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Empire of Bees is an Australian owned and designed fashion label, founded in Queensland by cousins Bridget Weiske and Claire Wright. The inspiration for the brand came from the desire to create quality, handmade goods in an industry that was all but overrun by fast fashion.

Claire had been influenced by a stint of living and studying in Indonesia where she came across local artisans who created incredible quality products that often went unnoticed in their industries. She became frustrated as the big factories flourished and the local artisan trade faded.

Bridget, on the other hand, worked in corporate retail marketing roles for more than ten years but had a driving passion for sustainability and was equally unimpressed with the quality and quantity of fashion products on the market.

Between the two of them, they had a vision for a slow fashion empire, out of which Empire of Bees was born. The label they founded in 2012 is committed to creating products that outlast a season in style and quality while adding a unique touch to every piece.

It was their founding value that they do not add to the negative noise of consumerism, but provide a counter-offer to the fast-fashion items flooding the market.

THE MAKERS
All Empire of Bees products are made in Indonesia by independent artisans with whom they work directly. They do this to ensure the conditions for all workers are safe and can be assured they’re being paid a fair wage. This (versus factory-made) is not the easy route for a designer, but it’s the only one that sits well with Empire of Bees' values of slow and ethical production.

To ensure quality and to keep the relationship with makers robust, the Empire of Bees team travel to Indonesia every three to six months. The team have been working with the same families for more than six years and have watched them grow and prosper by having the support of the brand. That’s what keeps Empire of Bees going every day.

THE TEXTILES 
Empire of Bees accessories are made from cow and sheep hide, suede and upcycled fabrics. They choose to use leather over other textiles, not for its desirability, but its durability. As Empire of Bees are advocates for slow-fashion it’s important to create products that outlast a season. Being regularly used items, durability is of utmost importance.

THE ENVIRONMENT
Empire of Bees aim for zero waste in all aspects of production and use salvaged fabric for all linings, hand-picked from Australian vintage items such as clothing, linen, and curtains.

In line with Empire of Bees' green design philosophy, most bags are sewn using foot-pedalled sewing machines, which is the talented tailors’ preferred tool of the trade. Empire of Bees use leather off-cuts for swing tags, tassels and labels, recycled card where card is necessary, and keep a mostly paperless office environment.

As all products are made offshore, Empire of Bees have to consider the impact of transportation and packaging. All plastic packaging has been removed from shipping and instead, all bags and accessories are sent in individual cotton bags that are included with every purchase.

BRAND VALUES 
+ Australian designed
Empire of Bees is designed in Mackay, Queensland, Australia and ethically made in Indonesia.

+ Ethical 
Empire of bees personally know their tailors and their families and have been working alongside them for many years. Bridget and Claire visit them two to three times a year and pay a 'per piece price' which is negotiated openly and fairly between all parties involved for fair trade. 

+ Sustainable and zero-waste
Empire of Bees use upcycled, vintage or deadstock fabrics for all linings and care bags. Leather off-cuts are saved and used for tassels, zip pulls, and labels, Empire of Bees' bag linings are made with biodegradable fabrics such as cotton and linen. Pieces are classic, staple and trans-seasonal, designed to be used for many years to come. 

Empire of Bees is designed in Mackay, Queensland, Australia and ethically made in Indonesia.

Support a sustainable fashion future and shop the full Empire of Bees range here.