Eco Dancers, is a new Australian designed dancewear brand made from sustainable recycled and environmentally friendly fabrics. We are a Supply Nation registered company meaning we are Aboriginal managed owned and controlled. Our founders Koby, Ella and Samantha are special people with an important mission to significantly reduce the horrendous impact all plastics, including polyester and nylon fabrics have on our environment.
We believe in slow fashion with a deliberate made to order manufacturing process.
What we produce is not trend-driven, we do not design for ‘this season’, we focus on creating conscious stand out, timeless pieces using sustainable and environmentally friendly fabrics that last. We partner with you and dance schools via our pre-order process, so we only make what you need without waste, excessive transport and loads of storage which increases our competitor’s environmental footprint.
Eco Dancers has built a circle of life ecosystem to ensure dancewear outgrown but not out worn are reused and those that have seen better days become recycled fabric to dance another day instead of lying in a landfill dump emitting methane and toxic chemicals for generations.
We use cutting edge recycled fabrics that you can’t distinguish from the environmentally damaging ones:
ECONYL - uses synthetic waste such as industrial plastic, waste fabric and fishing nets from oceans, recycles and regenerates them into a new nylon yarn that is exactly the same quality as virgin nylon. ECONYL is a way to recycle and replace virgin nylon in our everyday products and clothes. Traditional production methods for nylon production are not eco-friendly, they require huge amounts of water and produce a hefty amount of nitrous oxide, which is 10 times more potent than carbon dioxide. In addition, nylon is not biodegradable, and it is estimated that up to 40% of man-made plastic waste in the oceans are nylon.
rPET - is made from post-consumer recycled plastic such as water bottles, containers, and secondhand polyester garments. The use of rPET reduces the use of oil, reuses waste, and cuts out the need for the virgin polyester industry. Creating rPET not only provides a better option than landfill, it also has the ability to greatly decrease our resource extraction. Over 60% of first-time PET production is used to create polyester textiles. By using PET that has already been in circulation, we’re offsetting the amount of new PET that needs to be created.
Bamboo - We use bamboo for our dance underwear.
With a focus on mindful and conscious practices, the ambition of Eco Dancers is to positively model preserving our earth for our children, and our children’s children - and in doing so, educate and empower others passionate about dance to tread a little lighter and reduce our dancing footprint.
When Koby founded the company in 2019, she couldn’t believe it was impossible to purchase sustainable and environmentally friendly dancewear in Australia. Like most mothers of aspiring dancers, Koby was given a list to source ballet uniforms from a local retail outlet. The sales assistant couldn’t answer any of her questions about how ethically or sustainably the dancewear was made.
When Koby did some research on the Net, she was horrified to learn the company she had just purchased from had received an F in the 2019 Ethical Fashion Report which rates companies on ethical and environmentally sustainable manufacturing of clothes.
This motivated Koby to partner co-operatively with Dance Schools to offer high quality, cost effective, eco friendly dancewear which looks, feels and performs the same as existing exam standard RAD approved items but are made from completely recycled fabric off-cuts and other plastic waste such as fishing nets and plastic bottles retrieved from our oceans and landfills.
The Creative Director of Eco Dancers and The Director of The ELLA Foundation, Ella Havelka was the first Aboriginal Dancer to be selected to join the Australian Ballet Company. Born in Dubbo and a descendant of the Wiradjuri people, Ella and her mother Janna, moved to Melbourne when she was accepted into the Australian Ballet School at just 15 years of age.
After graduating from the school, Ella first appeared with Bangarra Dance Theatre in their 20th Anniversary season 'Fire - A Retrospective' (2009). In 2013, Ella became the first Aboriginal Ballet dancer to dance with the Australian Ballet. Havelka was the subject of the documentary film ELLA, which premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival in 2016. Ella toured internationally with both Bangarra Dance Theatre and The Australian Ballet performing on stages in London, New York, LA, Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai, Mongolia, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. Ella leapt back into the Bangarra world to guest star in their 30th-anniversary program 30 Years of 65 Thousand (2019)
Ella Choreographed Wilaygu Ngainybula (2019) for The Australian Ballet's Education and Outreach Team which was seen by hundreds of school kids nationwide during the 2020 Covid19 lockdowns.
As a 2021 Atlantic Fellow for Social Equity, Ella is currently completing her Masters in Social Change Leadership through Melbourne University. During the second Melbourne lockdown, Ella founded The ELLA Foundation which aims to inspire and provide opportunities for First Australian youth to experience the joy of dance in all its many forms.
Public Relations Director
After graduating from school Samantha has developed a passion and joy for working with children.
She completed a traineeship to receive a diploma in Early Children Learning. From this Samantha went on to complete a Bachelor of Education degree at Notre Dame University in 2016 where she went on to teach primary students in Sydney.
As well as her love for teaching she couldn’t ignore her draw to fashion. Samantha has completed a Certified Consultant course at the Fashion Stylist Institute to enhance her knowledge on the psychology of fashion and the unique shapes of humans and how to enrich confidence through style to help clients succeed in life, both personally and professionally.
Samantha paired this new information with her love for the environment and everything outdoors which lead to in-depth research on how fashion and the environment can exist in a positive way.
With this new-found knowledge, she has worked with brands in Byron Bay to move into more eco-friendly practices and approaches to fashion in the future.
TO DANCE LIKE THE WORLD IS WATCHING
Understanding the damage existing dancewear manufacturers do to our environment
All types of dancewear such as leotards and stockings rely on synthetic fabrics. Let’s be clear, these fabrics are simply plastics produced from oil and they account for 63 per cent of the material input for textiles production.
The most common materials in this sector are polyester (55 per cent), followed by nylon (five per cent), and acrylic (two per cent).
While plastic-based fibres do not require agricultural land and use little water in production and processing, they do negatively impact the environment in other ways. Not only are synthetics not biodegradable, they all rely on the petrochemical industries for their raw material, meaning this fashion industry staple is dependent on fossil fuel extraction.
Aside from the environmental impact incurred during extraction, manufacturing and shipping of synthetic clothing and material, the use of fossil fuels brings with it other detrimental issues including oil spills, methane emissions and wildlife disruption and biodiversity loss
Let’s take a closer look and forensically examine traditionally manufactured Tulle.
Tulle is non biodegradable and highly destructive to make. The polyester is made from petrochemicals, partly derived from petroleum, which contributes to the oil manufacturing industry (the world’s largest pollutant), disperse dyes are used, and water from textile factories containing leftover dye which is difficult to treat. The dye enters the environment where its toxicity causes serious problems for plants and animals, polyester manufacturing uses energy-intensive heating process, requiring large quantities of water for cooling, synthetic materials rely on petrochemical industries, meaning synthetic materials are dependent on fossil fuel extraction, hence Tulle is highly unsustainable.
You now have a very clear and simple choice, choose wisely, choose life, choose ECO DANCERS.