Your next new pair of jeans comes with an inspirational backstory.
Outland Denim, a premium Australian denim brand, has arrived in Canada.
Not only does the label offer super comfortable, stylish denim that doesn’t break the bank (too much) in comparison to others (the jeans cost around $235 CAD), the company rescues women from human trafficking and exploitation, transforming their lives in the process.
The vision for Outland Denim started back in 2008, when the brand’s founder, James Bartle, attended a screening of the Liam Neeson film, Taken. As you may recall, the (terrifying) film tells the story of a former CIA agent whose teenaged daughter is taken captive by human traffickers in Eastern Europe. Later, in 2011, an encounter with an anti-human trafficking organization at a music festival in Australia resulted in a subsequent trip to Thailand and Cambodia that allowed Bartle to see first-hand how human traffickers prey on young vulnerable girls – many who see no other option – to service the elicit $99 billion sex industry. On his travels, Bartle learned of a girl who had been rescued and supported in her reintegration into society with a sustainable career path to secure her future.
Bartle’s awaking inspired the creation of the “Denim Project,” an initiative that would allow young girls who expressed an interest in sewing the chance to put their new skills to use. “I’ve always lived in jeans. If you were going to produce anything, why wouldn’t you produce the most staple part of a person’s wardrobe? Jeans aren’t a throw-away item, but something you keep for years,” says Bartle.
But these aren’t just any pair of jeans. Naturally, you need a quality product to compete in the global denim marketplace. Created for longevity, the jeans are designed around the classics and available in styles that are contemporary, durable, and versatile. The premium quality of the denim reflects the dedicated skills acquisition, and the restored dignity and sense of purpose of the workers.
After a steep learning curve that came from picking up the highly specialized craft from scratch, Outland Denim’s magic making takes place in a clean, bright training and production facility in Kampong Cham, Cambodia. More than just a workplace, Outland Denim overseas the holistic care of its staff by ensuring a living wage, training, and personal development initiatives.
Unlike a typical production house, where workers are usually confined to a single, monotonous task, the seamstresses at the Outland Denim factory are schooled in using all manner of machinery, from the over-looker, to the single-needle machine and bar tack. Each worker subsequently gains an appreciation for how the whole product comes together.
The company sources raw materials from around the world, aligning with suppliers who meet a strict criteria for superior organic, recycled, and responsible materials. Outland has quickly getting recognized for their sustainable model: the brand was the only company to receive A+ ratings across all categories of the 2018 Ethical Fashion Report, published by Baptist World Aid Australia.
Outland Denim is currently available at Holt Renfrew and Harry Rosen.