The Ethical Fashion Brand That Has Become My Second Skin
In 2016, I backed a kickstarter for a new ethical fashion brand. I pledged my money to a kimono (pictured below) that made me super excited to see that ethical fashion wasn’t just drab colours and monotones.
In keeping with how kickstarters work, if the brand met their goal, the Kimono would be mine. I waited patiently as the kickstarter came to a close… the target was met and the kimono was mine!!
Fast forward 2.5 years… As I write this blog I am wearing TAMGA Design’s fourth official collection, I consider the founders good friends of mine, TAMGA Designs have been stocked in a local store near me, and I am still as pumped for each collection as I was about that Lia Kimono!
TAMGA Designs are one of the original brands I worked with in my ‘blogging-life’. Heck, they were one of my first proper ethical-fashion purchases.
I’ve held a strong connection with TAMGA Designs from day one, and I am so excited to finally share more about them, plus some images I worked on with Nectar Photography to capture TAMGA Designs’ new Tropika Collection.
TAMGA Designs is run by power couple: Eric & Yana. They’re the type of people you meet (well, I have yet to meet them in person!) and instantly admire. They are some of the most hardworking, easy going, creative, business-minded, caring, powerful, and compassionate people I know. I also have this feeling that if we lived in the same city… we’d drink kombucha and make homemade pizzas all day.
Eric & Yana grew TAMGA Designs after their experience living in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2014 (so, technically TAMGA Designs started in 2014). At the time, they were working for the UN and the NGO sector with an ambition to change the world. Eric & Yana arrived shortly after the Rana Plaza garment factory had collapsed, claiming over a thousand lives, all in the name of fast fashion. The injustice, and their role in it as consumers of these brands, became very clear. From then on, they began their TAMGA Designs mission:
We believe in better fashion for a brighter future.
There are a few reasons why TAMGA Designs float my boat…
TAMGA garments are designed with the help of their very talented head designer, Anna. It’s not only the styles they create… each fabric is hand-drawn! They design each garment in a free-flowing, bohemian kinda way. Of course there’s always a time and place for mute block colours, but I believe life’s too short not to be colourful! They’ve completely embodied the inner free spirit of travellers, adventures, and dreamers.
I’m about to sound full of cheese, but when I wear TAMGA, it’s as if my inner personality can finally be shared on the outside.
Just like all garments, there are many hands involved in the making of a TAMGA piece.
“We traveled for months knocking on doors and cold calling fabric mills and sewing factories. We did it the hard way so we can stand behind the quality and impact of every single TAMGA garment.”
TAMGA pride themselves on treating every person in their supply chain with the respect and value they deserve. They spend a lot of time at the actual factories, making sure everything runs smoothly and all standards are continuously upheld: no matter what.
The TAMGA team visit Bali regularly, checking in on their sewing factory. The makers in Bali are paid above a minimum wage, given health insurance, food onsite, and childcare for those who require it.
TAMGA want the wearers to know who made their clothes, and list each group involved in the making of a garment in the ‘Our Makers’ page (pictured below).
Forest Friendly Fashion
“We believe that ancient and endangered forests have no place in our closet, that’s why we only source sustainable wood-cellulose fibres. We do this by using forest fibres that are FSC certified, such as TENCEL® and Lenzing Modal® for our women’s basics range, and micro-TENCEL® in our signature prints and Little TAMGA collections. These amazing Lenzing fibres are not only forest-friendly, but they are also processed in a closed-loop system where 99.8% of the water and solvents are recycled in a closed loop system.”
The fabric is one of the most alluring parts about TAMGA garments. It’s soft, flowy, breathable, easy to wash, and at the end of the garment’s life cycle (I don’t think that will happen… I’ll pass these down to my grandkids!), the garment can biodegrade too. Never in my life have I had to iron my TAMGA or thought it needed it, and the style of each garment means I can go bra free- that’s an ultimate win for me.
NOTE: Because of the thin and flowy fabric, I have had to repair my TAMGA at the seams a handful of times. It’s a reflection of how much I wear my pieces, but be cautious about sewing up any little pulls immediately, so they don’t get any bigger. I guess the same goes with any garment! But please look after your TAMGA.
We know the TAMGA mission and what they do, but I wanted to know more about the nitty gritty behind running an ethical fashion company.
I asked Eric & Yana a few questions…
What is one thing you wish you new at the start of your TAMGA journey?
Oh man, I seriously feel like we knew NOTHING at the start of building TAMGA. We learned on our feet in everything from building an ethical supply chain to managing production, sourcing materials and marketing our brand. To be honest, learning everything from the ground up has allowed us to do things our own way. So to answer your question there’s nothing we wish we knew at the start, the learning has been everything!
The biggest challenge of running an ethical fashion company?
I think one of the biggest challenges is the widespread ‘green-washing’ that is happening in the fashion industry. Some large brands are putting more money into marketing their “eco” or “sustainable” product lines than actually improving their impact. This really muddies the waters for consumers and creates a lot of confusion. For example, a company who commits to better cotton sourcing by 2020 is being described using the same terms as a company who is socially and environmentally sustainable in every area of the their business. This vagueness in the ‘ethical' fashion industry can be disorienting for consumers, and can make it difficult for the good guys to stand out.
If someone were to describe TAMGA in 3 words, what would they be?
Authentic, colourful and unique…. (you can see why I love TAMGA as I live life through these words too!)
TAMGA feels like my second skin.
I will forever pack TAMGA in my travel bag (because I don’t have to iron it and it’s so light!), wear it to special occasions, daily around the house, beach, parties, and everything in between. Their swing tags are made from sustainable materials, the garments are sent in biodegradable bags, and 1% of all annual sales are donated to the Sumatran Orangutan Society (S.O.S.) and Orangutan Information Centre (OIC). TAMGA have thought of everything, and for this reason, they have my 100% full support now and going into the future.
Shop TAMGA Designs ethical fashion collection here.
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As a rule, I only work with brands I love, use, and can whole heartedly back. I send the brand a large list of questions to answer first, and trial the product properly before saying yes to anything. This is a sponsored blog (I can't pay my electricity bill with free products), but 100% my own words, photos, and opinion.