Accredited Brand Spotlight: Chamani from CHAMANI
This is a featured post written by a team member at CHAMANI, an Ethical Clothing Australia accredited brand.
My name is Chamani, and I am the founder and designer behind my namesake label, CHAMANI. Established in May 2021, the path to launching my label and the journey ever since has been one with many twists, turns, heartbreaks, tough lessons, and triumphs. I’ve gone from being a hospital pharmacist, to tour guide in South-East Asia, to side-hustling as a philanthropist and fashion designer while working as a frontline worker during a pandemic! It’s been one wild ride, but all these pivotal moments have led me to founding my label.
The inspiration for CHAMANI stems from my family, childhood and travels. 32 years ago, my parents migrated to Australia from a war-torn Sri-Lanka. They gave up all their aspirations and dreams, left behind their loved ones and the only home they ever knew, to brave the unknown and give us the best chance of a better life. However, like many in their situation, my parents faced unimaginable adversities as new migrants. I grew up watching them struggle to make ends meet, and stable job opportunities seemed few and far between for them as people of colour. My sister-in-law was also a refugee to Australia. After going through an unimaginable journey, she also speaks of the difficulties she and her family faced when starting a new life here.
”I’m incredibly proud to be able to give back and support people like my parents, my sister-in-law and the women and girls I met on my travels, through my business.Chamani Weerasekara
Over the three years that I was a tour guide in Asia, I met some amazing people and saw some incredible places, but it was also unimaginably eye-opening. I experienced the detrimental effects of the fashion industry first-hand. I saw the pollution it caused to waterways and the amount of landfill it created. I met people who had been mistreated and wronged by an industry that should be creating impactful, positive change with its power. I also saw the incredible disparity and lack of opportunities for women and girls in these countries. Had my parents not escaped to Australia, I realised I potentially would be living a similar life to these women and girls. I knew I wanted to be a part of the change and I knew I had to do something. I’m incredibly proud to be able to give back and support people like my parents, my sister-in-law and the women and girls I met on my travels, through my business.
Today, CHAMANI is a conscious luxury brand that fights for freedom, equality and opportunity for marginalised women, girls and communities through wearable art. We aim to create impact, using fashion as a force for good and a vehicle for change through a unique value-chain where we endeavour to give back at every stage of production. We are striving to be the change we wish to see in the world, harnessing the enormous power of the fashion industry to create a positive impact. We want to give people an alternative to current fashion options – an alternative that strives to do better in the fashion industry and challenge the status quo.
Why is ECA accreditation so important to us?
Consumers are becoming more conscious with their fashion purchases and want to align with brands that are doing good. Brands riddled with modern slavery in their supply chain are being called out and deemed socially unacceptable to wear. Especially since the pandemic, people are keen to shop locally and support brands that manufacture in Australia.
Having seen some of the awful, unethical conditions of those working in the fashion industry overseas and more shockingly hearing first-hand stories of those who have worked under unethical conditions here in Australia, it was really important to me to ensure everyone within our supply chain was treated with respect and dignity, paid a living wage and had safe working conditions.
”ECA accreditation is a lengthy, in-depth process done through an independent body that looks over our entire local supply chain with a fine-tooth comb to ensure everything is above board.Chamani Weerasekara
As consumers, we know that this information is incredibly hard to find. Supply chains are very murky so it can be really difficult to ensure you are not unknowingly supporting modern slavery or unethical manufacturing through your clothing purchases. ECA accreditation is a lengthy, in-depth process done through an independent body that looks over our entire local supply chain with a fine-tooth comb to ensure everything is above board.
We’re immensely proud of our value chain and so glad we can give our customers assurance that they are supporting local, ethically made clothing through our ECA accreditation.