Starseeds

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ABOUT

Founded by: Natalia Zawada

Launched in: 2014

Brand story:

We launched Starseeds in 2014 following an eye-opening trip around South East Asia. Despite thinking that we didn’t always have it particularly easy growing up in Eastern Europe, the awareness which we gained whilst travelling dramatically changed this outlook. After being exposed to various harsh realities faced by those living in less fortunate areas, we became increasingly appreciative of how lucky we are to have the freedom of choice, especially in regard to our work and education. More importantly, we witnessed how these choices have the power to affect others living elsewhere around the world. Our experiences abroad caused us to re-evaluate our career paths and awoke a shared passion from which Starseeds was born. Leaving a former dream of working in the mainstream fashion industry behind, we set out to begin a new ethical project, which would allow us to use our freedom of choice in a way that would respect those who are not so fortunate, along with the planet as a whole.

We started by researching sustainable, natural and organic fabrics and made a capsule collection of prototypes at SHUBA Concept in Poland, with which Natalia has been collaborating while creating her previous fashion/ tailoring line. We came up with our signature basic pattern blocks that represent our attention to tailoring and fit. The first collection has been produced in a local small factory, EVAN, which specialised in sportswear stitching and mostly had the clients for winter thermal-wear. The owner said she had very few assignments around the spring/ summer time, so we were happy to support local community and give them a different assignment. With the first production, we were visiting the factory weekly – not just for the production and working conditions control, but we noticed how much of a difference it makes when the seamstresses know how much we care about the product and about them.

With the demand of creating something more durable and high-tech than organic cotton, we were forced to find a more technically advanced manufacturer and moved part of the production to Portugal. After visiting 16 factories, during two week-long trips, we decided to test five of them and chose the final two which are happy to produce smaller volumes for us and work with unusual fabrics. In terms of our supply chain: we thought certification alone does not guarantee the decent working conditions and the quality standards, so we made a rule to select the people we work with by committing to build long-term relationships. It’s not always possible to visit every single factory few times a year. However, maintaining a frequent relationship with them, even meeting them at the international trade shows, gives us the idea of how they feel about their work. Even though we are a startup brand, we still try to visit our factories as often as possible.

After testing several fabrics and trimmings, we came up with the final choice of our softest selection of wild bamboo and organic cotton and decided to keep our trimmings as minimal as possible. For the hang tags, we found the seeded plantable paper which we love as it inspires people to become more aware. We believe it is our responsibility to give consumers a better choice.

With the customers demand on high performance gear, we found the ideal sustainable fabric, S.cafe, which is recycled, durable, breathable, feels natural on the skin, and absorbs sweat and odour.

OUR FACTORIES

Number of factories: 3

Factory locations: Portugal and Poland

Factory 1 – Shuba Concept

  • Function: Production studio for prototypes and small quantities
  • Location: Poland
  • Number of employees: 20
  • Years working with Starseeds: 5
  • Policies, procedures & certifications: N/A
  • Average hours / day: 8
  • Average hourly pay: Not disclosed
  • Number of visits / year: 4-5
  • Sub-contractors: Yes, but not for our work

Factory 2 – Nordstark

  • Function: Final production
  • Location: Portugal
  • Number of employees: 20
  • Years working with Starseeds: 1.5
  • Policies, procedures & certifications: N/A
  • Average hours / day: 8
  • Average hourly pay: Not disclosed
  • Number of visits / year: 2
  • Sub-contractors: Yes

Factory 3 – Lomartek

  • Function: Final production and prototypes
  • Location: Portugal
  • Number of employees: 30
  • Years working with Starseeds: 0.5
  • Policies, procedures & certifications: N/A
  • Average hours / day: 8
  • Average hourly pay: Not disclosed
  • Number of visits / year: 2
  • Sub-contractors: No

 

OUR FABRICS

All of the fabrics we use are Oeko-Tex certified, both cotton and bamboo. All of our cotton is also GOTS organic certified.

Fabric Supplier 1 – Stanpol

  • Function: Bamboo & organic cotton fabric supply
  • Location: Poland
  • Number of employees: Not disclosed
  • Years working with Starseeds: 3
  • Policies, procedures & certifications: GOTS certified, Oeko-Tex certified
  • Average hours / day: 10
  • Average hourly pay: Not disclosed
  • Number of visits / year: We visited many times when we first started working with them but now we visit less frequently as we have a trusted relationship
  • Sub-contractors: No

Fabric Supplier 2 – Lebenskleidung

  • Function: Organic cotton fabric supply
  • Location: Germany
  • Number of employees: TBC
  • Years working with Starseeds: 3
  • Policies, procedures & certifications: GOTS certified, Oeko-Tex certified
  • Average hours / day: 8
  • Average hourly pay: Not disclosed
  • Number of visits / year: 3
  • Sub-contractors: No

Fabric Supplier 3 – Singtex

  • Function: Recycled poly/ coffee blend fabric supply
  • Location: Taiwan
  • Number of employees: Not disclosed
  • Years working with Starseeds: 3
  • Policies, procedures & certifications: Blue Sign
  • Average hours / day: 10
  • Average hourly pay: Not disclosed
  • Number of visits / year: 2-3 at trade shows
  • Sub-contractors: No

 

 

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