Maple Organic Wear owner Maddi Butel models one of her sustainable fashion lines at Maroochydore. Photo: John McCutcheon
Maple Organic Wear owner Maddi Butel models one of her sustainable fashion lines at Maroochydore. Photo: John McCutcheon

Sustainable designer tackles fast fashion industry

A COAST fashion designer has taken the toxicity of the fast fashion industry into her own hands with a fully sustainable clothing label that "stands for more than selling clothes".

Maddi Butel started Maple Organic Wear two years ago after looking for a way to combine her passions.

"I wanted to create something that could combine my passion for the environment and fair trade as well as my creative side and that's why I started it," Ms Butel said.

"I love being creative and I love fashion, but I also have a big problem with the fast fashion industry and how it contributes to mass consumerism and a lot of the time the environment and Fairtrade are ignored."

Every stage of Maple's production process is done with the environment and fair trade in mind.

Ms Butel said everything including the 100 per cent cotton fabric was sustainable.

"I only make to order so I don't do production runs which means there is no wastage," Ms Butel said.

"All my fabrics are organic, so they biodegrade, and they are not made from using genetically modified seeds."

Finding traditional clothing tags to be a waste of materials the innovative business owner found a more sustainable option and said her seeded swing tags were "really cool".

The tags can be planted giving them "a second purpose as opposed to throwing it in the bin".

Maple Organic Wear customer Eddi Watson "never really thought" about the negative impacts of her fashion choices but now loves what Maple stands for and hopes more people educate themselves.

"I absolutely love it and there is such a great message behind the clothing," Ms Watson said.

"It's sustainable, 100 per cent organic cotton, ethically made, Australian made, and I think we should probably put some more thought into where our clothes come from."

Ms Butel said while there were "a lot of really cool sustainable innovations coming" including clothing made from fermented tea, there were challenges with the longevity of sustainable garments.

"The thing about it is, people want clothes to last and I think if there made from 100 per cent biodegradable materials, which is great, the lifespan of that piece isn't going to be as long," Ms Butel said.

"So, it's definitely about balancing practicality with being environmentally friendly."

The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world, after the oil industry.

"Thinking about what you're purchasing as a long-term investment is a good way to reduce the impact," Ms Butel said.

"I try and create garments that can be used all year round, stuff that you can alter according to the season so that you're not having to buy every couple of weeks."

In the future Ms Butel said she would "love to do sustainability work for other big fashion houses".

"The fashion industry has the ability to be very toxic in a lot of ways, but I also think there is a beautiful side as well and I kind of want to change the balance to bring up the beautiful heritage and rebirth the industry."