ARTCLUB is a progressive brand focusing on art, fashion, vintage & like-minded collaboration. Launched in 2018 by Heidi Middleton, after 15 years at the creative helm of sass & bide.
“ARTCLUB was born out of a quest for my ideal creative platform, to house the things I love: making art, designing fashion, curating vintage & collaborating with creative people of shared values” , says Middleton. “Most of all, it was created from a desire to make things of beauty with purpose and meaning, and that will endure the test of time.”
We are acutely aware that the Earth’s resources are finite and as global citizens we have a responsibility to tread lightly. The traditional business model of making, selling, using, and disposing of fashion, on repeat with little consideration of the negative impact on the planet is no longer tenable.
“Clothing production doubled from 2000 to 2014, and the number of garments purchased each year by the average consumer increased by 60 percent: Mckinsey and Co”. In the current linear global production system “if nothing changes, by 2050 the fashion industry will use up a quarter of the world’s carbon budget.” Ellen Macarthur Foundation.
ARTCLUB proposes an alternative vision. ARTCLUB is consciously disrupting the standard linear fashion process, creating new pathways to be part of the growing movement towards a circular fashion industry. We embrace slow fashion principals where numbered limited edition pieces are designed to be loved, worn and re-worn, shared, swapped, borrowed, repaired and passed onto another pair of loving hands. We encourage our community to engage in the swap and resell environment, to keep the love flowing for ARTCLUB fashion once it has lived its best life with the original owner. Join the club, spread the love.
ARTCLUB is made is Sydney and we are privileged to have a close relationship with our local manufacturers who share our philosophy. We celebrate each individual maker (the majority of whom are women) by including their names within the garments. This creates a dialogue between the brand, the makers and the customer, highlighting the highly skilled hands that craft the cloth, who are often overlooked in the business of fashion.
It is estimated that "one garbage truck full of textiles is landfilled or burnt every second". Ellen Macarthur Foundation.
A foundational aspect of ARTCLUB was to limit the amount of resources used in our manufacturing process and use existing fabrics where possible without producing new raw materials. Fabrics are produced to certain minimums and brands or mills often have excess fabric which is unusable within a season. Due to seasonality this excess becomes deadstock. ARTCLUB garments are consciously designed using existing remnant/deadstock, transforming waste from another brand into a precious resource that would otherwise be unused. At brand launch our first drop used roughly 80% remnant fabric with plans in works to broaden our supply chain to use a minimum of 95% remnant or eco virgin fabrics within 12 months.
The carbon footprint of our supply chain is considered closely. We source a large portion of our remnant fabric in Sydney and we make and dispatch locally within 10km of our studio. This reduces the carbon emissions required to freight the raw materials to our manufacturers and deliver the finished garments to our local distribution site.
“Nearly three-fifths of all clothing ends up in incinerators or landfills within a year of being produced.” Mckinsey and Co.
ARTCLUB’s personally curated vintage offering extends our slow fashion philosophy by giving these enchanting high quality pieces another life. These little diamonds were uncovered within the walls of designer vintage purveyors, and were originally created by some of the best in the business. We are so thrilled to share these with you. Purchasing a unique, one of a kind vintage piece is a win for you and the Earth. The future of fashion is circular.
I am not a plastic bag
Plastic is rife in our world, an estimated 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. Traditionally when fashion is produced it travels from the maker to the dispatcher in clear plastic to ensure the garments arrive in a clean state. ARTCLUB is committed to using no single use plastic packaging at all in our manufacturing and distribution process. Alternatively we have discovered an incredible product made by Avani Eco using cassava starch which mimics the look and feel of a soft plastic bag but biodegrades without the need for commercial composting processes. They are sustainable, derived from renewable sources, are certified 100% biodegradable, contain no petroleum element and are certified non GMO. In fact, this product actually completely dissolves in hot water into a liquid safe for human consumption! We are collecting these at the distribution site to reuse over and over until our cassava bags are no longer fit for purpose and require composting.
Rethinking how packaging is used in garment production is one of the creative challenges designers and brands are currently facing and there are some exciting developments emerging in this space.
You may notice when you receive your ARTCLUB gem that it is missing something traditionally found attached to a new purchase- a swingtag. As an online boutique, our virtual racks no longer require a physical swingtag displaying branding, barcode, price and size so at ARTCLUB we have decided to remove them from our garments completely. Producing one less item to be used once and disposed off.
The protective packaging for our online shipping comes in 2 forms. Larger items are shipped inside a cardboard box which contains between 30-60% recycled content (the percentile of recycled materials is variable throughout the production process) and is completely recyclable.
Smaller items are shipped a comPOST satchel made by an innovative New Zealand company, The Better Packaging Co. These alternatives to plastic satchels are made from renewable corn starch with a binding agent, are non GMO and are certified biodegradable in home compost within 180 days.
Our wrapping paper and comp cards are made by Ball & Doggett an Australian company using sustainable renewable sources Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC®) certification and is element chlorine free. Our printer uses vegetable oil ink by Japanese company T & K Toka.
In our studio, our chairs and tables have been recycled and upcycled, the space has been decorated with incredible vintage finds and our sewing machines are reconditioned rather than new. At ARTCLUB we are embedding our conscious consumption mantra into our DNA and making sure our processes and spaces abide by our ethos.