Our Australian Cotton Collection has landed and we’re so excited to share the story behind the campaign. We caught up with Kate Davies, our Senior Product Developer & Corporate Social Responsibility, to get the inside word on her visit to the Cotton fields and our collaboration with Cotton Australia.
You have quite a special role, can you tell us about it, and what makes it unique?
“I am very lucky in my job, I am Senior Product Developer & Corporate Social Responsibility Coordinator for Jeanswest, this means that I am still very much involved in all of our product development and the CSR aspect means that I get to develop our product and processes to be more ethical and sustainable on a day to day basis. I work on projects such as the Australian Cotton Program that we are about to launch as a trial for long term implementation, as I am sure people can understand supply chains are very complex things and projects like this allow us to test drive for more long term solutions.”
Tell us about your visit to Narrabri.
“The visit to Narrabri was excellent, it was so informative and taught me a lot about our Australia Cotton Industry, it was great to be able to stand amongst the crops of cotton knowing that we will be seeing this fibre all the way through our supply chain and onto the shop floor. This trip really outlined the sense of community in the industry, and just how proud our farmers are of their product. The research and development lab was excellent, meeting with scientists who have spent their working life dedicated to improving all aspects of the cotton industry.”
How was it working with Cotton Australia?
“It is comforting to work with Cotton Australia knowing that they have the interest of the farmers and local community at the forefront of their thinking, this collaboration has been a great opportunity to combine our knowledge and understanding of both industries and work together towards long term solutions. Cotton Australia have been excellent to work with, they are a wealth of information in the industry and passionate about what they do, they have provided great support to Jeanswest and we are looking forward to a long term relationship with Cotton Australia.”
Talk us through the process that occurs in a cotton supply chain?
“The Cotton plant is grown through QLD, NSW and the northern borders of Victoria: it is a fascinating plant! Once the crop is ready (weather permitting) the cotton picker machines run up and down the fields picking the cotton boll and leaving the plant in place, from this cotton bales are generated and then transported to the Ginners. In the Ginning mill the cotton is dried and the cotton seed and any other foreign matter is removed from the cotton through a vigorous combing method. The cotton now ginned is then sent to the spinning mill where it is spun into a yarn which we can then start weaving or knitting into fabric.”
What did you learn on your visit to the cotton fields about maintaining the integrity of the cotton product, and the and research and development laboratory?
“I’m a lover of statistics, a stand out for me was the progress of this industry over the past decade, 95% reduction in pesticides and 42% Increase in water efficiency. Cotton Crops are one of the most profitable industries for our farmers and whilst there is a lot of discussion around the use of water on these crops it is one of the most water efficient crops compared to others grown in Australia in regards water consumption vs. yield of the plant.”
What was the inspiration behind this collaboration?
“Cotton is a commodity that is readily used in our industry, to be able to source Australian Cotton and support Australian jobs, industries and communities has been a huge driving inspiration behind this collaboration. Aside from this Australian Cotton is a premium fibre and there are so many benefits of using natural fibres, and how great is it that we can offer our customer a fashion range grown in our very own back yard.”
I’m sure you’re excited for the collection to launch, what do you think our customers will love most?
“I’m hoping all of it! I think our customer will love the beautiful embroidered shirts on the soft stripes and the off the shoulder top, all of our product in this collection talks to some key trends in the market place with stripes, embroidery, tie sleeve and hem details and of course natural fibres.”
What makes this collection special to you personally? Have there been any stand out moments for you on this journey?
“This collection is very special to me, some standout moments were definitely the visit to Narrabri, it was a huge personal achievement for me to be able to stand amongst the cotton fields in Australia where it all begins. Also the launch in Sydney brought a number of people from the media and the non-for profit industry together to talk cotton, some of the conversation that was had was brilliant, to be able to discuss successes and challenges of the industry openly and also inform people of the cotton industry was definitely a stand out for me. So many people walked into that room with limited knowledge on the industry and by the end of the day the room was buzzing with conversation and information and knowledge being shared between all. I am so proud of what we have been able to achieve and excited for the journey ahead.”
Anything else you would like to add.
“I am very lucky that Jeanswest gives me the opportunity to run with these projects, I hope that our customer not only sees the value in a great fashion range but also sees the additional worth of this home grown product.”