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Sustainability and a made-to-order business model with Fella Swim


Fella Swim founders, Rosie Iffla and Christine Tang created Fella Swim out of a desire to fulfill the needs of simplistic, sophisticated swimwear crafted in high-quality fabrications with beautifully tailored patterns.

Founded in 2012, the Fella duo, Rosie Iffla and Christine Teng, knew from the get-go that sustainability was to be one of their focuses, long before it was even a thing. Crafting swimwear that offers support and functional design became part of the conception of their made-to-order business model. We discuss the idea of sustainability for Fella Swim and how a made-to-order business benefits the planet.

Words Tennille Ziegler | Visuals Fella Swim

What does sustainability mean to you?
I think for our brand, it means longevity. It means a conscious, holistic approach to the cycle of the product from start to finish. 

When did sustainability become a big focus for Fella and how did it evolve as the business grew?
Sustainability was definitely there at the beginning, but it’s something that has grown as we have grown as a business. We have always been made to order with a minimal waste model but now we are creating sustainable packaging such as biodegradable shipping bags and recycled swing tags.
This year we are also looking into becoming carbon neutral so we are able to offset the carbon emissions created when the products are made. This means all the way from when the fabric, accessories and packaging come to our factory, to when the product is made and sent out to customers.
Another way we’re looking into sustainability is by partnering with companies such as Worn For Good, that has sustainability and giving back at the core of its business model. We’re donating pieces of Fella Swim as a way of showing support to like minded businesses. 

How did the made to order business model come about and what was your intention behind it?
We have always had a made to order model. We are lucky enough to be the only label produced in the factory we work with in Bali so we have a lot of control over the manufacturing side. It began organically as orders that were placed (wholesales or online) were made, meaning every order was pre-purchased and no excess stock was left. It then grew from there. 

How do you find having a made-to-order business model benefits the current fashion landscape?
I believe that consumers today are a lot more conscious about their purchasing decisions because they want to be educated on the origins of the products they are buying. Supporting well made, local or low quantity manufacturing has become desirable. 

Looking optimistically, what would you like to see more of in the future for fashion (in regards to sustainability)?
I think we need to be doing more than just using sustainable fabrics which a lot of brands are doing. I think it needs to be a holistic approach which looks at every aspect of the business - from manufacturing, to packaging, to waste and beyond.