Our Story

We make base layers, comfortable. Crafted from our signature blend of bamboo and spandex, our base layer range not only feels good, it's made sustainably. 

From our choice of fabrics, commitment to zero plastic and products designed to last we believe sustainability encompasses the whole lifecycle of a business.

Hi, I’m Anna and I created O2wear back in 2011, we’re based in Adelaide Australia.

How it started

The O2wear journey began in the winter of 2010 with my own futile search for an everyday base layer. I just couldn't find something that ticked all the boxes, though I’ll admit my search criteria was pretty long! I was looking for a thermal that wasn’t itchy, didn’t get smelly and was soft and comfy to wear. It needed to be insulating for warmth, but not add extra bulk when layered. I also wanted something that looked good even if it wasn’t going to be seen much, and with all this in mind, it was slim pickings :)

I began research in to manufacturing my own range and as I learnt more about the process and the fashion industry as a whole, I realised I wanted to work with sustainable materials. This narrowed the search somewhat and led me to bamboo fabric. It ticked many of the boxes when it came to the qualities I was looking for in a fabric – breathable, light-weight, moisture wicking, suitable for sensitive skin and eczema suffers, feels and looks good, but importantly it’s a relatively sustainable option. Bamboo is actually a grass, it’s a self-regenerating crop that requires little in the way of water or pesticides to grow, reducing its ecological footprint. (If you’re interested to learn more, head here).

So with some savings in the bank and a bit of blind optimism I launched my very first ‘range’ of bamboo base layers, just 2 styles – leggings and camisole singlets! Slowly but surely O2wear developed some amazingly loyal customers who are still following along to this day and the collection has expanded and grown over time.  O2wear now has a comprehensive range of bamboo base layer thermals, ranging from tank tops and leggings right through to our latest addition the turtle neck skivvy. In 2020 I also launched O2wear Travel, a range of organisational accessories, think packing cubes and toiletry bags (in what was possibly the worst timing in history #covid). While it’s a step away from clothing it is designed to complement our existing range for women, with accessories for home and travel.

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Sustainability

Sustainability, everyone is talking about it. To me and for O2wear this means making conscious decisions not just about our fabrics but the whole lifecycle of our products and approach to business.

When it comes to fabric we aim to minimise. Choosing fabrics like bamboo and RPET (post consumer recycled plastics) we aim to reduce the ecological footprint our materials have on the planet. But it’s by no means the perfect fabric, I’m not sure that exists. And that’s why I feel it has to be about so much more than just the material, but the how and why of the business too.

Things like packaging. We’ve eliminated single-use plastics in our supply chain with the exception of our courier satchels (but we’re working on it!) and to-date we still don’t put swing tags on our products cos it just doesn’t seem necessary. I also work closely with my manufacturer to ensure we minimise fabric waste in the design and cutting stage of production.

But perhaps the area I think most about is the products we choose to bring to life. For that reason, it’s been a very conscious decision to stick to base layers and essentials. Choosing to design and produce products that last, manufactured with quality components and stitching, items that are wearable year after year and free from seasonal trends and fads, basically the opposite of ‘fast fashion’.

We believe that buying less, choosing well and making it last is the most environmental choice you can make.

Manufacturing

I began my research in to manufacturing my bamboo range back in 2010, when I was living and studying in Shanghai, China. After visiting a number of factories, I settled on a small manufacturer just outside of Shanghai which specialises in environmentally friendly fabrics and small batch manufacturing. Ten years later I’m still using this same supplier for our clothing range while establishing new long-term relationships with factories for our custom packaging and travel range.

Our products are certified by Oeko-Tex Standard 100. This certification means that the fabric and materials that go into our products contain no harmful dyes, chemicals and metals so you can wear and use our clothes and products with confidence.
Strict labour laws in China prevent the use of underage labour, require employees to be paid for all hours worked and protect their rights to holidays.

Why not manufacture in Australia?
This is a dream of mine but currently just isn't viable. Australia isn’t growing and producing bamboo fabric or RPET so to manufacture in Australia it would still require importing fabric. I also do a lot of ‘small batch’ manufacturing using small colour runs which allows me to test products and colours with very minimal waste. However the real sticking point for me was the cost of manufacturing locally and what that would mean for our customers. Manufacturing in Australia is significantly more expensive and this would mean a much higher price point product, which just didn't sit well with me.

I'm proud of the relationship we've established with our overseas factories and the quality of workmanship they offer. We ship everything direct to you from our warehouse in Adelaide, Australia

Bamboo Benefits

What is Bamboo? Bamboo is a grass which grows prolifically throughout East and Southeast Asia. It grows in tall, straight hard ‘stems’ which tend to be hollow. Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, with some species capable of growing 30cm in an hour! Traditionally bamboo has been used as a construction material, in furniture and flooring and it’s shoots and leaves as food and even medicine.

Its popularity continues today with bamboo being used in variety of new applications like bamboo clothing and in climate change mitigation strategies. Due to its prolific growth and density per square metre, bamboo plantations are a very effective carbon sequestration tool, absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. Bamboo’s ability to grow in limited space and in challenging conditions mean it can also help regenerate degraded, over-farmed land.

Bamboo is a hardy plant which doesn’t require irrigating, so it’s not as water intensive as other crops like cotton. Bamboo is also relatively disease and pest resistant, minimizing the use of pesticides in its production.

When bamboo is harvested and turned in to bamboo clothing, the bamboo is pulped and broken down using a chemical solution. It is then extruded into yarn ready for knitting into fabric. Due to the chemical treatment the bamboo undergoes, the ‘bamboo’ in bamboo clothing is more appropriately labelled as bamboo viscose.

Why bamboo clothing? Perhaps the most compelling reason is just how soft and gentle it is on your skin. As a fabric for clothing it is exceptionally smooth, with a silky texture that makes it suitable for even the most sensitive skin.

We use bamboo across our entire range of thermal base layers. We mix it with a little spandex for stretch and shape retention in our tops and we blend it with organic cotton in our leggings to give them a thicker, more opaque finish. We avoid the use of nylon and other synthetics to ensure our bamboo clothes stay naturally breathable and odour resistant.

So why opt for bamboo base layers?

Wash Less Four way stretch keeps our tops and leggings staying in shape after each wear and bamboo’s natural ability to resist odour build up means you can test the limits of multiple wears before sending it to the wash

Smell Better Bamboo is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal helping to keep you fresh all day

Keep Warm Our fitted cut, with generous length in the arms and body helps you trap, retain and generate body heat, creating an insulating base layer.

Not Too Warm Breathable, moisture wicking bamboo fabric prevents overheating by drawing moisture away from the skin helping to regulate your temperature

Itch Free Smooth long fibres make bamboo fabric exceptionally soft. It’s an ideal choice for eczema sufferers and those who find the skin prickles or itches with more abrasive fabrics.

Look Good Though they may be hidden, looks still matter ;) Simple stitching around the neckline and a subtle, naturally occurring sheen makes bamboo thermals smart enough to be worn on their own!

Feel Good An eco-friendly choice. Bamboo is a self-regenerating crop, meaning it regrows after harvesting and unlike many other water intensive crops, grows without the need for irrigation. Bamboo thrives without the use of pesticides or chemicals which is important for avoiding soil contamination. Bamboo plantations are also a significant source of oxygen production, while absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere.

Is bamboo clothing environmentally friendly?

Bamboo is an environmentally friendly crop due to its ability to grow without the use of pesticides, with very low water consumption and carbon absorbing abilities. The use of chemicals to treat the pulped bamboo is an unfortunate but necessary process needed to turn the pulped fibres into fabric. O2wear bamboo clothing is Okeo-tex 100 certified which verifies that there are no nasties remaining in the fabric of our bamboo clothing.

However we believe that the fabric choices are just one, albeit important, part in growing a sustainable and environmentally aware business. There is no one right way or perfect choice so we aim to mitigate and reduce, choosing what we feel is the best option available for the job. For our range of base layer clothing we felt that the choice was easy, bamboo ticked so many of the boxes. But equally important to us are the materials we use in packaging, transport and delivery. In these areas we’ve eliminated single-use plastics, opted for recycled cardboard packaging and use bio-degradable satchels wherever possible. When it comes to the design of our range, we choose to produce classic cuts and timeless styles that will be worn until the end of their useful life, rather than discarded when fashion trends change.

We believe that buying less, choosing well and making it last is the most environmental choice you can make.

We make base layers, comfortable.

Crafted from our signature blend of bamboo and spandex, our base layer range not only feels good, it's made sustainably.