SELFI

SELFI is a Cape Town based ready to wear clothing brand designed with the modern women in mind. We specialise in creating sustainable, bespoke ethical apparel and accessories. The name SELFI originated from the word self and was intended to evoke elements of self empowerment, self care and well being. With the construction of each collection, we focus on incorporating aspects of South African culture and identity, with a firm continuous undertone which promotes wellness and sustainability. 

With each collection we strive to incorporate fabrics that are kinder to the environment. We look at the amount of water used in the production of our fabrics , does it contribute to microfibre pollution or greenhouse gasses and how long will it take to decompose after being bought. All these factors have made us carefully select the most eco friendly plant based fibres. 

Biodegradable

The term ‘biodegradable’ refers to the ability of a substance to decompose naturally via living organisms.While all fabrics can biodegrade, the issue comes in where synthetic fabrics release chemicals that are being released into the environment causing them to emit green house gasses. Which can cause 600 years of methane emissions. Ramie , Rayon and Linen are known to biodegrade faster than synthetic fabrics and will not emit any chemicals while doing so. Linen and Ramie require fewer pesticides, herbicides and fungicides than cotton. The strength and durability of the fabric also ensures it will last longer, and when disposed, it will biodegrade.

Microfibre Pollution  

All our textiles are plant based. We do not use any polyester, nylon or acrylic due to its contribution to microfibre pollution to the environment. When manufactured, washed and worn, synthetic clothes & textiles shed tiny plastic fibers that end up in the environment. These tiny plastics then ends up in our waterways and drinking water does not biodegrade: it breaks down into smaller pieces. These microfibres then travel to local wastewater treatment plants, where up to 40% of them enter into rivers, lakes, and oceans where they contribute to the overall plastic pollution.

Water Waste

The cultivation stage of producing linen is the least water and energy intensive part of a linen garment’s lifecycle. According to a 2008 report for the European Confederation of Linen and Hemp (CELC), almost 80% of linen’s energyand water consumption derives from washing and ironing the garment. Usual rainfall is enough to irrigate European cultivations of flax, unlike cotton which can require high volumes of water depending on where it is grown. Flax can be grown organically – indeed many cultivations are already close to organic standard.  

Fabric Waste 

The fashion industry produces a lot of waste season after season. Disposing of mock trials, samples and fabrics that is no longer needed by design houses. With the dumping of these waste textiles the toxic chemicals are released into the environment while burning or breaking down into the earth. Every season we donate all our mock trials and samples to St Anne's home for abused women and children in Woodstock, Cape Town and Emmanuel Children day care centre in Atlantis. Here, the textiles we donate get repurposed and used as skill development through craft and sewing.

St Anne's Homes

St. Anne’s Homes is a non-government organisation based in Woodstock, Cape Town. They offer their services to abused, destitute and pregnant mothers and their young children throughout South Africa. 

How we help :

At the end of each season we donate all our mock up garments and samples to the women and young girls. We also donate fabrics to their sewing centre where they are taught to make patterns and sew.

Emmanuel Child & Youth Care Centre

Emmanuel Child & Youth Care Centre (ECYCC) is a registered NPO (non-profit organisation) in South Africa. They provide care and safe refuge for children who have been abused, neglected, abandoned and orphaned. They are based in the town of Middelburg (Eastern Cape, South Africa) and Atlantis , Western Cape.

How we help :

All our waste fabrics are donated annually to the centre where the children repurpose the materials by making fabric dolls, blankets, matts and other items they then sell to create funding for the home. 

Linen

In terms of sustainability, Linen requires far less water than cotton and doesn’t require any chemical fertilisers or pesticides. Made from flax , linen has been praised for hundreds of years due to its durability. Linen is 100% biodegradable and does not contain any microfibres. Flax is incredibly easy to grow requiring very little water; As a fabric it’s breathable, durable, lightweight, absorbent, antimicrobial, moth-resistant, and cool (as in it lowers your body temperature in summer, as opposed to cotton). 

Ramie

Ramie is a member of the nettle family and is native to east Asia. As the plant grows incredibly quickly it allows for high production of fabric in a short space of time on small pieces of land. It's not just its rapid growth, however, that makes ramie an easy crop as the plant is naturally resistant to bacteria, fungi, rot and a whole host of other destructive forces. Grown without pesticides and using the natural rainfall, the plant from which ramie is made has relatively little negative environmental impact. Ramie does not contain any microfibres and is 100% biodegradable.

Hemp

Hemp is known to be the most versatile plant on the planet. Hemp is the only plant that can feed you, clothe you, create a home for you, and provide you with natural beauty products.The hemp plant is actually a weed so it grows efficiently with little water and no pesticides. Additionally, the crops take up little space and produce more pulp per acre than trees. Being a plant derived fabric means it will be biodegradable when disposed and does not contain any microfibres.

Wool

Wool is an all-natural, renewable fiber grown on sheep. Wool textile products tend to be washed less at lower temperatures, saving water and lessening environmental impact. It can also be recycled and has a high quality and therefore a longer lifespan than other materials.

Rayon

Rayon fibers are made by chemically treated wood pulp, so the material is considered semi-synthetic. The sourcing of the material is what determines how sustainable the material is. Locally sourced rayon that has been manufactured from naturally occurring polymers will still be biodegradable, and therefore sustainable. Rayon does not add to microfibre pollution and is 100% biodegradable

Bamboo

Bamboo is the fastest-growing grass. It is capable of growing up to four feet a day. Most of it is grown organically and is a very fast growing crop in most locations requires no irrigation or fertilizers. The bamboo stems self-regenerate from their own roots so its a renewable material. The all-natural product is also biodegradable. Bamboo Usually relies on rain water and does not require any special irrigation system like cotton which requires 20,000 litres of water per kilogram.

Bull Denim

Bull denim is a heavy weight, 100% cotton fabric using a twill weave which has a superior strength and hold. Alongside its lasting durability and stiffness, it is a flexible fabric that is soft to touch. Compared to the common denim fabric which is made from dyed warp and weft thread, the bull denim is made with un-dyed warp and weft thread. The down side to denim manufacturing is that its industry uses a lot of water and many denim brands have opted to create eco friendly ranges in their collections.

Silk

Although the production of silk is sustainable, some consider it unethical due the killing of the mulberry silkworm during production. Natural and traditional methods are used that don’t involve the use of chemicals. The superior quality means it will last a while and when disposed of, will biodegrade.