Walking into a Gorman store has always, and will always, be a magical experience. With its eclectic prints, fresh colours, and clothing designs to make anyone’s heart swoon, there is a certain whimsical rush that comes with running one’s hands through the rich fibres used in every creation – from shoes and dresses, to jumpsuits and rain jackets and, more recently, a variety of home wares.
Starting in 1999 at local fashion boutique Fat52, Melbourne-girl Lisa Gorman launched her collection titled ‘Less Than 12 Degrees’, and in the following years, fashion label Gorman skyrocketed onto the Australian couture landscape.
Gorman Organic was then established in 2007, in response to a sudden rise in environmental awareness made possible by manufacturing innovations in fabric production. Gorman Organic stocks a wide range of sustainably-produced items without a decrease in quality or a change in the distinctive Gorman look. All garments in the Gorman Organic range are either certified organic- that is, the materials are organically farmed and produced without pesticides- or are sustainable -come from sustainable farming, non-chemical processing and closed loop production means. According to seasons, Gorman use a range of sustainable fibres such as organic cotton, recycled polyester, recycled cotton fibre and raw linen. Every month, Gorman stores collect any and all Gorman clothing that customers have chosen to drop back into stores due to wearing out, sort through the goods, and pass them onto charity Seconds to Give, where the clothing is given a new second-hand life. Gorman ensure longevity of their products and aim to create clothing and accessories that can survive wherever life may take you, for as long as possible. “When the design team sit down to create and technically develop a product, we are thinking of value. This, to us, means that if you happen to be very fond of it, you buy it, and you want to be sure that you’re going to wear it a lot. None of this one-season-and-it’s-over business.”
As well as their focus on using sustainable and ethically sourced materials, Gorman have extended their eco-awareness into all elements of their ethos. Gorman adopt a strict ethical Code of Conduct in relation to their production and manufacturing, and this involves no child labour, paid living wages, freedom of working hours, regular employment, and anti-discrimination practices. In their shops, all fit out materials are chosen from a sustainable and eco-friendly source. Recycled timber with non-toxic paint and oils are used, as well as locally sourced timber plinths and rinses. Shops also contain unbleached linen curtains, uncoated cobber and timber racking, and LED energy-efficient lighting. For every three customers that do not purchase their clothing with a Gorman bag, one tree is planted in a South American eco-reserve, through environmentally aware company Friends of the Earth. Furthermore, in 2010 Gorman reduced plastic packaging of bulk orders by 90% in just one year, involving the use of recycled boxes instead of plastic bags. Only 63% of their orders are sea-freighted- a vastly lower rate than most companies. Gorman work to combine deliveries together so that shipping and trucking are done less frequently.
Gorman have created the perfect contemporary collaboration of sustainable fashion and quality, unique design. It is no wonder they are slowly becoming one of the most-loved fashion brands within Australia and, more recently, across the globe. Their latest collection, Summer 2014, is a vibrant mix of sun and sea, and is bound to incite excitement for all things beached out and surfed up. Check it out online!