HAB Australia is an emerging casual wear label ideally suited to the Australian lifestyle. It’s a label that sustainability enthusiasts and climate change activists will love, as it’s made from Hemp. On the anniversary of its launch, we spoke to HAB’s founder, keen surfer and environmentalist Felipe Nunes about how and why he started hemp clothing label HAB.
How did it all start?
The COVID lockdowns had such a positive impact on our planet’s health that it sparked the idea to do something to change our habits. I had always been interested in hemp and the benefits of its use and with time to do more research the idea came to start a sustainable hemp clothing brand. In doing so we could show people that everyone can do their bit to change how we live to be kinder to the planet. After 2 years of planning and preparing, we launched HAB on 15 May 2022 “to show people we can change our HABits.”
Tell us about your supply chain.
We have two different suppliers of sustainable fabric. We source a 55% hemp, 45% organic cotton through a certified ethical supplier in China. We also have a mix of 15% hemp and 85% organic cotton and linen fabric sourced in Brazil. All our fabrics are certified organic and ethically sourced to be as sustainable and planet responsible as possible. They are coloured with natural dyes. We will only use blends of hemp, organic cotton, linen and bamboo, as these are the most sustainable fibres available.
Our 2023 mini collection of tshirts and shorts were designed, hand made and hand silk screen printed with non-chemical ink in Brazil. This process limits the use of chemicals and powered equipment.
We would love to produce everything here in Australia and support our local economy. Unfortunately it’s hard to find local manufacturers to make our unique products so our clothes are hand made in Brazil.
What’s the purpose of your hemp clothing brand?
The purpose of HAB is to show to everyone that we can make a difference by our choices.
Hemp is an ancient plant that has been around for 4000-5000 years. It is renewable, uses less water and land, making it a sustainable choice. It lasts longer and is a natural fibre that wears and breathes well, and is durable. HAB came to the world to show to people we can slow down fast fashion and reduce our impact on mother earth while still looking good and wearing great clothes.
As a South American (Brazil), I know that we have huge problem, particularly in Chile from the fast fashion industry. Big brands use the Atacama Desert to dump around 59,000 tonnes of clothing, mostly plastic and non biodegradable synthetic fibres, each year. It’s creating irreversible problems for our planet.
HAB exists to slow down the fast fashion industry and show people that it is possible to consume without hurting mother earth.
How would you describe the HAB aesthetic?
HAB is an urban/street wear brand that is for people who want to look great getting around town and feel good about their choices. It’s for active people who enjoy mother nature, are concerned about our environment and climate change and want to do their part to give back to the planet. We’ve found a lot of people from the surf community are drawn to our brand. Surfers are extremely ocean and planet conscious, and our ethos works for them.
Every one of our products is unisex and suitable for any and every body.
Our clothing is casual and based on an active lifestyle of surfing, skating, bushwalking and nature. Combining comfort, activity and leisure with a relaxed style HAB wearers can go from bushwalking to the beach and straight to their local micro-brewery to catch up with friends over a cold one.
Can you outline the HAB range?
There are three. The Basic collection is exactly that, simple and in black and white and available all year round. It features our sunset t-shirt. The first ever product made, it’s been a success and is our most popular product.
Seasonal minimalism collections are created to be in sync with what’s important each season. The 2023 collection was created, designed and made with the intention to be as minimal as possible, using the least resources to promote more sustainability and great living and last for longer. It’s a great range for urban/beach wear. Seasonal collections for winter and summer with different designs will be a feature of our brand with limited editions.
The Higher Road collection was our first collection, and contains a message that we promote the idea of higher living, by making better choices and ‘taking the higher road’. This collection’s aim is to start us on the journey to create a better environment for all with style, comfort and sustainable materials.
Our clothing is created and made by hand and we are always searching for more environmentally conscious options. The tree of life was especially created with the important message that we need to save our trees to have more blue skies and less impact on mother nature.
Has it been hard to launch a sustainable hemp clothing range?
One of our biggest challenges for HAB now is to find a sustainable hemp fabric supplier and clothing manufacturer in Australia that has sustainable practices.
Unfortunately Australian government regulations have hindered the hemp industry in Australia. This has been a big issue for us, as we are forced to source overseas, which is not our preference. China is considered the birthplace of hemp and produces the largest amount of commercial hemp annually.
Once our followers discover us they have been returning again and again. We hope that every planet conscious reader out there gets on board and helps us by spreading the word and encouraging your friends, family and peers to change their HABits too, and follow us. Changing the planet starts with small things, and we are a small company with big dreams to make a positive change. Our message is clear, and we hope everyone will join in and hear it echo!