This week we welcomed another wonderful brand Tasi Travels to the eco.mono family, their aesthetic and values align with ours perfectly, so when Founder Jess Abraham got in touch we were super stoked!
It's really important to us that our readers and customers know more about the people behind the clothes that we sell, so we asked Jess to answer some questions for us. She is a smart business women beyond her years and you will know exactly what I mean by this when you read Jess's answers to the questions asked.
1. Who is Jess Abraham and what did life look like before Tasi Travels?
I am 23 years old and live on the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Queensland. My background is quite varied; I began studying Environmental & Marine Science straight out of high school, but deferred after a year to work in marketing and graphic design. I continued in this industry part-time for three years while I was running my first business, an independent publication called Tidal Magazine.
2. How did Tasi Travels start?
Tasi was inspired by a trip I took to East Timor at the end of 2016. Timor is a beautiful country, but has a difficult climate - it's in the high 30 degrees, but is also very conservative so you need to be covered up. I'd found it really hard to pack for the trip, nothing I owned was right - it either wrinkled, or was an awful thick material, or was too low-cut. I mentioned to the girls that I was travelling with that I wished it was easier to find well-made travel clothing, and that was it I guess.. That was November 2016 and we launched our first collection in July 2017.
3. Where does the name Tasi Travels come from?
Tasi means "ocean" in the local Timorese language, Tetun.
4. What motivates you to run a sustainable and ethical brand?
I have always been really environmentally minded, even in my early teens. When I had the idea for Tasi I knew that I wasn't going to go through with it unless I could make sure that all of my practices were as responsible to both people and planet as possible. To me that's nothing extraordinary, that's just what I expect of myself and of other businesses, that should be the norm not the rarity.
5. Why choose Tencel Fabric?
Textiles are one of the key areas that the fashion industry has such a detrimental effect on the planet, particularly from water usage, chemicals in fabric dye and pesticides used when growing the crops. I wanted to find a fabric that had minimal impact on the planet but was also practical for travel, it couldn't wrinkle and needed to dry quickly. Tencel answered all my prayers! Tencel is regenerated from the wood cellulose from the eucalyptus tree - it's produced in a closed loop system, meaning no waste is produced throughout the process. It is such an amazing fabric!
6. How did you come to the decision to manufacture in Australia and not offshore?
When I had the idea for Tasi I assumed I would manufacture off-shore, that's just what I'd always known about garment manufacturing. But the more I researched and the more I spoke to others in the industry, this didn't sit right with me. Manufacturing locally (in-house) allows me to intimately be involved with every step of my supply chain. It also means we control what we produce; we hand-make to order so we don't sit on any stock, eliminating wastage.
7. What have been your key learnings since launching Tasi Travels?
How complex the fashion and textiles industry is! I was completely new to this industry when I started Tasi, and it still blows my mind every day just how complex and multilayered this industry is. I don't know if there's any other industry that has so many people involved in bringing a garment from the initial cotton crop to the hanger on a department store. This is perhaps why the environmental impact of fast fashion is so huge, because there are so many people and processes throughout the supply chain it can be difficult to control. Definitely not impossible, but it does take commitment and resources, so one piece of advice I would give to anyone starting a business is to embed environmental responsibility into your ethos and processes from the word go - it's much easier to manage as you slowly grow and expand, rather than trying to implement later on down the track.
8. What does the future of sustainable fashion look like to you?
There's a lot of work to be done but I'm really excited by the future of fashion; there are so many incredible brands, both new & established, challenging the way things have always been done and really innovating in their commitment to sustainability. I'd like to see more brands switching to natural fibres and am also interested to see what more we can do with fabric dye; there's a lot of amazing natural plant dyes being used at the moment and I'd love to see how we can further work with this. Exciting times!
Video produced by The Essentials Club