On trend - the importance of sustainable homewares

As part of the evolution of Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) Australia’s Creative Industries program last year, PTI Australia partnered with Real Impact to revolutionise how the skills of artisans from the Pacific Islands are brought into the Australian market. The partnership is working to build a pathway for the Pacific Islands’ informal ‘artistic’ economies and the artisans behind them, to generate sustainable income through a meaningful, viable and export-ready creative industry.

Over the past year, Real Impact has invested considerable time working with artisans and communities across the Pacific Islands as they assist them to rethink the value chain from purely just an art or cultural item, to an economic product. Real Impact provides them with an understanding of their production capacity and pricing; it’s one thing to have the skills, but there’s a different level of insight and systems required to ensure you have the right product, at the right price, in the right market, to create a sustainable income.

The outcome of this work is Considered by Real – an inspiring collection of contemporary handcrafted homewares with a social conscience. The evolving collection is now over a year old and had its second showing at Australia’s Life Instyle, retail trade show. Feedback and export sales show there is real market interest, and when Vogue Living comes knocking on your door for a chat, it confirms that aesthetically the Considered by Real collection is on the right path, read their full article reprinted with Vogue Livings permission below:

Vogue Living chats to Real Impact’s Virginia Bruce about the importance of buying ethically

When it comes to choosing the products you wish to outfit your home in, does sustainability cross your mind? Sure, the quality of the piece and knowing where it’s been made is often of high priority, but how sustainable is the product really?

“I would like to see that all products, homewares, fashion all created in an ethical way, it should not be a ‘nice to have’ but just the way it is. Design and lifestyle should not have to be compromised, we believe that all it takes is a considered approach to how products are produced,” CEO and co-founder of Real Impact, Virginia Bruce tells Vogue Living.

Real Impact, who work with Pacific island communities to bring their artisan work to Australia and other markets, prove being sustainable doesn’t just have to mean reusable — although their natural-fibre products fit that mould, too — but rather looks at sustainability from a firstly human point of view. Consumers helping communities, one might say.

“The women come from different villages and communities in Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Papua New Guinea. Traditional artisan skills are part of their daily life, and most of this work is done by women, but because they have small populations and are isolated, it’s really difficult for them to get access to a market. We work with them on design, production quality and their marketing, the more we can sell for them, the more their household income will grow — probably the number one impact for them is in the way they can educate their children,” Bruce says.

“Our vision is to help create these high impact supply chains, by developing a viable, equitable and sustainable ecosystem that both consumers, retailers and brands can take advantage of. More and more people are looking for ways that support our planet and the people who live on it, we are just trying to help create a platform that is easier to access.”

With a range of furniture that fits the mould for so many 2018 trends (think, the rise of natural materials and preferences towards fresh, light colourways), the brand’s recent collections give a lesson in laid-back accessorising.