Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Witjuti Bamboo Clothing Combines Comfort and Class

Happy 2014 EcoFashionistas! x

I wanted to kick off this sparkly new year of kindness with an exclusive interview with Sydney-based eco-designer Banika Smee.

Banika – Owner + Designer of Witjuti Bamboo Clothing – is determined to bring you sustainable bamboo fashion that effortlessly combines comfort and class with a uniquely Australian flavour. It was my pleasure to speak with Banika about her journey and the eco-ethos behind her brand. 

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about how Witjuti came to be and what drew you to bamboo as a fabric?

It was after working as an Operations Director/Graphic Designer for 10+ years, when I started to think about having kids. I knew I could not do a 50+ hour work week with kids. So I started to think about starting my own business.

I started the business doing Graphic Design but it was after I bought some Bamboo undies, that I fell in love with the fabric. It just felt so soft and didn’t irritate my skin. So I started researching, and could not find much clothing for women in this fabric, so it was then I started designing my own clothing range specialising in Bamboo fabric. 

Q. How would you describe Witjuti in 10 words or less?

Australian Designed, Organic, Ethical, Bamboo Clothing for Men & Women with every day comfort in mind.

Q. What makes your clothing a great choice for environmentally and socially conscious shoppers?

  • Bamboo is Eco-friendly The bamboo plant absorbs 35% more carbon dioxide than an equivalent tree and it does not use up precious water resources
  • Bamboo is Organic – Due to its natural antibacterial properties it is grown pesticide free, herbicide free, GMO free. The bamboo we use is also certified organic by The Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA), which means each bamboo stalk is 100 per cent natural and without any chemical pesticides
  • Bamboo is 100% Biodegradable so bamboo garments can be composted
  • Ethical Manufacturing - Our manufacturer's working conditions are ethically certified by Fair For Life

Q. Which ethical designers are inspiring you right now?

I am loving Lalesso at the moment, their colours and designs are inspired from Africa – a place I would love to go one day.

Q. Does the natural landscape of Australia influence your designs at all?

I keep my designs simple and timeless. My influence from Australia is mainly from the coast, I have always lived on the Northern beaches of Sydney, and travel up and down the coast on holidays. So initially my colour choices have been influence by the blues and sandy tones.

I name all my pieces after an Indigenous Australian word that has meaning and connection to that design for me. For example, our women’s lounge pants are call “Kalina” the Indigenous Australian word for “love”, because really I LOVE these pants.

Q. What advice would you give to other designers thinking of starting their own eco-friendly label?

Stick to your goals, focus on your dream and the rest will follow!

Q. Do you have a favourite item that you’ve created?

Would have to say the women’s lounge pants, I wear them everyday, either out, at home or to bed. They are the pants I get straight into when I get home, or I search the washing basket for!  

Q. What does the future hold for Witjuti?

Definitely more designs and more colours. We released the men’s range in July 2013 and it has been very popular, so we will be expanding the men’s range too.

We will also be available from more retail stores throughout Australia and Internationally.

You can also find Witjuti on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter! Stay tuned for our exclusive Kindness by Design review of one of these ecochic pieces :-)


  1. So nice to discover your blog!! I do love me some bamboo clothing!!

    1. Hi Alice! :) Thanks so much for dropping by - I'm thrilled you've discovered KBD :D
      I can't wait to learn more about Perch & Pantry!

      KB x

  2. While I love to see more designers and brands take an ethical and sustainable focus it is incorrect that this is organic bamboo clothing. While the bamboo may be grown organically the chemicals used in the process to turn it into a material make it non-organic. This is mislabelling and it needs to be corrected. The company needs to be made aware that they can be fined up to $1,100,000 for greenwashing under the Trade Practices Act.

    1. Hi Christopher - thanks for dropping by and for your comment!

      One of the things I really love about Witjuti is their transparency and commitment to
      continuous improvement in all aspects of their supply chain :) After further discussion with Witjuti they would like to assure you that they have followed all of their requirements and their range states on the label and on the website (on each and every item) that it is made using "95% Rayon/Viscose made from Bamboo”. Unlike those who are incorrectly labelling this fabric as “Made from Organic Bamboo”, not stating the process in which the fabric is made.

      They also state on their website that >> "Rayon is a regenerated cellulose fibre, which means that a natural raw material is converted through a chemical process into a fibre that falls into a category between naturals and synthetics”. The farm where the bamboo is grown is certified by the OCIA and the bamboo crops are certified by the USDA organic seal. Their website also explicitly states "The production of rayon/viscose from organic bamboo can be improved, and research is underway to improve the process" >> http://www.witjuti.com/about-bamboo-fabric/

      Best Wishes,