Fashionably Sustainable: An Interview with ALTIIR

Culture — 13.04.18

Interview by Desislava Todorova
Photography: Sangwha Yim

The brainchild of young Australian entrepreneurs, ALTIIR is a leather goods brand which breaks fashion’s cultural and ethical boundaries.

Made from innovative pineapple fibre, the ALTIIR biker jackets give a twist to what cool luxury should be about and look like. Inspired by the increasing awareness of the impacts of climate change, the brand reflects of our role in the prevention of its implications through our active everyday choices.

Teeth Editor Desislava speaks with co-founder Timothy Turner-Sutton about the importance of being sustainably earnest.

How did you come up with the idea for the brand?

As a society, we are facing some critical questions about the way we think, act and live. There is too little action being taken and too little value being placed on following a better course. We wanted to lead by example, to be at the centre of the wave of change and to contribute to positive developments in the fashion industry. We also knew that change didn’t have to mean compromise. With ALTIIR, our main goal is to create desirable garments of the highest quality and style, in our aesthetic, reflecting our fun, kind of wild lives. But we don’t want to be the only ones. We want to inspire others to change and collaborate. Together we are going to make a massive difference.


Where does the name come from?

We were at an event in London where Vivienne Westwood was giving a rousing speech about sustainability in fashion. At the time we were about halfway through developing our first samples and many months of hard work was starting to come together tangibly. It felt like the right night to give the brand its name, which is an anagram of the founders’ names.


Why pineapple fibre? How did you get familiar with it?

We have spent a long time sourcing innovative fibres that reduce waste and promote ecological, social and cultural development. It’s really hard to find materials that tick all of these boxes. When we came upon the pineapple leaf fibre and the brilliant people who spent over ten years developing it into an eco-friendly material that in many ways could outperform animal hide, we knew we had found what we were looking for. It’s lightweight, long-lasting and uniquely beautiful. To make sure it feels/wears like leather, we spared no resource in testing and enhancing it. We soaked it; we distressed it, we used natural organic ingredients to bring out the best colours, and so on. It took us more than a year of development to produce a unique material that will make people question why they would ever buy animal leather again.

What makes it unique?

The strong pineapple leaf fibres create a unique and unconventional texture that almost resembles supple elephant skin. Over time it moulds to your body and ages gracefully. We combined this with the finest components the luxury market has to offer. Each garment is made ethically from start to finish in Italy by experienced makers who have fine-tuned their craft through generations. In fact, each garment comes with a tag signed by the person who made it.


Why biker jackets and how does this inform the overall aesthetics of your brand?

Individual change to create a revolution starts with a good rebellion. For us, the biker jacket is a symbol of this. The biker jacket is one of the modern era’s most iconic pieces of clothing has shaped decades of fashion lovers’ styles. It is both a statement piece and a classic staple. It represents effortless and carefree cool, and a little rebellion too. This is synonymous with the ALTIIR lady and man. Also, a classic biker never goes out of style. We have created something you won’t tire of or throw away. We want your ALTIIR biker to make it into the next generation and the one after!

What’s ALTIIR’s DNA?

We are made up of passion, energy, and positive action mixed with rebellious fun and guilt-free indulgence.


You’ve mentioned your 60s/70s references – why exactly this timeframe?

The 60s/70s counter-culture movement represents a high-water mark in collective action and the power of the people. The activists of the time believed in a better way; they stood up, stood out and demanded change. They embraced the challenge and broke free of the boundaries that society constructed for them. As the children of this revolution, their spirit still lives in us today. We can embody it so long as we commit to the cause. Like our parents, we must be relentless in our pursuit of positive change.


You recently had a launch party at LFW. What’s next?

We are incredibly proud of this collection – how it looks/makes you feel and what it stands for. Right now we’re investing our energy in making a big statement with the ALTIIR biker and reaching as many people as we can.  What’s next for ALTIIR is equally exciting. We are continuing to extensively research and test other sustainable and ecologically friendly materials. We have found and collected a stunning selection, which we can’t talk about just yet, and are developing these materials along with our signature pineapple leaf into further women’s and men’s collections. Until then, we are really pumped about introducing to the world our current range of natural and metallic biker jackets and continuing to build awareness around and support for sustainability in fashion.

You can stay up-to-date with ALTIIR’s badass biker jackets through their website and Instagram.