Environmentally-friendly clothing brand Born Hybrid have launched a collection of illustrated t-shirts inspired by nature, with every product sold donating money to help create nature reserves.
Founders Emily Browne and Ashley Ramsden have spent the two years researching an affordable and ethical solution against fast fashion graphic t-shirts, and have recently launching a crowdfunder campaign.
Co-founder Ashley found it hard to buy garments that were ethical, environmentally friendly and shipped from the UK and worked with Emily, who has a background in illustration, to create sustainable t-shirts printed with fantastical hand drawn illustrations of endangered species.
“This was how Born Hybrid began,” says Emily. “All of our t-shirt designs are inspired by nature and we couldn’t build a business around the art, without considering our environmental impact.”
“We started looking into it and realised that even the best companies out there could still be better. It was at that point we decided to try to create a product that truly ticked every box,” says Ashley.“We have a ‘do what you can’ attitude, and don’t leave any stone unturned when it comes to researching ways to reduce our environmental impact.
“Our t-shirts are manufactured using renewable energy and feature highly detailed graphic designs, printed in the UK, using non-toxic inks.”
Emily adds: “We are exceptionally careful about how our items are presented. We’ve swapped out polluting plastic mail bags and parcel tape for recyclable alternatives.”
Running the business from in their spare time from their Cotham flat, Ashley and Emily also work part time day jobs – Ashley as a freelance film editor and camera assistant and Emily as a digital marketing manager at the RWA.
The Kickstarter has been launched with a £4,000 goal to help this startup pursue their dreams of running Born Hybrid full time.
“We’d love to have our own studio and warehouse and employ a few people to help with all sides of the business, from design to logistics,” says Ashley.
Born Hybrid currently source their t-shirts from a UK based company who produce their t-shirts in India before shipping them back to the UK (instead of flying, which significantly reduces the environmental impact of the products).
Made from an innovative blend of organic cotton and sustainable wood pulp, Born Hybrid strive to be environmentally friendly at all stages of production, the brand is also Fair Wear Foundation certified.
“Our t-shirts are made in safe working conditions with a fair wage for the workers,” says Emily, who hopes that they can one day manufacture their own products.
For Ashley and Emily, it wasn’t enough to just create environmentally friendly clothing: “For every t-shirt sold, we will donate to the World Land Trust ‘buy an acre appeal’, to buy 20 metres squared of forest,” says Emily. “This money will enable their trusted conservation partners to purchase wildlife-rich habitats, turning them into permanently protected nature reserves.”
The debut Born Hybrid collection features a range of t-shirts available for £26 each and Ashley and Emily plan to launch a full street wear collection as the brand grows, including caps and jumpers.
Supporting slow fashion is an important factor for today’s fashion designers and brands. How can a new brand encourage people to buy their garments, without adding to the already overflowing fashion industry?
“If consumers stop buying non-ethical clothing, it’ll pressure the industry into making the big changes that consumers want,” says Emily.
“Change in large companies takes time, so we’ve set up our company to challenge the industry. Our customers will know from day one, that our products are built to last, whilst minimising the strain placed on the environment and its inhabitants.”
“By avoiding fast fashion, we can exercise activism through our wallets,” says Ashley.
Support the Born Hybrid Kickstarter campaign at www.kickstarter.com/projects/bornhybrid/the-ultimate-eco-friendly-graphic-t-shirt-born-hybrid
Read our Fashion Editor’s blog, No Debutante