• matildawilsondesign

Cleonie Swim: Conscious Consumerism Series 001

Updated: Nov 28, 2019

I love chatting with like-minded businesses who are evolving their field and always find it awe inspiring and intriguing to listen to what they have to say about where they started, what drives their ethos and what they are aspiring to in the coming years. After chasing her love for the ocean, altruism and community, Owner of Cleonie Swim, Kitty, culminated her passions into a unique and ethically rooted business that is thriving in the Australian market. Read on as we chat about humble beginnings, Kitty's golden rules to ensure ongoing environmental operations and design and her recommendations on how to introduce conscious consumerism into your Christmas festivities and gift giving.

Tell me a little bit about your business and career journey so far?

I have always been a lover of the ocean, mother nature and have been a daughter of seamstresses; both my grandmother and mother were great sewers and I grew up in awe of the beautiful garments they were able to create from a piece of cloth.

Cleonie is a family name which has been in the lineage for 6 generations and means Goddess of the Water in Greek- a perfect fit for the ever growing childhood dream I had of designing, making and creating swimwear.

I studied fashion at RMIT University Melbourne and after graduating was lucky to win a scholarship to study again in Europe, refining the skills I had already built. After travelling the world, backpacking and falling in love with so many different cultures I saw the devastation mass production was having on the less privileged countries.. it was more than overwhelming. It hit my core and I knew there was more to be done and it could start back home. As my dream kept brewing inside, I worked for a few great Australian labels before deciding it was time to start the dream of having my own.

Your emphasis on ethical manufacturing and conscious living is something I deeply admire about Cleonie. How important is this factor to you personally as well as how you operate as a business?

It is conscious living that is a priority throughout the day.. whether it be walking instead of driving, recycling, using a keep cup, reducing waste in the way we live and shop is important to our household. We strive to be better and better all the time.. it is a lifelong process and there are always new ways to be more ethical which is why we are continually striving to be as best as we can.

Being ethical in our production processes is key to the way Cleonie is operated.. not only is everything cut and made to order, but scrap fabric is donated to different businesses who can re-use it for their own purposes. We use all eco packaging for delivering orders and recycle throughout the day. All of our garments are made entirely from Econyl; a regenerated nylon fiber made from post consumer waste products.. It is a full cycle of being mindful in every decision we make and again how we can be better from season to season.

How are you challenging the mainstream garment industry and why are you doing so?

Being a made to order is something extremely rare in this industry- majority of brands have a mass produced ‘guess the amount of stock that will sell’ attitude and we choose to just manufacture what the customer wants, this also means we can make custom pieces and make changes to indiidualise the styles to fit our Cleonie gals shape.

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to minimize their environmental impact this Christmas but isn’t sure where to start or how to make a real impact?

Consider making donations to your family and friends instead of giving gifts.. this not only would help people in need and charities that are making impacts on the world but it also makes you feel so good! It also means that there would be less waste in those potential ‘unwanted’ gifts that just end up in bins, being re-gifted or just get put away.

I love the idea of making something for your friends and family using your hands.. get creative.. look around and use your imagination to make them something you have created yourself! Paint them a scribbly picture, write them a poem.. let your mind be free and get creative!

Or go to a second hand shop, find them a treasure that has been made years ago and still has purpose!! No need to keep on adding waste to the world! Holidays are all about spending the time with those you love.. make that time conscious, mindful and allow the memories to be made.. that is where all the special lives.

All photography by: April Josie Studios

To see more of Cleonie, jump onto their instagram: @cleonie.swim and website www.cleonie.com

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