We design with the end in mind. Read on for part 2 of our Afterlife Mini-Series.


Afterlife 2 – Compost
Courtney Holm

Hello and welcome to part 2 of our mini series on garment afterlife! If you missed Part 1, check it out here. In a nutshell, we're studying five afterlife scenarios for clothing (and not one of them is landfill - hurrah). Using A.BCH garments as case studies, we'll emphasise the great need for all clothes to be designed with the end in mind, and what you can look for (ahem, demand) in your pieces going forward. Sure, A.BCH has you covered HERE, but what about all the other clothes out THERE?

We are going to take a look into a few "more permanent" afterlives than what we presented in our first case study. Starting with one of our favourites (because it's magic), compost. 

Afterlife Case Study 2 – Compost

Preamble: Compostable? Biodegradable? What's the difference? Why is it so confusing? Things are considered compostable when they break down into nutrients (as opposed to just disappearing or breaking up into smaller pieces) in certain temperatures and environments, within a specific amount of time. Some garments will lend themselves to composting better than others, and results will depend on the conditions in which the composting is taking place. We'll go deeper into biodegradation in our next post.

Quite simply our un-dyed garments are a great example of an ideal garment to compost (either at home or commercially). While you can technically compost most of our garments, the un-dyed ones will remain the most nutritious and safe for soils once degraded. While we'd recommend that you send the piece back to us so we can asses it for further uses before heading for the scissors and bokashi, we understand that some of you live super remotely, or you know for a fact the piece is done for and you have a healthy, hungry compost pile or worm farm wriggling and ready to go.

For this case study we'll turn our attention to the A.24 Flannel Shirt- a GMO, chemical and whitener free piece that combines un-dyed GOTS certified fabrics, threads and buttons to make one healthy salad of a shirt. It's also very kind on sensitive skin that might be irritated by traces of synthetics, bleach or dye. Full disclosure, we have a mild obsession with the natural beauty of un-dyed materials, and you can filter our products in our shop page to only show you un-dyed A.BCH pieces, a collection that's only growing stronger.

Undyed Shirt on Woman, holding collar

Compostable, biodegradable, degradable? What's the difference?

Birth ➝ The Undyed Flannel Cotton T-shirt was conceived on an organic farm in Izmir in the Aegean region in Turkey. Untouched by chemicals from harvest to spinning to weaving, it’s a minimal intervention approach (like anti-vaxing, but not). The GOTS certified fabric was shipped to Australia for cutting and sewing, complete with un-dyed GOTS binding and sewing threads from India and un-dyed corozo nut buttons from Panama.

Life ➝ The highest quality materials and detailed tailoring makes repairing and caring for this shirt about as breezy as the fabric itself (especially when you have us on your side to help). It’s the perfect canvas for a natural dye treatment - think turmeric or beetroot, or a block print to cover a questionable stain, extending its use beyond the original lifecycle projection. 

Afterlife ➝ Completely compostable at home (provided you’ve got the bins for it), this shirt should transform into worm food or healthy compost in a matter of weeks, temperature and environment dependent. Ensure it is clean, snip out of A.BCH brand label, then cut it up into small pieces and mix into your usual compost system. Commercial systems will have even quicker results.

A.24 undyed flannel shirt on woman full length and close up

Shop the A.24 Undyed Flannel Shirt (oh, what's that checkered masterpiece, you ask? Why it's our dreamy A.25 skirt). Stay tuned for the next afterlife case study, Biodegrade.