First Base is the Bondi-born fitness label that was created to mimic the well-fit lifestyle the beach suburb radiates.
Stripped-back pieces made with lightweight, ethically produced fabrics create workout pieces that focus on only what you need for studio sweat to street prowl.
Health Bird spoke to creator Ali Cotton about the impact her designs are having in the athleisure market. First Base, thanks to Ali, is changing the way we make clothes by implementing ethical and sustainable practices, taking responsibility for the cost of fashion and doing something tangible that contributes to reducing the carbon footprint and reducing the amount of toxins manufacturing add to our environment.
When did the idea for First Base come about and was it always pegged to be made sustainably?
The concept for the brand evolved from wanting to create something that was inline with my own personal style, which is typically relaxed and minimalist with a sports flavour. After two years we naturally progressed into high performance activewear to compliment our main line basics sports product and my ever growing active lifestyle. Being sustainable was not on my radar when I started the brand, that notion came about as we grew and established ourselves and I was able to have some mental space to ask the question, ‘How can we give back?’. We started the journey into sustainability and ethical production almost 12 months ago and it’s been extremely eye opening.
How do toxins in cotton and other fabrics affect the environment and our bodies?
This varies widely depending on a lot of factors but the chemical impact from fabric production on the environment can translate to human consumption in so many indirect ways its frightening. One of the most common ways is through the dying and treating of fabric. These dyes and chemicals, if not properly handled, run into our water systems and indirectly pollute the ground water table which in turn effects soil quality, the quality of our crops, as well as the natural habitat for organisms on and off the land.
What are some of the ethical practices your company puts into practice?
We ensure that all factories that we work with have ‘the wrap certification’. This certification is received through an independent audit of each factory and means that things like reasonable working hours, safe working conditions and reasonable wages are adhered to. Essentially the wrap certification enforces the basic working right and conditions that you or I would expect.
The market for athleisure is saturated! How have you built the First Base fan base.
We have grown in a really organic way. We haven’t done any one specific thing to build our following, it’s really about connecting with like minded people. We try to keep our message really honest and real and our voice in social media is very much that of myself and my staff.
What are three pieces from the range you simply can’t live without?
Our essential First Base leggings, the First Base oversized jumper and our simple white crew neck tee. That’s pretty much my uniform!