Show #210 – Building an Ethical Denim Brand with James Bartle of Outland Denim


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And on this week’s show!

On this week’s show and for the next 3 weeks we’re talking fashion – denim, jewelry, and becoming a confident textile repurposer and fixer! So this week, I have the wonderfully determined James Bartle on the show, sharing his purpose-led journey to creating Outland Denim. It’s a brilliant example of business for social change and human rights justice and while this is a big feature in today’s show, we also discuss where the denim industry is at with production, sustainability, and ethics all along the supply chain. I hope you enjoy it. 

The questions I asked James:

  1. What does the film “Taken” have to do with you and Outland denim? 
  2. Why do you thing Human Trafficking was the big causer that stuck for you – we all lock eyes with different causes that speak to us deeply, what was it about this one for you? 
  3. How did you even begin demystifying the world of denim, worker’s practices/rights, cotton farming ethics, dye toxicity, logistics… so many moving parts – where were the biggest snags/challenges as you started to build the begins of Outland Denim? 
  4. What are some of the cutting edge production techniques you guys are using to produce your pieces? 
  5. What were some of the myths bandied about, in reference to ‘sustainable denim’ that you found yourself debunking as your research unfolded in the beginning? 
  6. Was it a conscious decision to be on point and current in fashion – a denim fashion leader? 
  7. For a business to succeed, human ethics and a strong environmental stance aren’t the only things that are important – you have to be profitable to be truly sustainable. Was this a challenging aspect of building up top this point? How does your business model work and what makes it a gamechanger? 
  8. How important is transparency for you? 
  9. How important is a celeb wearing one of your pieces to you? I must admit I was pretty stoked that Meaghan was wearing the same jeans I had, hehe. Didn’t pick me as the type, but there you go, I was genuinely giddy. 
  10. You’re driving a purpose-driven business in the midst of covid nonetheless: What does that look like for you? 
  11. How do you help people realise it’s better to have one or two pairs of the perfect fitting, excellent quality ethical jeans than it is to have 8 shades of el cheapos from the fast-fashion outlets? How do we cut the hyper-consumerist chord and switch to less is more and be genuinely happy with that? How has this played out for you personally on your journey outside of your business in terms of changes you’ve made as you dug the dirt on fashion production and raw material sourcing?

Other helpful links:

Know more about the ethical brand:

Not sure what to do with your old pairs of jeans? Snag some creative repurposing ideas here:

Follow Outland Denim on Instagram @outlanddenim with Founder @bartle.james and Facebook

This week’s Show Sponsor

The idea for MOTHER SPF was born out of necessity when a few years back my mother was diagnosed with Cancer leaving me to discover the hidden nasties lurking in a lot of the mainstream skin and SPF products. After not being able to find a mineral sunscreen suitable for myself and a strong love for all things skin health and mother nature, I decided to look into making my own. After partnering with the very best green cosmetic scientist and a TGA licensed manufacturer, MOTHER SPF came to life this year.

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Our love for MOTHER nature extends past our sustainably sourced, reef friendly and certified organic ingredients. MOTHER SPF is made in Australia with 100% solar power. Our tubes are made out of recycled plastics that would normally end in landfill and are also 100% recyclable. MOTHER SPF comes in organic cotton reusable bags and is delivered in compostable mailing bags made from corn starch.

Follow them out on Instagram @motherspf and Facebook


Enjoy the show and thanks again for taking the time to rate and review the show on your app – it’s like tipping the bartender and it means the world.

Low Tox. Happy us. Happy planet


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