Sustainable, Ethical Fashion is Possible
By: Ben McEachen
Incredibly, a Liam Neeson action movie inspired James Bartle to do something positive for the world.
When James saw Taken in 2008, he wasn’t inspired to become a violent vigilante (like Neeson’s character).
Instead, he was so disturbed by the sub-plot about human trafficking in Taken that he wanted to do something to help eradicate it.
As James said in a recent interview, he and his journalist wife Erica were not fashion designers or supply chain experts, but they conceived a plan to give jobs to young women who desperately needed them.
Still, the created Outland Denim, an Australian clothing company that strives to be sustainable and ethical in everything it does.
Imagine the difficulty and complexity of navigating the fashion world with a moral compass. Fashion IS a terrible industry to be in – it’s mostly wasteful, hazardous to human health, fuelling environmental degradation and perpetuating human exploitation. But this is the just the reason James got into the business in the first place. Outland Denim prioritises people and the planet in each step of its processes.
“I’ve always loved denim and the heritage of denim and what it stands for,” James said. “We weren’t experienced [when we started] but to be honest that worked to our advantage because you’d be crazy to try to set up a denim company… because it’s so competitive. But because we didn’t know that we were able to go along blindly and get cut-through.”
Through the support of a loyal and enlightened customer base James and Erica have been able to realise their mission of giving work to victims of human trafficking. This has placed Outland at the forefront of sustainability and global citizenship in the fashion industry.
It’s the Bartles’ Christian faith that fuels their desire to see justice, compassion and mercy upheld in the fashion industry.
“Faith is the foundation for me, it gives me my world view,” said James. “In the Bible it’s written about looking after the people you’re working with.
“We’re meant to care for the orphans and the widows. I know that I’m meant to do this because of this hope that I’ve been given.”
Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.
Feature image: Photo by Ahmed Carter on Unsplash