Chatting with Charlie of Ethical Apparel company Plant Faced Clothing
Plant Faced Clothing is a 100% ethical independently owned vegan streetwear clothing label with a commitment to sustainable fashion. Their bold and unique visuals and branding coupled with an awareness raising and ethical mindset lend to branding and product we at Raise Vegan were eager to hear more about. Read on for an interview with Charlie, founder of the ethical apparel company about their story, the market for vegan streetwear and more!
Can you tell us more about the story of Plant Faced Clothing and the brand’s roots?
Charlie: The company was founded by myself, Charlie, Kiwi and graphic designer by trade. It’s a bit of a long story where it was founded! The idea was birthed while I lived in Sydney, Australia, where I worked on the whole plan and ideas for initial launch & designs- this was about a one year process of daydreaming and brainstorming. It very first launched by me partaking in a local vegan night market that a friend of mine was running. The response was incredible and soon after I had planned to move my whole life to Berlin, Germany, so that’s where I went and took the business with me to launch it into what it is today!
Where is Plant Faced Clothing based today?
Charlie: There comes part two! Last year I moved out of Berlin and moved all operations over to a warehouse space in London, where a delivery team looks after the handling of the day to day sending out orders. Meanwhile, I’ve been working nomadically and remotely on all the other missing pieces that have to do with the day-to-day running of this empire, escaping the European winter and been hopping along the Southern Hemisphere. So far I’ve been to Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand. I’m back living in Sydney as we speak for what’s been almost a couple months now, then planning to make my way back up the globe to chase the sun.
We love this statement at your site: “We are the global lovechild of fashion, design, art, music, skate, surf, street, tattoo culture, and a plant-based, cruelty-free lifestyle. We are streetwear minus the sweatshop. We make wearable threads that don’t hurt the earth. We are 100% ethical, cruelty-free clothing. We aim to spread messages and start conversations. We aim to be more than a brand – we are the Plant Movement.”Where are Plant Faced clothes designed and made now?
Charlie: Thank you! I design almost all of the prints we sell at the moment (except for the Babe Ain’t Yo Bacon one), so most of them so far were designed whilst I’ve been living in Berlin or traveling on the road. Some new ones are in the works with a couple of illustrators I’ve been working with who are based in Australia; I’m pumped to release these. For the T-shirt garments themselves, we use a manufacturer which is a member of the Fair Wear foundation & 5 eco-certifications – the Fair Wear certification undergoes some strict checks and procedures in order to make sure the whole supply chain is ethically sound. You can find out more about the Fair Wear Foundation here: https://www.fairwear.org/about/
We also use a company in London for our finishing (screenprinting) and sewing labels, who we carefully selected due to their excellent ethical policies, respecting people’s employment rights and caring for environmental issues. They keep all their employees on permanent contracts, and since 2013 have been paying their employees the London Living Wage. They also specialize in sourcing the widest range of ethically sourced, Fairtrade, Fair Wear and GOTS certified garments in the UK. All their inks are vegan-friendly too, and we specifically use vegan, water-based, eco-friendly ones.
What has consumer response to Plant Faced Clothing been like?
Charlie: Fantastic from day 1! The first ever market that I partook in, the clothes just about sold out, I couldn’t believe it. Now as we’ve participated in vegan festivals around the world and more and more people rave to their friends, our faces continue to grow; we’ve now shipped to over 30 different countries, and are stocked in 5 different ones. As more and more people turn vegan and realize the importance of investing in a responsible fashion, and how they can spread their values and what they believe in through fashion, we get to continue to grow with that.
The media at your site has a great edge- what inspired the “look” of your photos as well as designs for clothes?
Charlie: That means a lot to hear – I have a pretty creative background and eye; my mother is an artist and I’m a visual designer by trade, so that’s definitely been a huge advantage for me in starting this all, as I understand the importance of having a strong brand image, and have always been very interested in photography, design, and fashion. So I guess it comes a bit naturally to me in this way; I know what I like and so I design clothes and prints that I might want to wear at the time and curate the photography in the same way. I’ve spent years consuming streetwear ‘culture’ by always being inspired and following brands I love, keeping an eye on street style/trends, and not to mention keeping a huge folder of images that inspire me in this way or might spark other ideas.
I also pull inspiration from my travels, people whose style I admire, the graphic design world, musicians, artists, and the good old world wide web.
What is your perspective on the development of the vegan and ethical shift within streetwear space?
Charlie: I think the streetwear world is still, on the whole, a bit further behind other subcultures or styles of fashion; you don’t see as much of a push happening by either brands or consumers from mainstream streetwear brands to put this at the forefront, but in saying this there are definitely a few brands out there doing an awesome job and making a stand for this – I hope as more emphasis is put on the need for this by consumers, more streetwear brands will start to recognize and cater to this.
Ok, just a fun question- Say you have a runway fashion show for Plant Faced. What’s the music? Also, what would be your ideal space for such a show?
Charlie: Ooh, I like this. The music would be something a bit fun with a deep bass, hip hop or rap inspired, plus a bit of an experimental and unique flair. I’m imagining a dark converted warehouse space with some amazing lighting/projection installations, seating and other furniture made from creative repurposed/recycled materials. Mini vegan burger sliders, kombucha and shakes being handed out all round, of course!
Can you explain to readers why they should be interested in clothing brands they support being Fairtrade, Fair Wear or WRAP certified?
Charlie: It’s super important, especially as vegans because we choose this lifestyle in a bid to promote non-harming and respect of other beings; and the fashion industry, unfortunately, is one filled with harm and exploitation. There is so much injustice going on behind closed doors just to get you your cheap T-shirt- poor or dangerous working conditions, unfair pay, child labor, to name a few – which gets swept under the carpet. If we want to start making conscious decisions to vote against this and support fair conditions, we have to start investing in what we’re purchasing and voting for with our wallets.
When you support brands which are using garments certified by one of these, you can be more confident that the product you’re purchasing is totally supporting the strictest ethical certifications, right down its supply chain- as they have to go through an extensive audit process to ensure this – right down to the cotton spinner and pattern maker.
In a nutshell, supporting brands supporting these certifications means you are supporting that no beings were exploited during the duration of its birth.