Artistic mother and daughter team Raffaella & Tamar Basini will tell you that environmentally friendly fashion is luscious, soft and exciting and that it has almost as much scope as not-so-friendly fashion.
When launching their new label Knido last year, the duo behind Raffaella Basini Creations wanted to focus on every environmental consideration possible, from using hand-powered machines to sourcing WA grown products and certified organic products.
They drew on their heritage and chose the Italian word for nest – nido – because they build their garments from natural fibres, then they added the silent ‘K’ – as in knitting – to represent their construction.
Materials include cotton, silk, linen and wool, which has not only been an iconic Australian product for hundreds of years but is also in line with the Basinis’ ideals towards sustainability and sourcing from Australia.
Wool is a versatile, hardwearing fabric that has been tested time and again as perfect for our bodies. Knido sources wool from WA melanian sheep, WA merino sheep, and WA superfine sheep.
“We take pride in supporting and developing Australian-grown wool unpolluted and produced so that it will leave no unhealthy when it has completed its life span,” says Tamar, who studied fashion and art, worked as a model for 13 years and has been her mother’s assistant since she was a teenager.
Raffaella, a former costume designer who for many years ran a large theatre company for people with disabilities in Perth, has long been involved in Perth fashion. As a child, she learnt her techniques from her Italian Nonna and later went on to study fine art at university.
As well as sourcing new materials, Raffaella and Tamar also upcycle, recycle, salvage and reconstruct.
“Every step we take today is a most important step for the future survival of our planet, our loved ones, and their loved ones,” Tamar says.
Raffaella and Tamar spend time deconstructing antique and vintage garments and reusing as much as possible, resulting in less than 2 per cent wastage in their business. “It’s a wonderful thing to use, or bring back to life, some item that someone has made with love for another human being,” Tamar says.
Every garment is hand made by Raffaella and Tamar in their Perth workshop where they operate hand-powered knitting machines.
They blend hand knitting, hand crocheting and many other techniques to create exquisite, timeless one-off pieces that are made to last.