Boody offers soft basic pieces sustainably made from bamboo. Image supplied.
You may have seen Boody‘s super soft basics made from organically grown bamboo in your local pharmacy. The Australian brand is also stocked online and is growing a following in New Zealand for their range of underwear and apparel with women’s, men’s and babywear available. The business is run by Shaun Greenblo and Elliot Midalia, with Boody basics crafted from EcoCert certified organic bamboo, using no fertilisers, pesticides or irrigation – just rainwater. The brand champions sustainability beyond their materials, using state-of-the-art computer knitting machines to create seamless garments for minimal fabric waste.
Earlier this year, Boody launched a new LYOLYTE range which is made from bamboo Lyocell that uses half as much water compared to cotton, LYOLYTE is entirely free from harmful chemicals and refined in a closed loop system.
We caught up with Shaun and Elliot to find out more about Boody, why sustainability is important to them and what they think we can do to consume fashion more responsibly?
How did your interest in sustainability and ethical clothing come about and how have you translated that into Boody?
Boody was born from a collective passion, drive and demand for a simpler wardrobe made from sustainable fabrics that supported the everyday lifestyle. This passion saw two friends, David and Neil on a journey to simply design better basics; both bringing their experience in fashion and pharmacy together to force sustainable change. The business was started by my father (Shaun speaking), David Greenblo, who has over 30 years experience in apparel and his best friend, Neil Midalia, who enjoyed many years running successful retail pharmacies.
Today, Elliot Midalia (Neil’s son) and I run the business. We value the diverse experience our fathers bring to the table, which combined with our growth mindset, love of technology and collective hunger for changing the world for the better are building a world-class brand.
Why is sustainability important to you as a person and for your brand?
Fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world and one of the largest consumers of water on the planet. Our planet can’t keep up with this demand and neither can our people with a lack of quality work environment. It doesn’t need to be that way – your clothes can be made better – with sustainable, mindful processes that don’t harm our environment. We want to encourage conscious basics and a lean, green wardrobe.
We’re all about mindful manufacturing and take a holistic approach to sustainability. We choose bamboo. It is the foundation of everything we make. Bamboo is the fastest growing and most versatile plant in the world. No pesticides, insecticides or fertilisers – bamboo is naturally organic and doesn’t require chemicals to enhance its growth. Its fibre uses a non-toxic, closed-loop system, resulting in a silky-soft weave that’s soft on your skin and gentle on our planet.
Tonal underwear by Boody.
What are the key factors you consider when creating sustainable clothing?
By choosing to wear Boody, we are collectively rejecting the notion of fast-fashion and committing to building a wardrobe of quality, sustainable basics. We bypass trends and fads as we believe they lead to overconsumption and waste. By simply undertaking a more minimal approach to your wardrobe with sustainable basics, we can collectively make a direct impact on our future.
We want to take the pressure out of getting ready in the morning for our customers. By making the simple decision to convert your top drawer to Boody undies (and extending from there), you are making a conscious step to a more sustainable world and a more comfortable day.
What are some of the materials you use and how are they sourced?
Our bamboo is grown in the rainy Sichuan province of China and relies solely on rainfall to grow. Bamboo is grown without fertilisers or pesticides and requires no irrigation, only rainwater. The fast-growing, raw bamboo stems are cut into chunks, ready for the next step. The raw bamboo is soaked in an organic solution to soften. The system is closed-loop – all liquid is recycled and all solvents are captured and removed to ensure that the process is as eco-friendly as the bamboo itself.
The dehydration process allows us to extract the bamboo pulp that is then dried into flat sheets. When the bamboo sheets are completely dry, they are ground into a soft fabric. The fabric is then extruded and spun into a viscose yarn that we use to knit our garments. The garments are knitted in tubes resulting in very little fabric wastage and seamfree design.
How would you describe the Boody customer and what do you think they’re looking for when they shop with your brand?
The shift to casualwear began well before the COVID-19 pandemic and the Boody offering was born out of the demand for a simpler wardrobe made from sustainable fabrics that supported people’s everyday lifestyle.
The Boody community demands casual, conscious basics and care how things are made and the impact that product has on the planet. Boody is seasonless and a non-trend driven brand, with our products made to last. Our community love and value soft, simple and sustainable everyday basics.
What do you think are some of the misconceptions about sustainable and ethical fashion and how do you address them?
There is still some belief that we have to compromise between sustainability and comfort or style. The idea that sustainable clothes have a certain look and feel (that is, unstylish or uncomfortable) is really simply addressed by the nature of our product. Technology and design has come a long way in that we no longer need to sacrifice style or comfort for sustainability. The comfort and style of Boody products really speak for themselves in that when you put them on, you can feel how comfortable they are.
What do you think we should all be doing as individuals to consume more responsibly?
It’s important for us to consider what we do with the clothing in our wardrobes after the transaction. Caring for our clothes in the washing process and repairing them when possible ensures that they last longer and stay out of landfill.
We’ve also noticed a trend in customers educating themselves about sustainability – there’s been a strong demand from our customers for more information about products’ bamboo processes and where we manufacture. This is a really positive trend and it’s up to brands to meet customers halfway, and develop the content to answer their questions.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received that you keep referring back to as a business?
Our best advice given has been that investing in people is your single and greatest asset. Our people are everything. We are a family business, literally, but we extend that to our team and the way we operate Boody. Our people, and in turn our community inspire leadership, inspire us to champion great things, inspire us to innovate and make bold moves.
The next is to establish your core values as a business, and make every decision, big or small, through the lens of those core values. At Boody, our core values are high-spirited, driven, caring and considered, so whether we’re hiring, creating products, partnering with a vendor or developing a strategy, we assess our decisions against these core values. What ends up happening is that your team becomes more aligned, you make a lot less mistakes and your messaging becomes stronger because the community you’re trying to inspire are aligned and on the journey with you.