we often produce small ranges of accessories from fabric offcuts. We also strive to find creative uses for fabric offcuts from our Melbourne studio - such as our partnership with Tangentyere Artists - and have donated excess fabric rolls and yarn spools to community organisations such as ASRC and The Social Studio. We strive to ensure none of our clothing ends up in landfill, a problem that is commonly associated with clothing production and the fashion industry.
As part of our commitment to reduce our business’ impact on the environment, from 2015-17 Obus was a partner of Seed The Change’s tree-planting program. Over two years Obus funded the planting of over 7500 trees in rural regions of Haiti, Madagascar, Ethiopia and Nepal; restoring their environments, enhancing agricultural output and offering sustainable employment opportunities for their citizens.
Obus consistently reviews practices and implements policies to reduce our environmental impact at our head office and in our stores, especially in regard to order packaging and studio waste.
WHERE IT'S MADE
Obus clothing (excluding knitwear) is made in Melbourne by family-run businesses. We have contact with our manufacturers on a daily basis and ensure they comply with Australian labour and wage standards via an annual review. All design, pattern-making and sampling is done in our studio in Northcote, Melbourne.
Obus swimwear is manufactured in Sydney. The polyester component of our swimwear, comprising almost 80% of the total garment, is created using a cutting-edge manufacturing process that regenerates post-consumer waste such as carpets, clothing and fishing nets and transforms it back into a raw material without any loss of quality. The Lycra component of our swim range is manufactured to ensure extra longevity in the life of the elastine, meaning your swimwear will continue to fit and flatter for many seasons despite contact with chlorinated or salt water.
Obus’ nail polish is manufactured in Queensland, Australia. We’re proud to say our nail polish is ‘5-free formula’ meaning it does not contain the toxic chemicals Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin or Camphor. Our nail polish is also Vegan, meaning it is not tested on animals nor does it contain any animal products.
The Merino wool used in our Traveller range is sourced from a mix of Australian and Vietnamese producers. We work with a Melbourne-based producer, committed to producing Merino with a low environmental impact, to manufacture and dye our Merino into custom colours. Merino produced in Vietnam is done so by a Bluesign® system partner, which means the company producing the wool complies with strict ethical and environmental standards right from the beginning of the manufacturing process. Raw wool for all our Merino collections is sourced from New Zealand and Australian sources where possible.
We are signatories of the Uzbek Cotton Pledge, meaning none of our cotton is sourced from Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan. Our jersey cotton yarn is BCI Certified and our organic cotton is GOTS certified.
Sadly, in 2014, the diminished state of the knitwear and leathergoods industry in Australia encouraged us to look overseas for specialised businesses to meet our exacting production standards, and maintain our commitment to producing high-quality garments at an affordable price. Our knitwear is manufactured by a specialist factory in China who we began working with after Kylie visited on a factory research trip in 2018. The factory is BSCI accredited and audited annually to confirm all aspects of their workplace conditions are in accordance with human rights, ILO conventions and national labor law.
Our socks are manufactured by a specialist factory in Turkey. The factory is an ISO 9001 Registered company which means that the company meets both statutory and regulatory requirements related to any product. The factory is also certified STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX, meaning the textile production process uses no unwanted or harmful substances which remain as a residue on the final product.
Our stockings are manufactured in New Zealand from Australian and New Zealand wool.
In an effort to increase transparency around our footwear production processes - for both our own and our customer's peace of mind - in 2018 we moved our footwear manufacturing to Dongguan, China. Obus footwear is now made by a small team dedicated to producing made-to-order limited runs of bespoke shoes in an ethically and environmentally conscious way. Having chosen our manufacturers after an extensive research process and site visit, we can be confident that those who produce our footwear are respected, have safe working conditions and are remunerated fairly. Similarly, leather comes from tanneries that have strict environmental control and all material comes from farmed animals. We look forward to building a strong working relationship that uses their decades of specialist craftsmanship and their passion for investigating new ethical materials and processes.
Our belts are made in India, and the manufacturers are regularly audited by SMETA for labour standards, health & safety, and environmental compliance.
We do not use fur, mohair or down in any of our products.
The majority of our marketing collateral is produced in Australia, and our store fit-outs use recycled or repurposed furniture and materials where possible. We regularly reassess and redesign our packaging in an effort to reduce plastic and waste.
Each year at Obus we partner with social enterprises and/or not-for-profits in an attempt impact our local and international community in a positive way.
Since 2012 we have run an annual Winter clothing drive for Brotherhood of St Laurence, gathering donations of quality coats, blankets and other clothing from customers to distribute to those in need. In 2016 we raised funds for and awareness about The Unicorn Foundation through a custom-designed carry-all bag, assisting this non-profit's work to support people living with neuroendocrine cancer. In 2017 we collaborated with Melbourne-based social enterprise Tsuno on a limited edition package design for their sanitary products, the sales of which benefit women in the developing world and local organisations such as the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC). In 2018 we partnered with We Care Nauru and Gifts for Manus and Nauru to gather donations to be sent to asylum seekers detained there. We have also supported the ASRC with donations of goods, fabric and reconditioned sewing machines for their Women's Empowerment Group.
We love introducing our loyal and big-hearted community to these social causes and organisations and collaborating with them to make a difference.
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