*This feature is not sponsored or paid for in any way by Chez Vita or any other invested party
The world of activewear and sports equipment is usually fraught with unsustainable practices and ethical problems. Looking at the big picture will show you that fast fashion, activewear included, is one of the biggest causes of pollution and waste in the world today. Thankfully, there are many brands, big and small, around the world that are working to change that. One such brand is Australia-based Chez Vita.
With a mission to build a brand that benefits the health of both people and the planet, Chez Vita doesn't only offer activewear and exercise equipment, but also free yoga and meditation classes. Focused on the goal of building an "authentic, grounded label that promotes slow fashion and sustainability," the brand offers a small but well curated collection of quality items that are made to last years.
We had a chat with the brand's founder, Cheryl, to learn more about the brand and what it stands for. Here's what we know.
Chez Vita is wholly owned and operated by Scottish eco-conscious yoga and meditation teacher Cheryl Lyle. It is a small, independent business and has no parent company.
INGREDIENTS & RAW MATERIALS
Chez Vita's fitness mats and blocks are made of cork instead of the more common chemical-heavy PVC. Cork is a natural material from the Cork Oak Tree which is 100% recyclable and biodegradable. It's also renewable as the method for procuring cork does not involve destroying the tree it comes from. All it requires is shaving bark off the tree. This process encourages the tree to replace said bark, thus allowing it to absorb more CO2 and creating more bark for future use.
All Chez Vita products are also cruelty-free and vegan (independent certifications are pending and we will update this post when the brand is awarded the certifications).
All fabrics used in the Chez Vita collections are certified Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex, which "consists of 18 independent research and test institutes in the field of textile and leather ecology in Europe and Japan with contact offices in more than 60 countries." They test fabrics and regulate harmful substances in said fabrics.
Chez Vita uses custom made polyester/spandex blend fabric that fulfil the requirements of the REACH fabric quality test. They also use GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified organic cotton from suppliers that support the Better Cotton Initiative - a movement that aims to make global cotton production better for those who produce it, the environment, and the future of the industry.
SOURCING & PRODUCTION
According to founder Cheryl, all Chez Vita products are ethically and sustainably sourced from suppliers close to the brand's manufacturers. She says it's important to her that Chez Vita products are made sustainably which is why she "work(s) closely with suppliers to ensure full transparency and control with my supply chain." She stresses that Chez Vita is not a fast fashion brand. The brand offers great quality products that can last for a long time.
All Chez Vita products are manufactured in Australia or in southwest and eastern China (Zhejiang and Sichuan) "where living standards are high and continually increasing." Their overseas suppliers hold documented certifications on quality, safety, ethics, and economic efficiency from audits done by TÜV Rheinland, a global independent test provider that tests "technical systems, products, and services and supports projects and design processes for companies on the basis of recognised standards as well as statutory requirements."
Their products made overseas are then shipped via sea freight, which, despite being a slower form of transport, produces less carbon vs air freight.
Chez Vita sources raw materials from both Australia and overseas, and all their suppliers work in accordance with the Business Social Compliance Initiative code of conduct.
PACKAGING & RECYCLING OPTIONS
Chez Vita's packaging is 100% sustainable. Their clothing is wrapped in recycled kraft paper and sent out in compostable mailers. Their mats and blocks are sent out in recycled cardboard boxes. Their goal is to be completely plastic free in 2021.
When asked about a recycling program, founder Cheryl has said that the brand currently does not have one but it's "certainly something I would love to incorporate in the future as the business expands."
GIVING BACK & ADVOCACY
Chez Vita has pledged to donate 1% of every sale to Greening Australia, an environmental organisation working hard to protect, restore and conserve Australia’s native vegetation and reefs.
DIVERSITY & INCLUSIVITY
Currently, Chez Vita is operated by owner Cheryl. In future, she hopes to "have like-minded individuals work alongside me at Chez Vita, creating an inclusive workforce."
It's about time we all take some baby steps away from fast fashion and Chez VIta is encouraging all of us to do that - starting with our activewear. So, whether you are looking to switch out your fast fashion activewear for something classic or wanting to buy earth-friendly equipment to supplement your workouts, Chez Vita is worth a look. Check out their Classic Black collection and fun Pastel activewear, and their Classic White Tees and sustainable Cork Workout Equipment. With the classic style and understated branding, we think there just might be something in their catalogue for you.
Chez Vita is available in worldwide through their website.