Australian uniform company Cargo Crew has unveiled its new capsule collection, which offers fully circular products made using eco-conscious materials. The new range, called the Conscious Collection, includes a variety of aprons and tote bags made from recycled materials, each containing at least four plastic bottles, hemp or recycled yarn fabrics. This range can also be custom-embroidered through a process approved by Ethical Clothing Australia. It forms part of the brand’s emphasis on su
on sustainability, which has ramped up in recent years. Through packaging and waste reduction methods introduced in 2020, Cargo Crew has diverted almost 1,200kg of textiles from landfill, and has eliminated about eight tonnes of plastic from its supply chain. It has also removed plastic packaging from its product range, as well as “plastic bits and bobs,” including clips which hold together its aprons. Founder and creative director Felicity Rodgers told Inside Retail that the Conscious Collection has been a key area of focus since Cargo Crew’s 51 per cent acquisition by Glow Capital Partners in June this year. Other priorities include US expansion and growth, product innovation and development, and collaborations. The brand is currently building relationships on the ground in the US to ensure that it has a strong understanding of the local market. “We’re building hype in a way that feels genuine and authentic, and in a way that is product-led,” Rodgers said. More choice The Conscious Collection comes at a time when consumers are demanding that companies use more sustainable materials and avoid textile waste wherever possible across product lines, and supply chains. As such, Rodgers explained that the brand has been delving into the composition of the yarns and materials that it uses, and the alternatives that are available in this space. A feature of the new collection is its ‘hazel apron and tote bag,’ which is 100 per cent circular, having been crafted from recycled fabric remnants. She added that Cargo Crew has renewed its focus on durability and longevity across its product lines, as well as the implementation of recyclable solutions to ensure that its products don’t end up in landfill at the end of life. “Across the fashion industry, I feel there’s a fast speed of turnover, [as well as] pressure to move on to new styles and seasons,” she said. “Our development process and cycle is longer because of the R&D we’re doing to make sure our products are built for work, and for the every-day, and can be used for a long period of time.” According to Rodgers, the new collection is relevant to Cargo Crew’s core demographic, including businesses of all sizes and everyday consumers. She believes that consumers across the board are mindful of how their consumption impacts the planet, and want to make more sustainable choices without compromising on quality, longevity or design As such, she explained that the brand is working to find a balance between using eco-friendly materials, without this impacting on the durability of its products. In demonstrating this challenge, she pointed to synthetic fabrics, which are durable, but have a significant eco-footprint. Rodgers also highlighted that materials that are eco-friendly, but disintegrate quickly, are not necessarily ideal either. As part of this, Cargo Crew is ensuring that existing polyester fabrics in its supply chain can be recycled. Meanwhile, a significant proportion of its shirts and aprons are fully certified to Oeko-Tex standards, guaranteeing that it has undergone rigorous testing and is free of harmful substances. Rodgers added that elements of the Conscious Collection – such as the use of materials that aren’t typically utilised by the brand, including hemp blends and bamboo – might be extended across the broader product in the future. “The Conscious Collection is about providing customers with more choice – but we see ourselves as a consciously considered business. Everything we’re doing comes from that lens,” she said. What’s next Regarding future plans, Cargo Crew is placing a strong emphasis on transparency and visibility across its supply chain, with the goal of deepening its understanding of its environmental and social impact. It is also continuing to expand – and develop collaborations within and beyond the hospitality industry – in order to increase brand awareness. “Everything we do is underpinned by quality and a passion for design, and we’re looking to share that with a broader market – not just our B2B, but everyday consumers,” she said.