“We are a salty, bare-footed, alternative surf / travel inspired clothing brand, specialising in original hand-drawn and hand-printed designs.”
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Pure was established in 2013 out of the famous port city of Fremantle. Freo (as the area is affectionately referred to) has a rich history of maritime endeavour. It’s as if each breath of salty Southern Ocean air draws you closer to the surf, inspiring you to “jump aboard” and travel the seven seas.
That’s exactly what talented illustrator, designer, and founder of Pure, Matt Adams did! Matt embodies the classic globe wandering Aussie surfer, travelling the world in search of perfect waves, while maintaining healthy and well-established roots at home.
Pure Apparel was Matt’s opportunity to free himself from the 9-5 grind, pursuing a vocation that aligned with his free-spirited ethos, and his love of the beach and surf.
Over the past decade the Pure family has grown as the brand has gained traction, however the company mission statement remains as solid as it is profound:
“While keeping a good life/work balance, we are dedicated to providing you with unique, one-of-a-kind gear, hand-printed by us and made from long-lasting, quality, planet-friendly materials.”
Every Pure garment is adorned with an original and hand-drawn design which Matt and the team individually handprint at their workshop, using eco-friendly and durable inks. Waste is greatly reduced with what Pure call “Real Time Printing”, where each item of clothing is printed to order, ensuring that only the appropriate amount of resources are used.
All cotton materials are consciously sourced, using local product as much as possible. Australian Cotton is leading the way in terms of eco credentials in 2022, with water consumption being halved compared to other international cottons. It is also brilliant to see that Australian production has recently enjoyed a 90% reduction in herbicides and pesticides.
Testament to the above is that Pure Apparel are pleased to announce that all their suppliers have recently joined “Better Cotton”, becoming an important part of the organisations 2030 Strategy. Better Cotton are committed to implementing real “field-level” change by the end of the decade.
“Alongside our 2030 Strategy, we are proud to launch our first ever Climate Change Mitigation Target. By 2030, we aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions per tonne of Better Cotton produced by 50%.”
Alan McClay, CEO, Better Cotton
Sustainable Processes and Manufacture
The guys at Pure Apparel make sure their standards are set at the highest level when it comes to the manufacture of all their garments.
Pure uses a unique and ethical supplier who sources their garments from overseas. Their long term goal is to sell Australian cotton, made in factories in Australia but until such time the brand is focussed on a relationship with AS Colour.
AS Colour abide to a strict Code of Conduct for every single one of their supplies which includes Fair Trade agreements, no child- labor and ethical work places for everyone producing these garments. They are also a part of a number of incredible organisations which seek to improve the ethical and environmental production of cotton.
OEKO-TEX Certification for all suppliers means that Pure Apparel can pass over your beautiful piece of clothing, confident that zero harmful toxins have been used in the dyeing process.
Tree for a Tee
In Summer 2021 Pure Apparel launched their awesome “Tree For A Tee” campaign, in conjunction with One Tree Planted.
Trees help clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink, and provide essential habitat to over 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. Forests provide jobs to over 1.6 billion people, absorb harmful carbon from the atmosphere, and are key ingredients in 25% of all medicines.
Since establishing the “Tree for a Tee” initiative, well over 2000 trees have been planted on behalf of Pure Apparel!
Carbon Neutral Shipping and Packaging
Every single package sent out by Pure Apparel since 2019 is certified as Carbon Neutral. The company purchases carbon credits which are used to offset the environmental impact of each delivery. The credits are used to support mostly Australian based projects.
They are constantly researching packaging materials and recently trialled a bio-degradable bag to send out garments. Matt and the team acknowledge that this is a tough nut to crack and are still on the hunt for the most earth and user-friendly packaging. If you know of any brilliant alternatives please drop them a line, they will be stoked to hear from you!
Interview with Matt Adams – Founder of Pure Apparel
Hi Matt, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today. How’s life in beautiful Western Australia just now?
Yeah, no complaints! We are making the most out of the last remaining Summer days over here and trying to get out in the sunshine and ocean as much as possible.
Have you been getting a few waves?
Yeah, a few up Trigg / Scarborough way, the waves are pretty small at the moment but a small wave is better than no wave!
Can you tell us a little bit about what inspired you to start Pure Apparel?
I have always sketched and drawn. My partner Faye and I were recently at my folks clearing out some boxes from when I lived with them and they’re just full of artwork, a lot of which isn’t too far off the style that I still use.
As most artists, I was encouraged to turn my talents into a vocation which for me ended up being graphic design which I studied at TAFE in Perth.
The skills I learnt here were so helpful, but as I started a career as a graphic designer for big businesses I just felt the joy and freedom I’d felt designing and creating in my youth be slowly sucked out of me!!
I ended up starting Pure as a side hustle, buying a small printing press and designing and printing tees me and my mates would wear. Slowly a few more people saw them and wanted one and I decided to turn it into a business.
It’s taken years and years to get it to where it is now, think it’s nearly 10 years now since I first started but growing it organically and listening to our customers – some of which have been buying from us since the beginning has helped Pure stay relevant and continue to produce gear that people love.
At Surfd we love the hand-drawn element of your garments. Do you draw with the intention of create a tee-shirt design, or do you find that your general artwork organically translates to cool tee prints?
I draw inspiration from everything, travels, conversations, trending reels on Instagram, wild thoughts that come to me when in the surf and add them to a note on my iphone.
When it comes to getting a new range ready, I’ll always refer to this and draw heavily from it to inspire my artwork which I’ll usually sit down and get in the zone with for a week or so.
Over the last 12-18 months every time I’m in a designing mode, I’ll often post pics of designs I’m sketching up and working on to our Insta and see what our audience prefers. Getting them involved in the designing has been really fun and super insightful!
I’m a huge fan of the Island Life Tee, which design do you find yourself mostly wearing when you’re kicking back in the van after a surf?
My wardrobe is pretty much exclusively Pure tees!! Faye will sometimes throw in something that’s not Pure, but it doesn’t often get worn.
I love the fit and style of the tees and longsleeves we produce and will wear all sorts of designs. Found one with a sketch of a captain on it recently from about 7 years ago that’s still holding up great.
We want our tees to last as long as possible, a life-time even – as it means that people can buy less of them. Think you’ve mentioned this above, but we do this by ensuring pretty much all our tees are screen-printed so the designs stay looking great no matter how much you wash them.
As an artist, where, what, or who do you draw inspiration from?
Literally everything! I try to live the life that I promote and we will always be making time for surfing (when there’s waves I’m there!) and getting away in the bus and with the dogs.
A lot of my inspirations comes when I am outside of my head and just enjoying myself and this amazing country we live in.
More recently, we’ve been doing ranges around specific topics which are important to us – we launched an All Together Now range a few weeks ago to raise money for the guys over East affected by the floods and in the next few weeks I am looking a launching a range centred on mental health, which is important to me.
How important is it that Pure Apparal maintains its stance of sustainability?
It’s really important and a topic Faye and I are always coming back to.
Faye was a Carbon Literacy Trainer in the UK and actually worked with businesses to help reduce their carbon impact. She’d previously worked with clients in the fashion industry, so has been able to offer a heap of knowledge for Pure on ways that we can reduce our carbon footprint and to actually look at the full life-cycle of our tees.
We love the garments we’re using at the moment and are pleased to say that they take the ethical side of production extremely seriously, but producing anything is going to have some environmental impact especially when you add in shipping and the actual wear and tear of the products (we found out that a big portion of the carbon footprint of a tees life-cycle happens at home, with all the washing/drying – more info on our website).
We recently teamed up with One Tree Planted to start addressing some of the carbon impact our business has and now plant trees every time anyone orders.
We are always so open to new ideas and ways that we can reduce our impact further and would love to be at a stage at some point where we could actually be carbon positive as a business – we will get there!
Do you think we will ever see a time where the surf industry becomes truly sustainable?
With surf fashion and retail, I’d like to think so. It does ultimately come down to the consumers too, supporting businesses and individuals who take their environment impact seriously.
What’s next for Pure Apparel? Any exciting news on the horizon?
We’re currently in the process of renovating a new van that we’ve just purchased so we can do a few more markets and give a few more locals in the area more work.
We’re also planning a trip back to Europe in a few months to see some of Faye’s family and we’re hoping to get over to Portugal again to catch some waves and more inspiration for our Summer 2022 ranges.
Matt, thanks again for spending a bit of time with us, any final comments for our readers?
Just a thanks to you really, for reaching out, but also for giving a shit about the planet and actually doing something about it! A lot of the time we have choices, but don’t always know what they are – raising awareness of smaller businesses who are doing their best to be more sustainable is great for us and great for the planet.