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Good Studios Designer Anny Duff On What It Takes To Run A Sustainable Label

by: Rosie Dalton | 2 months ago | Features

Image: Good Studios designer Anny Duff.

This article was created in partnership with Bank Australia. Bank Australia is a customer-owned bank which invests its customers’ money in responsible ways, including in not-for-profits and renewable energy projects. Learn more about Bank Australia’s commitment to the ‘clean money’ movement here.

Adelaide-based sustainable label Good Studios was founded out of necessity, says designer Anny Duff. At the time she started the brand in 2012, Anny was working full time as a Production Designer and Stylist in film and television. She was frustrated because she couldn’t find any brands with good aesthetics and ethics that she was happy to promote. 

So “Good Studios was born out of a desire to create a product that represented my values,” she explains. Eight years on, Anny is still committed to making values-based business decisions – in everything from the materials she uses, to who she banks with.

Image: the Good Studios store in Adelaide.

The way we spend our money (and how money is spent on our behalf) has a significant impact on both people and the planet, Anny believes. “Money is a universal language that is understood everywhere; it is the shortcut to achieving impossible outcomes when used responsibly,” she says. “It is also the most simple and effective example of circularity that has been in practice for millennia.”

This year has undoubtedly been an intense one, but it is also a time that calls for drastic change. And Anny views this moment as a unique opportunity, to support circularity in everything from fashion to economics. “We as a society have an exciting [chance] to learn from thoughtful and transparent investment as the shaper of a sustainable future economy and this starts with us as individuals and small businesses showing the big guys how it’s done,” the designer explains.

For Anny, that means staying true to her core values – like sustainability and local production. “Our collections (which champion hemp textiles) are 100% Australian designed and made – we are Ethical Clothing Australia accredited,” Anny says. “As we have evolved, we have explored different scales and manufacturing techniques and have found made-to-order to be the most efficient, minimum waste approach.”

Image: Good Studios designs.

The designer actually developed these values from childhood, when she grew up on an organic farm and learnt about Biodynamic gardening through her Steiner education. “This instilled a strong connection and respect for the environment from an early age,” Anny explains. “I believe no matter what business you’re involved in, your responsibility is to tread lightly, and I feel very strongly that we don’t inherit the earth, we borrow it from our children. [So] I try to consider this in every decision I make, both business and personal.”

One of the important decisions that Anny has had to make in this regard is what materials she will use – ultimately choosing to focus on sustainable hemp fabrics, because hemp requires no pesticides and very little water to grow, actually improving soil health by replenishing vital nutrients. Another important decision for Anny has been who to invest her money with, through banking and superannuation.

“I was with one of the Big 4 Banks for many years out of pure habit and, in a time of need, they were incredibly unsupportive to me as a small business,” the designer says. “And the more I learnt about their lack of values, the more I just didn’t want to be represented by them.” 

Image: inside the Good Studios store.

So back in 2016, the designer created a list of all the organisations her business dealt with: from banks to superannuation funds, electricity companies, and shipping businesses. She took the time to understand, for example, which banks have publicly available policies and which are known to fund fossil fuels. Then, one by one, she found an ethical alternative for each and made the switch – or calculated the impact and began offsetting it. 

“I highly recommend it as a very satisfactory and incredibly impactful exercise for business or personal purposes,” Anny says. “The ethical and environmental impact is far deeper than you could ever fathom [because] every cent we spend is an opportunity to (literally) put our money where our values are."

Image: behind the scenes with Good Studios.

It was through this process that Anny decided to switch to a customer-owned bank that doesn’t greenwash, but is genuinely invested in supporting a cleaner future for Australia. “[Having] a slogan like ‘The Bank Australia needs’ is a clear indication that Bank Australia is very aware of the controversial history of their line of work and are intent on systemic change, not just superficial ‘greenwashing’ statements,” Anny explains of her banking choice. And she has been with Bank Australia ever since, recommending the simple switch to many family members and friends over the years.

“When you comprehend that trillions of dollars are invested in Australia every year on banking and superannuation, you see that there is also a huge responsibility as stakeholders, to step up and own our impact, [then] to direct those funds towards a better future for all,” Anny says. “Never underestimate that power.”


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