Ahimsa Collective completely turns the idea of being sustainable and giving up style completely on its head, with their biodegradable, waste-free, vegan-leather totes.
Ahimsa itself, translates to no suffering. While Collective, acknowledges this movement isn’t just one person, but instead comes about through our collective actions.
For Ahimsa Collective, they apply the word Ahimsa to the treatment of the Earth and all its inhabitants, which is why their product is entirely vegan and made ethically in Sydney by a talented leather bag maker.
Ahimsa Collective’s bags are made from Pinatex - a bi-product of the pineapple farming industry. Pinatex is created through a process of stripping the pineapple leaves into fine fibres, and then converted into a non-woven mesh like material.
As Pinatex is a waste product of an existing industry, there is no additional land, water, fertilizers or pesticides needed, which means that the leaves have virtually no environmental impact. What’s more, all the lining and structure of Ahimsa’s products are made from deadstock and other materials that other industries have destined for landfill.
On top of this, all of Ahimsa Collective’s products are plastic-free showing that from start to finish they’ve made it possible to create a product that does no harm, and instead repurposes what industries have considered waste into the most beautiful, high-quality bags that allow you to tell the story of the future of fashion.
We sat down with Tessa, the co-founder of Ahimsa Collective, to learn more about why they set out to create Ahimsa Collective and their journey so far.
1. Why did you start Ahimsa Collective?
Ahimsa Collective was born more out of a need than a want. We were surrounded by vegan-friendly products but none of them looked holistically at the environmental impacts as well as the impact on animals.
Our intention was to find a solution to this and offer people a product that was both aesthetically pleasing along with a lot of feel-good vibes. We also wanted to change the fashion industry and its view on materials, production and overall impact.
2. What is the most rewarding moment you have had so far with Ahimsa Collective?
To date the most rewarding moment has been seeing the look of content on our bag-maker’s face when he successfully sampled our first Pinatex Tote Modern. Pinatex is typically very hard to work with and to get a good ‘leather-quality’ finish on the product has been very challenging for every designer we have met on this journey. Working with our magic-man in his Sydney-based workshop and experimenting with a range of new materials has been incredibly difficult but every bit rewarding, and we owe our final product’s quality to the meticulous eagle eye of our bag-maker.
3. What does success look like for Ahimsa Collective?
Success to us means seeing a shift in consumer-consciousness. Our products aren’t designed just for the consumer who is already aware of their impact but also for those who are buying purely for aesthetics and trend. Using fashion as a platform we hope to make this section of the consumer-community aware of the power they have through their purchase.
4. What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who is just starting out?
Write down your values first. What is it that you care most about? How does this translate to your product/service? If it doesn’t, don’t start the business. In this day and age, it is imperative that you show people you stand for something. The last thing this world needs is another business putting products out there that have no conscience and no regard for where their products end up.
5. Which companies / leaders creating good in business inspire you?
Everyday, we are inspired by other small businesses run by millennials who are setting out to shift the direction this world is turning in. Our current love affair is with Kappi (a business set out to make reusable trendy) and Yuki Threads - a snow-gear brand from Torquay who share a love for the slopes as well as the planet in general and embed their values into all their collections.
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Bob Melbourne is a zero-waste hair salon based in South Yarra. They turn your offcuts it into hair booms that get taken out to the Great Barrier Reef and help suck up oil spills.