Purepod – a pioneer in ethical fashion…By Kelli Donovan

The following guest blog post is by Kelli Donovan, Pure Pod founder and head designer..

I am firstly a designer and secondly a sort of ‘eco design warrior.’  My passion for the environment started with my Dad introducing me to the beauty of nature and to take the time to look, smell and listen to the natural world. With this passion I  inherited, I also was given the gift of a creative hand and eye from both of my parents and grand parents. Putting these two passions together I have sorted out ways to fulfill both of these loves in my life. Eco/sustainable clothing collections seemed to fit this unstoppable drive in myself. I just had to do it!

With my partner Sean standing strong behind me, we sacrificed everything to nurture the seed pod of our dreams – Pure Pod.

Pure Pod, to me, means – a seed pod, it could be made of anything, symbolising a dream, a natural thing, new beginnings, once this seed is planted and nurtured anything can grow if it is looked after and loved.

During this journey of our label, it has given me a chance to share my love of sustainability and fashion, with other women who are looking to do something different in their lives and to wear more ethical clothing made with respect and love. I hope to encourage other women to do the same and follow their dreams and make a difference to this planet for the future generations to come, every little dream and step makes a difference.

I have worked in this very polluting industry for over 20 years, so with this knowledge behind me I can give women all around the globe a choice of what they are putting on their bodies, not just mass produced clothing that does not last and quickly becomes landfill.

Pure Pod is one of Australia’s pioneer ethical fashion and sustainable fashion labels. Our clothing is hand printed and hand made here in Australian, using high quality, eco-friendly and sustainable fabrics including bamboo, organic cotton, pure merino wool, lyocel, hemp, soy, silk and linen. Most of the textiles used are sustainable and are grown without chemicals and pesticides, and many are certified organic. The clothing stands out on its own as an innovative product and is beautiful to wear. ‘Be aware of what you wear’!

About the author: Kelli Donovan, Pure Pod’s founder and head designer, has more than twenty years of experience in Australia’s fashion and textiles industry. Her increasing interest in sustainability led to a tree-change in 2005, swapping the high street of Melbourne’s fashion district for a quiet main street in the lush sub tropical coastal and hinterland of Byron Bay shire.

In five years Kelli, with the strong support of husband and photographer Sean Watson, has grown Pure Pod to become one of the largest dedicated ethical fashion labels in Australia, with clients throughout Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA and Asia.

74 responses to “Purepod – a pioneer in ethical fashion…By Kelli Donovan

  1. Dont just mend and make do, add your own flair at the same time to have your own one off designer piece.

  2. What a wonderful story- fusing different life passions into a business. And as a conscious consumer I appreciate the effort- funky guilt free fashion!

  3. my sustainable fashion tip is simple : buy only what you need and select carefully and thoughtfully.

  4. Definitely reuse, take note of everything in your wardrobe and often there is something that is almost perfect and with a cheap alteration its amazing!

  5. Sounds marvellous! A French woman taught me, a long time ago, to calculate ‘cost per wear’ for clothing, accessories and shoes. A $30 shirt that gets worn 5 times = $6 per wear. A $100 shirt that gets worn to work one day a week every week for a year = $2.08 per wear. Most of my clothes are now well below 20 cents per wear and have been with me for years. But good quality, well-made garments to last

  6. Repair, restyle and repurpose the clothing you already have or that you can find in the op shop. A sewing machine is a great investment!

  7. My current eco fashion philosophy is to re-invent, recycle and re love all the gorgeous clothing that already exists and only buy new if it’s local, gorgeous & eco quality 🙂

  8. buy clothes locally at markets or from local fashion designers and make do with what you have ..add a little flair with bright affordible accessories

  9. Buy clothes from reputable sources, use natural materials, do not follow trends that require you to buy a new wardrobe every season, remodel and repair.

  10. Kelli’s work is so beautiful and from the heart. To me it embodies everything I look for in clothing: firstly it is functional – beautiful fabrics and flattering cuts, but it is also whimsical and somewhat magical. It is made with love and passion and every piece tells a story. Thanks for what you do! x

  11. Always read labels, try to buy Australian made and higher quality garments. If I want to buy cheap clothes I’ll go opp shopping.

  12. Before I buy something, I ask: Do I really want this? What’s the real cost? How long will it last?

  13. As one of six kids hand me downs were the norm, even now I love a good swap meet to exchange and enrich the wardrobe.

  14. I’m a big fan of op shopping, it recycling and sustainable. Not to mention easier on the purse so when you want to buy something new you can use the dollars saved from op shopping to buy something from a business like Pure Pod!

  15. Buying Australian clothing means less “clothes” miles. Then buy natural fibres. Remember to buy only what you love and love it for a long time!

  16. Buy clothes with a story. If you know about Kelli and Pure Pod, or that your dress was made by a women’s collective in Ghana, for example, your really care about your clothes and wear them with pride and for much longer.

  17. My motto is, and has always been “Fashion doesn’t have to cost the earth, environmentally or financially” buy recycled, fair-trade, locally made, handmade, or swap!

  18. Hi Cath, sounds good. Did you know the clothing industry was the 3rd or 4th highest polluting industry in the world? That includes land fill or unwanted garments. Scary!

  19. Hi Kate, thank you for the lovely comments. It makes our hard work all worth while when people understand what we are doing.

  20. Hi Shellie, I agree, buy less and buy good quality that will last the test of time. Slow fashion, recycled and treasured hand – me – downs!

  21. Hi Lee-Anne, I would love to use this on our blog page or web site? It is a fantastic way of thinking about what you buy especially if it is a designer piece that costs more and is better quality! I think my boots I bought over 10 years ago have definitely been a very good purchase.

  22. I still use my Mum’s sewing machine from the 70’s. I learnt to sew on it and went through fashion school with it too. It is very cherished! I love making our samples on it when I get time.

  23. Hi Tania, here here! RRR! Can I use this saying on our blog for Pure Pod. It is lovely! … RE-INVENT, RE-CYCLE AND RE-LOVE! 😉

  24. Hi Gabrielle, by buying from local designers, you are also supporting other fashion industry people and their families. When you purchase from our brand, for example, we work with at least 6 – 10 other small businesses – like pattern makers, manufacturers, printers, couriers, fabric suppliers etc. It keeps it more local than most people think!

  25. Hi Melissa, you have bought a tear to my eyes! I drive myself nuts with my passion so it lovely to be appreciated for all the hard work!

  26. Hi Belinda, I used to wait with excitement for my big sister to give me her hand me downs! She was so much cooler than me! My fav was her poncho and woven platforms! Yes so 70’s! But very hip!

  27. Hi Michelle, that sounds exactly what we are trying to do. Op shop, swap and buy the occasional item from a loved designer that you will cherish. OZ made if possible!

  28. Hi Erica, there are some many great op shops, retro stores and friends with great stuff to swap. There are only so many resources our planet can give. I just watched ‘THE LORAX’ with my daughter and partner. It is now my favorite movie, such a HUGE PROTEST against over consumerism and so many other wonderful topics in this movie. I’m going to watch it again!

  29. You decidedly put a new spin on a subject that’s been written about for years. Amazing stuff, just great! I enjoy reading a post that will make people think, thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as well.

  30. Hi Mallie, Thank you for your lovely words!!! We might need to put your quote on our new web site? Please email us and let us know if that is ok! I could talk about this subject for hours but it might bore everyone….. I hope it makes people think. I think every time I buy anything ! Maybe I am going nuts! But it’s for the well being of our planet for for our kids!

  31. Hi Vanessa, yes know the story and it makes the purchase even more special. My daughter is very lucky, she gets hand made knitted and crotched things from her Great Nan and Nan, how special is that story! Better than just a plastic toy mass produced from the department store!!!!

  32. Hi Ree, It would be even better if fibres were still grown and produced here. There is still a wool industry but most of the fibre gets shipped to China to get processed and then brought back here or goes to other countries after that. There’s not much in organic fabrics that are made here. Our organic cotton jersey we use is Fair Trade, mostly from India. The fibre is brought into OZ and made into fabric here with OZ companies. There’s hardly any knitting or weaving mills left here sadly and the people who knew how to make it are probably retired now and haven’t passed on the knowledge to the next generation. Many fashion industry families have been effected by cheaper off shore products, including ours. Thanks kelli

  33. Before purchasing a new item of clothing I ask myself do I really need it and do I already have something that would work?

  34. Op shops recycle lots of big sized clothes, individual, and often of natural fabrics. Also good source for the hand knits my grandchildren happily wear.

  35. My sustainability tip is to refuse and rethink before purchasing. We really need so little to keep us happy and comfortable.

  36. Hi Kelli,
    I love what your label stands for and I would feel very proud to wear it. When I became aware of the impact from the fast fashion industry I donated my clothes and now I only wear clothes that are fair trade and made from ethically sourced natural materials. I have a lot less clothes now and I do less washing. My sustainable tip would be to use less water and don’t wash your clothes after every wear.

  37. Sisters!! Great clothes option; you only need half of what you think, you can swap and share (works with friends too!)

  38. At 70 (how did that happen?), I realize how much rubbish I’ve bought over the years. Now our extended family are determined to reuse, recycle and watch those miles. Love your fashion!

  39. Hi Helen, yes I agree or buy from an ethical supplier who is trying to make a difference. Together an ethical single voice joined with others can make a BIG STATEMENT to the retailers, suppliers, government, manufacturers, designers etc, about what people want to buy. If everyone thought like this maybe our local industry would still be thriving and local fashion industry families wouldn’t have to change their jobs businesses and careers!
    So many women tell us that they are sick of big chain stores with badly made garments that don’t last and fit terribly and have no STORY behind them except MASS PRODUCTION ! Many women I have a personal relationship with that buy our clothes, as they can speak directly to me and our team about our beautifully made products, how they are made, the fabrics and the fittings. It is lovely to provide a human face to Pure Pod. Makes my day! xxx

  40. Hi Monika, I do the same thing and also do a similar thing when designing clothes. I could make a range that is the latest trends but I am always stopped by my thoughts of ‘ Do women really want to wear this trend? How many body shapes will this new trend really suit and fit?’ I try to design with REAL women in mind so they can wear our garments for years and not feel they have gone out of date and have to buy the next big trend. I have even had women tell me that a complete stranger has walked up to them because they were both wearing Pure Pod and talked about our brand. LOVE IT! X

  41. Hi Janice, Sean and I spend many hours looking and buying stuff in OP Shops and garage sales. Most of our furniture is old and second hand. Some we have found on the side of the road and fixed it up! We buy books from Op shops for our daughter on a regular basis, Ruby thinks it is a real treat! It’s also great to support the charities while searching for an op shop treasure! thanks Kelli

  42. Hi Hilary, After spending the last few years living by the beach and being away from big cities where you are not constantly bombarded with commercials and shops, we lived a very simple and happy life. I really noticed how much less I bought and how much less I really needed. The things I bought were things I LOVE and Cherish. Keep it simple is a very good lesson! Thanks Kelli x

  43. Hi Olive on Blonde, There are so many talented designers and crafts people in Australia. If we all supported them, they will stick around and keep creating lovely things for us. If we don’t, the big chain stores will come in with no heart in their product. Isn’t it nicer to buy from the person who made or designed your purchase. Makes you think of them when you use or wear it. And if it’s sustainably or ethically made, it is even better! Second hand is great too! Thanks
    Kelli x

  44. Hey Kelli,

    Exactly right. I mean ‘local’ very differently when referring to clothes (as opposed to produce) and mean Australian Made. I live in little old Perth so I would be very lonely and unfashionable indeed if I could only by Perth designers (though there are some FAB ones here too!).

    I will never buy from a chain so if an Aussie designer isn’t an option then to the op shops I go! 🙂


  45. Hi Sarah, The eco fashion industry in Australia and even around the world in our industry, are an amazing group of people pioneering a new ethical pathway to massive businesses in the fashion industry. Many of us have grouped together to support each other through on line links and groups. Together we have a stronger voice and with the support of the public making the choice of where their dollar is spent helps us all in the long run. If we can all make sustainable and ethical choices with our consumer spending it filters right through the entire industry to the designers, pattern makers, makers, printers, fabric manufacturers, growers, dyers etc, and influences this whole trade to rethink the way they do things ! If consumers want eco products then we will provide them! The big picture for me is the long term goal of a cleaner environment and happy healthy people and eco systems! If I can make a difference just by the small amount that we try to do as a small designer business I will have a satisfied life! Thanks kelli

  46. For sustainability sake, I love to reshop my own wardrobe, which now consists mainly of opshop/seconhand clothing, and my daughters rejects!!

  47. Natural fibres work best for me, wool and cotton. My skin has become increasingly sensitive post 50. I would choose durability over the latest fashion, so indeed most of my wardrobe has stood the test of time(!) Thanks to 1 million women for highlighting sustainability. There are more recycling fashion pop ups in operation, one in Adelaide coming up called Round she goes. Cheers, Jenny

  48. Look after the environment and save money by buying good quality pieces made from natural fabrics that can be mixed and matched.

  49. We are not born “off the rack” so why wear it! be conscious of your choices, great design comes from great integrity . I choose to support our innovative, world leading eco designers and creators.

  50. my most sustainable fashion tip – buy well. be prepared to spend a little more for better quality, longer lasting and more ethically produced clothing which will last.

  51. I have recently along with some friends, have been swapping clothes we no longer wear. Previously clothes no longer worn or liked were put in the Op Shop bin for recycling but now we swap our bags, go through and pick out what we like and then pass onto other members of the family.

  52. Clothes look gorgeous, the fabrics and the cuts! The ethics of the company really appeal to me as well. Best of luck with the label 🙂 My sustainable clothing tip… Unravel woolen jumpers from opshops to knit new items!

  53. i love your clothes as they bring together simple elements of conscious fashion – quality fabric, lasts longer, simple but effective designs that gives a timelessness to the clothes – they don’t age and sustainable style and they promote good living

  54. Hi Carol,
    I agree! If I think about ALL the clothes, shoes and accessories I have bought over the years it makes me chringe! I now buy only what I need for our home, baby, food, clothes etc. If we all bought less it would make a bigger difference to lessening our waste and pollution from manufacturing and consumer goods.
    Sadly this competition has finished but you can visit us on line – http://www.purepod.com.au/shop/index.php
    Thanks for making a comment and thinking about what you do 😉
    We have lots of women from 20 – 80 or more buying our clothing. it lasts and can be handed down when you want a change!

  55. Pingback: Susta-Style: Return on Investment | 1 Million Women·

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