The Formary is a Wellington-based textile research and development company established in 2008 and specialises in the development of groundbreaking textiles from agricultural and post-industrial fibres. The Formary’s consulting arm works with organisations worldwide diverting textile waste from landfill, transforming end-of-life clothing and textiles into valued feedstock for new products. Bernadette Casey’s first client was global coffee giant Starbucks, their multi-year collaborative project created closed-loop solutions from Starbuck’s vast supply of used coffee sacks. This resulted in WoJo®, a high performance, award-winning upholstery fabric, and Juton®, a hard-wearing recycled jute/cotton canvas.

This was followed by Mibu® an interior fabric created from surplus straw generated from rice harvesting. Mibu® was selected for exhibition by the organisers of the World Exposition 2015 in Milan. “Feeding the Planet / Energy for Life” Mibu® intersects food and textiles and has since been exhibited in France and Korea.

The Formary is currently leading the NZ Textile Reuse Programme; a collaborative project with New Zealand’s leading corporations and organisations, developing scalable circular solutions for end-of-life clothing and for which The Formary won the Emerging Services category at the Wellington Gold Awards. The NZ Textile Reuse Programme takes a systems approach, enabling the extraction of higher value from the resource and creating a step change in the management of used clothing.

She is the topic of a Forward Film documentary, highlighting exceptional people and world-changing ideas that are impacting the course of human development. Most recently, Casey was invited to speak at the 2017 Social Enterprise World Forum on Guardianship, Stewardship and the Environment from a clothing perspective.

Casey has worked for a number of clothing brands, is on the board of Dunedin Fashion Week, and guest judge for the last two years at The Oversew Fashion Awards (NZ). She holds an MSc in Marketing from the University of Liverpool; her research explored ethical consumer purchasing behaviour.

Her new monthly column in Apparel Magazine will discuss fashion and clothing from a sustainability perspective, and how we can celebrate the best of the fashion industry. Its creativity, craftsmanship and irreplaceable role in self-expression, while also discussing the work being done and to be done improving its environmental and social impacts.