Based in Queensland, Australia, Alexandria Main delivers throughout Australia, New Zealand, North America, Europe and Asia.
Roxane answers some questions you may have.
Alexandria Main calls itself 'Ethical Luxury'. What does this mean?
The garments are luxurious because of the quality of the work that has gone into them: seams are french seams, buttons are covered, cutting has been done by hand. It takes time to create quality - 6 days, to be precise, to hand loom enough silk for one pair of pyjamas.
The garments are all made by Fair Sew, a small studio in Phnom Penh. The majority of the world's garment makers are trapped in a cycle of poverty because their wages are too low for them to live on. In contrast, Fair Sew is a light, airy and safe working space where the seamstresses are paid more than a garment factory minimum wage, and more than many NGO run workshops. It offers benefits and training programs which give employees greater stability, and better work life balance than a garment factory could offer.
Your pyjamas arrive with a bag that has been made by a sewing student from Human and Hope Association (HHA) in Siem Reap, Cambodia. HHA provides sewing skills to the most marginalised women in the community to allow them to become financially empowered.
What is so special about Cambodian silk?
Silk has been interwoven in Cambodian history since the 13th century. The Khmer Rouge all but destroyed the sector, but after intensive efforts by the global community, it has slowly come back. It is a tiny sector of the economy, but an important one because it is predominantly woven in homes in remote rural communities.
Between 66% to 87% of the silk workforce are women. A significant number of these women are landmine or polio victims, people with disabilities, victims of human trafficking, widows and orphans. The US State Department reports that Cambodia is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. The sale of virgin women and children in Cambodia is a continual problem. Poverty makes people vulnerable - engaging them in a high value add sector, such as silk weaving, reduces their risk of being taken advantage of.
Not all your pyjamas are pure silk, where does the other fabric come from?
I use silk/cotton blend fabric for some of my Alexandria Main pyjamas. This fabric is 'remnant stock' that would otherwise have gone to landfill. Landfills are a potent contributor to greenhouse gas emissions because when organic material breaks down it released methane and other greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. If you have bought a pair of Alexandria Main silk/cotton pyjamas - congratulations! You have just played a small part in reducing landfill contributions.
What is the difference between something that is 'ethical' and something that is 'Fairtrade’?
Fairtrade is always ethical, but in order to receive a Fairtrade mark a company must go through a rigorous process of certification which is set by Fairtrade International. As a small start-up company I have not elected to go through the process at this time. I have however, ensured that all garment production has been done ethically based on the measures outlined above.
Who do you use to make your clothes?
Transparency of supply is one of the most important ways to ensure an ethical fashion chain. I visited and have personal relationships with the people who make all Alexandria Main items. Please see my supplier list below:
Roxane Horton, Queensland, Australia