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Meet | James Bartle, Outland Denim

We’ll be catching up with a handful of members from across our industry community to see how they are navigating these unprecedented times. First up, James Bartle, Founding CEO of Outland Denim!

by The AFC

27 April 2020

AFC | Covid-19 Industry Profile Series

We’ll be catching up with a handful of members from across our industry community to see how they are navigating these unprecedented times. First up, James Bartle, Founding CEO of Outland Denim!



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James Bartle, Founding CEO, Outland Denim

Tell us about Outland Denim…

Outland Denim is the World’s most sustainable denim brand. We craft premium denim garments made with integrity and built to last. But our jeans do much more than just look and feel good. Each Outland Denim piece is made with the cleanest raw materials from across the globe, sourced with care by designers who are passionate about sustainability.

Our garments are constructed with expertise in our stand-alone cut and sew facility, where we offer fair, safe and fulfilling employment to our staff, some of whom have come from some of the most vulnerable and exploitative situations in the world today.

In our newly opened state-of-the-art washing facility, our wash Engineers put the finishing touches on our denim using industry leading sustainable washing techniques and technology.

We stand for true sustainability: social, environmental, and economic.


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What are some of the key challenges that you in your business, AND others in your industry community are facing around COVID-19? How are you navigating these?

We, like everyone, are navigating day-by-day the impact of COVID-19. We are pivoting our business model and processes to react to the challenges the virus poses. Currently, our priority is to the health and wellbeing of our teams in Cambodia and Australia. Staff are currently at home and we are following local government and World Health Organisation recommendations. However we are laying the foundations now for some changes, so that we can come out the other side stronger.

Firstly, we will be officially launching our newly branded Cambodian production facilities under the name Maeka and offering the opportunity for other brands to produce with our facilities. By offering the opportunity for other brands to produce using the socially, environmentally and economically sustainable facilities that Outland Denim has established and become known for, we can both grow our business and continue to stretch our impact.

We are expecting to double the length of lead times for our raw materials to arrive at our manufacturing facility, however thankfully we are not running low on our raw materials at the moment. We have provided education around protecting from COVID-19 and have temporarily suspended production at our Cut and Sew Facility, for the safety of our employees. We are monitoring the situation daily to ensure that we make the right decisions for the people we employ, and the company as whole.

We will also be shifting our seasonal offerings into a yearly 6 capsule cycle and expanding into new garment categories. These products will be available directly to the consumer as well as our wholesale clients. The new model will allow us to continue wholesale partnerships with stockists such as Nordstrom, David Jones, and Bloomingdales, despite the disruption COVID-19 has caused to the traditional fashion calendar. The shift will support retailers by offering a shorter lead time from design to delivery, minimise the risks associated with long lead forecasting, minimise dead stock, and offer newness to consumers with a considered, sustainable approach.


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What are some of the opportunities for our industry that you see coming out of this crisis?

COVID-19 has forced everyone to appreciate things they took for granted before. It has forced people to recognise the origins of the things they buy, who makes them, what impact the purchase has on the environment. As a brand who puts sustainability first we certainly see this increase in awareness as a silver lining. I think on the other side of this people will be much more considered in which businesses they support.

To us nothing demonstrates this more than what we have seen during our current equity crowdfunding campaign. In order to fund Maeka, our venture into manufacturing for other brands, we recently began equity crowdfunding and in doing so offered the opportunity to the public to become a part-owner in Outland Denim. These are incredibly challenging and frightening times, and yet we have seen expressions of interest in our equity crowdfunding campaign continue to rise because this is a business model people believe in and want to back.


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How will you be passing the time during social distancing?

I’m going to enjoy spending this time with my wife and daughters. I’m very grateful that my job let’s me see so much of the world, but I am looking forward to this extended time at home.

How can people find out more?

You can find Outland Denim online at www.outlanddenim.com.au or on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn with the handle @OutlandDenim.

You can learn more about our equity crowdfunding campaign by visiting our Birchal page - https://www.birchal.com/company/outlanddenim.  


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