Why buying sustainable homewares is the logical future of design
VL 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-fibred 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.
For Bruce, her picks hail from the Solomon Islands, but she also notes the brand’s bags from the Futuna Islands as another favourite. “I love the products that have come from the Solomon Islands, in particular the cane lounge and also the cushions that were woven by the Renbell Weavers in Honiara,” she says.
“Styling should be relaxed – the cane chair is a perfect chair for outdoors, or even in the corner of a bedroom. I think the Vanuatu lights would be great feature piece in the kitchen. The Pentecost woven bags from Vanuatu are wonderful as indoor planters, or even for towels in the bathroom or outside by the pool,” she says of styling the pieces.
Sustainable style? We’re sold.