Inside The Factory of an Australian Ethical Activewear Brand

Kira Simpson

Danielle Larkin and Kelly Tickle began their careers in interior design and real estate and now the passionate duo are building an activewear empire together.

Their Brisbane based fashion label DK Active, is shattering misconceptions about the ethical fashion industry and showing the world that ethical, Australian made clothing can be stylish and affordable.

The Ethical Clothing Australia accredited company is a mere three months old, but it’s making a big impact on the activewear and athleisure scene with it’s luxe, high performance fabrics and wearable designs.

Having owned quite a few pieces from D+K’s original label Yogiic, I can attest to the quality and performance of their clothing. There’s nothing worse than bending over in workout tights and having your undies shine through!

Kelly, a runner herself, assures that every pair of tights they produce pass the “squat test”. 

They’re also affordable, with the clothing being on par price wise (but better quality) with brands such as Lorna Jane and Nike. The key difference being how their clothing is produced.

Dave and I stopped by the D+K headquarters and factory last week and Danielle and Kelly showed us around their beautiful space so we could see where all the magic happens!

Photagraphy by David Simpson

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"We just clicked! Kelly’s passion is an active lifestyle and we decided within a week that we were going to start a business together."

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What does it take to bring a D+K piece to life?

“It always starts from a sketch. I have to ensure that we have the correct fabric to create the design. If not, I will begin researching.

This is the most time-consuming part; as I believe strongly in ensuring that our fabrics come from an ethical source and are of a high quality.

We then sample up the garment in our sampling room. We may make changes as we go.”

The perfect cut

“Our cutting machine can produce huge amounts of cuts per day.

We are able to calculate the amount of wastage prior to a cut and move pattern pieces extremely close to one another so we don’t have as much waste, opposed to hand cutting.

They get down to the millimetre, so you know that the actual parts of the garment are always going to be exact. We also have incredibly talented sewers who make sure everything is up to scratch and of the highest quality before it’s packaged.

Our scraps are then donated to different tafes and we use it to test the machines – so we have very minimal wastage.”


Wasting less

“I spend a lot of time researching the fabrics I choose. I really want to have as little impact on the environment as possible – I know the clothing industry is one of the worst things we do.

It basically comes down to the scraps and wastage – we barely have any wastage.

Whatever waste we do have, we use in resampling or we donate so people can practice sewing with the fabric. We try to minimise the use of plastic: our garments are packaged in recycled washbags.

Basically in the little parts of the business we do a lot of recycling.

The right fit

“Once the design is confirmed, we make them in a few different sizes and try them on multiple body shapes to ensure they will be flattering on everyone – not just a size XS!

Testing is also very important. Then, we go into production.”

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What’s next for D+K?

Their new collection will be rolled out in stages over the coming weeks featuring a whole new colour palette. “Kelly and I particularly love earthy tones – opposed to super bright florescent colours.

Our favourite colour now is a khaki and that’s the prominent colour of this upcoming range. I also wanted to play with a few different textures so this will be seen as well.”

As for the future. Danielle says BIG things are coming; you’ll just have to wait and see!!

Kira Simpson

Kira Simpson is an environmentalist and sustainability expert. She started The Green Hub as a blog in 2015, which has since grown to become one of Australia’s largest education sites dedicated to helping people live a more sustainable lifestyle.