ethical business apparel for those less uniform
Little Yellow Bird is a social enterprise that was developed with the vision of improving social and environmental sustainability throughout the garment supply chain.
Working closely with farmers, sewers, designers and artists, we create bespoke business apparel and uniforms for our clients’ employees and customers, in a way that won’t compromise our workers or the environment.
Whether you need some small tweaks made to an existing garment, a designer to create something truly unique, a run of only a few or several thousand, we can work with you to provide fair trade clothing for your business.
HOW WE GOT STARTED
Little Yellow Bird was founded in 2015, originally as a supplier of women’s business shirts. In 2016 we expanded our product line and began offering custom uniforms and merchandise products for businesses. Little Yellow Bird has grown steadily over the last 12 months and we are now the leading supplier of ethical uniforms in New Zealand.
What sets Little Yellow Bird apart from other uniform companies is our 100% visible supply chain. We not only know where and how our products are made, but we also have visibility on where and how the raw materials for our organic clothing have been manufactured. Our visibility extends right back to the farming level where we visit and invest in our cotton farming communities.
WHY DO WE USE ORGANIC COTTON?
While cotton is the most widely used textile in the garment industry, it is also responsible for a vast amount of social and environmental harm. Conventionally grown cotton requires huge water and chemical inputs which cause significant health problems and environmental pollution. We support cooperatives in East India that farm organic cotton using natural farming techniques and relying on rain-water. This way our uniforms are better for the planet and better for the people that wear them.
OUR PRODUCTION PROCESS
Little Yellow Bird’s cotton is grown and harvested on organic farms. Our farmers work as a cooperative, most of them owning small, two-acre plots of land. They do not employ the use of chemicals or pesticides and instead rely on all-natural farming techniques. Their dedication and care for their cotton crop results in some of the world’s most luxurious, chemical-free cotton.
The cotton is transported and delivered at the local ginning mill and sorted before being processed. Poor quality cotton is rejected (about 10%) and the rest is ginned, a process which separates the cotton seed from the usable cotton.The cotton seeds aren’t wasted, however. They are instead used later to make cotton seed oil.
The cotton is turned into bales at the ginning mill and then transported to the spinning mill. This is the process that turns cotton bales into fine thread, ready to be knitted or woven.
Cotton threads used for t-shirts and hoodies are knitted together to make fabric. Other types of fabric, such as that used in business shirts, is made through a different process called weaving.
Our pattern makers sketch out the design plans. The fabric will be cut into panels and later stitched together to make our fair trade garments. We use layout plans that minimise our wastage and have various programs and projects that use up any fabric scraps.
Depending on the quantities ordered, our patterns are either made electronically or by a more traditional method, using cardboard.
The fabric is then cut and, depending on our customers needs, our fabric is dyed or screenprinted. For larger orders we print the fabric prior to stitching. This speeds up our production time and also minimizes wastage.
Finally, the product is ready to be stitched together. And while this is usually the most monitored aspect of clothing production, as you can see it is only one step of many. We believe at Little Yellow Bird that each of the many hands that work to produce your organic clothing deserves to be treated fairly and ethically.
The process of making a garment is long and complicated. We care about all of the people that work in our supply chain, from the farmers in the cotton fields to those working on the factory floors. We work to ensure all of the people in our supply chain are paid fairly for the work they do. To see more of what’s required to produce ethical clothing, check out the video on our About Us page or feel free to drop us a line.