Society seems fairly willing these days to talk about the terrible problem of sexism, trauma, and entrenched discrimination, but are things getting any better?
Many advocates are quick to point out that gender biases aren’t just “a women’s issue.” It’s important that men step up and own the problem, and acknowledge complicity. It’s hard enough to “call out your mates,” and even harder to notice problems in yourself. Toxic masculinity also impacts relationships between men as well.
Nobody believes he is toxic. People who demonstrate “toxic masculinity” are always others. It’s very hard to even reach the threshold of self-awareness to recognise this is oneself anyway, because it’s not clear where the line between “toxic” masculinity and just “regular” masculinity” might lie. Is masculinity itself toxic? That doesn’t feel very empowering.
But, change needs to come from a place of empowerment. We thought that a new frame could be needed. We’re calling it “non-toxic” masculinity. It sounds blunt and clear because it needs to be. It’s the obvious opposite of toxic, without trying to be euphemistic. Self-diagnosis is inherently difficult, biased, and goes against people’s natural instinct for self-preservation which is to chase things that feel good rather than those that make you feel bad. Therefore, it’s much easier to aspire to specific behaviours that are non-toxic, rather than avoid ones which are toxic.
But, while we think non-toxic masculinity is easier to aspire to, it’s important that it’s still a pluralistic exercise. We aren’t in this to provide a definition or to list ‘approved’ behaviours. If you want that, just google it elsewhere. It’s more important for us to grow organically what the concept might mean to a diverse range of people, and use those stories to build a sense of aspiration and definition without fences.
So, how to make a product that will enable this storytelling to happen, while also embodying the values in all aspects of manufacture, design, and service? For Everett Co, an aspiration personally as business owners meant absolute commitment to ethical production and low environmental impact, while also using the brand to enable men to espouse alignment with the values in an understated way. We decided on swimwear to design something that felt inherently vulnerable (and perhaps new to a lot of people who haven’t engaged with the style before), but doing so in an elegant and subtle way.
The Everett Co company was founded in August 2020 (yes, a mid-COVID project) by Jacob and Sam. Everett is Sam’s paternal grandmother’s family name. The original Everett & Co. was a grocery business funded in 1839 on Hindley St in Adelaide, South Australia, by Sam’s great great great grandfather Charles Everett. Our dream is to one day open a flagship store at that same address.
It has taken two years to perfect the design, quality, and sourcing. Every single tiny aspect from the life-cycle of each stitch of recycled thread to the carbon impact of our handmade drawstring aglets has been considered in minute detail. We also decided to start out by taking a more sustainable approach to manufacturing, so we are launching with batched delivery only. This means we’ll place periodic large orders (initially, at the end of each month), and all the orders during that month will be sent off in one go.
It massively reduces waste, and also increases the efficiency of our production, which means we can afford to donate more back to the community at the end of the day.
Our first ever batch will soon launch. If we reach our target before the deadline, we’ll order earlier! You can sign up to be the first to hear about it here.
Nylon (also known as polyamide) and elastane together are strong, hard-wearing, and resistant to UV, chlorine, salt, oils, and suncreams etc. Our swimwear will therefore last you a long time (at least several seasons) not only because of the materials (the yarns and the fabric construction), but because they have been constructed sturdily and with attention to detail in the stitching and the choice of custom trims. Finally, our cut, designs, and colours are classic and will outlast fast-fashion whims.
Everett will also offer you a discount on a future purchase if you trade in your old pair. This means we can upcycle or recycle the materials into something else. This is a highly-active area of research in order to separate fibres of different types in order to continually regenerate the materials and make the whole textiles industry more circular.
Please get in touch if there’s some detail here you believe we are missing! We are absolutely committed to transparency as much as we can. Sometimes our supplier relationships are subject to commercial confidentiality, but we’ll do our absolute best to share what we can. That’s also why we use third-party independent certification organisations so that you can trust the process and we can protect confidential information.
This is where we get really excited!
Our swimwear has lots of components, and we have gone through every step in the process in micro-detail to ensure we are using the most sustainable materials we can. It also means your swimwear will last longer because we've thought about the materials and the construction with great care.
Our fabric is a blend of ECONYL® regenerated nylon and elastane. These two fibres together give stretch and bounce, which is important for men’s swimwear to give support and shape retention. The ECONYL® nylon in our blend is 100% regenerated from pre- and post-consumer waste such as fishing nets and other nylon sources like the fluff from old carpets and nylon fabric scraps.
Our elastane is LYCRA® branded and is manufactured to last a long time.
These two fibres (ECONYL® and LYCRA®) are woven together into our special fabric by our manufacturer in Italy.
The 100% regenerated ECONYL® polyamide yarns used in our swimwear are recyclable over and over again. When we mix it with LYCRA® fibres, however, this reduces the ability to recycle the polyamide (nylon).
Our manufacturers are working on ways to solve this problem, so we will hold on to any returned and traded-in items until it is possible to 100% recycle them.
Our swimwear outer fabric is made from 78% ECONYL® regenerated nylon and 22% LYCRA® elastane, while the linings are made from 82% ECONYL® regenerated nylon and 18% LYCRA® elastane.
We are also working on ways to incorporate alternatives to elastane which are made from renewable materials, such as corn starch. But we need to be a bigger company before we can afford the quantities needed for our suppliers to invest in that kind of new idea. So, watch this space and thank you for your help in growing!
Trims are our elastics and drawstrings. Our drawstrings are made from 100% recycled polyester fibres, and supplied to us by our producer in Barcelona, Spain. They are certified with the GRS (Global Recycle Standard) and Oeko-Tex Standard 100. The polyester is manufactured in Hainan Province, China, from recycled polyethylene teraphthalate (PET) bottles.
The elastic yarns are themselves manufactured by a different supplier in Spain. They are made from 100% recycled yarn wound around a latex core (which is itself made from natural rubber). If you have a latex allergy, don’t worry – the risk is virtually zero even if your allergy is severe.
Our drawstring aglets (toggles) are hand-made by us in our hometown of Adelaide. They are made from a bio-epoxy resin which was invented right here in our city. Unlike regular epoxy resins, bio-epoxy does not use any harmful solvents or chemicals. We get the resin directly from the manufacturer, and then we make the aglets ourselves at home, incorporating some regular materials from around our neighbourhood (such as wattle flowers, waste woodchips and sawdust) to upcycle them into something beautiful and make every pair of swimwear totally unique.
Printing onto nylon isn’t very easy, and we worked hard to find anyone who could do this in Australia. Many of the fabric-printing companies got rid of their equipment decades ago. That’s why most of the swimwear you’ll see from Australia is made with polyester – it’s much easier to print on. Luckily, we found some people in Sydney who can achieve what we need in a sustainable way. Because they are local, we can be confident in their environmental compliance and quality control, and talk directly about our values with them.
The printing technique we use for our swimwear dyes completely through the fabric. This means the colours stay put, as distinct from a surface-print which will peel, crack, or fade over time.
So once we have the bits, they all need to be sewn together! Our thread is 100% recycled polyester, and is made in Germany. The polyester comes from PET bottles, and the thread is GRS certified. We will be using white thread to reduce the dyes required.
Labels & Tags
For internal labels sewn into the garment, we’ll be using the same fabrics as our main garment to minimise waste and cross-contamination of fibre types. This saves using extra resources and machines and makes it easier to recycle. You’ll also be able to find garment care instructions online at our website.
For external tags, we’ll try to minimise these as much as possible. We certainly won’t be using any plastic! Otherwise, they’ll be 100% recycled cardboard.
Certifications | All our international partners (factories outside Australia – Spain, Italy, and Germany) are independently certified with the following as appropriate:
Check out our dedicated page on certifications and accreditation partnerships to see how we’re tracking and what our goals are for Everett.
All our packaging is made from 100% recycled materials and is able to easily be recycled or composted again.
We calculate the impact of our operations in order to provide a carbon-negative product to you. This means that the total of our impact has a net effect of removing carbon from the atmosphere. Additionally, we’ll be offsetting the entire production chain of our swimwear in terms of carbon footprint, which includes all the freight and shipping to get it to your door. Ideally we’ll work with factories that run on clean electricity as well, and we’ll actively push our partners and suppliers for transparency on this issue.
One of the biggest issues in the fashion industry is the way workers are treated. We were shocked to discover that “Made in Australia” doesn’t automatically guarantee that your clothes haven’t been made by exploited workers.
Ethical Production in Australia
When we started Everett, we wanted to do things differently. For us, apart from environmental sustainability, this means including human rights and ethical business into our core values. In terms of measuring how we achieve this in our brand, there are two main aspects:
We are working to be accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia. ECA is dedicated to exposing the terrible hypocrisy within Australian fashion manufacturing, and works with companies to do better. By being accredited with ECA, this is a company-wide audit that includes our entire supply chain within Australia, ensuring that you can be confident in your swimwear and proud to wear our brand. We aim to complete this accreditation by the time we launch after the Kickstarter ends.
Your Everett swimwear will be manufactured here in Adelaide by a small business that is themselves already accredited with ECA. We will only work with partners who are committed to these values.
Ethical Production Internationally
For international suppliers, we have similar goals, however ECA does not cover those aspects of the supply chain. We will work with similar organisations such as Fair Work Foundation, and Who Made My Clothes, so that we can be confident our clothes are exploitation-free.
Everett is a collection of stories and perspectives. Hear from a diversity of individuals about their views on non-toxic masculinity – what it means to them, their experiences and influences, and perhaps how their views have changed over their lives.
This is a respectful platform. These stories have been voluntarily contributed. Some of them were hard to write. Some are hard to read. Some are anonymous. Some are aspirational, some are reflective. We invite you in.
"The way I see it, I think toxic masculinity is a collection of ideas and values which purports to be only measures of what it means to be masculine. I believe projecting your own values onto others is inherently foolish, in general.
More specifically, I think we’ve seen pretty clearly in recent decades how the suppression of ones true nature, values and passions, in the order to ‘be a man’, is harmful to the unique expression and impact that this individual would otherwise naturally experience!
On non-toxic masculinity.. I consider myself lucky to live in a time where it’s no longer ‘normal’ to measure my manhood by how many car tyres I change, or barbecues I know how to operate.. and that I am accepted socially for openly being inspired by intellectual and creative pursuits, over more traditional ‘masculine interests’ that aren’t me, like mainstream sports etc."
"After a quick online search, it wasn’t hard to find that the google definition of ‘masculinity’ is “qualities or attributes regarded as characteristic of men.” Sure, this makes sense, but to me, perhaps another question that we could answer together is “What does it mean to be a man?”
As a 25 year old, I find myself having grown up into a world in which (largely) everyone is given a fair go, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, and the like. I’m pretty glad to say that I’ve fortunately grown up in this era, because it’s made me the man I am today. This being said, I admit, I am a middle-upper class white man. From conversations I’ve had with family/friends who are part of an older generation, I wouldn’t have had to experience some of the issues that other minorities might have endured in the past.
So, back to my original question, what does it mean to be a man? You’d assume as a man, this would be easy to answer, however I don’t think it is necessarily. I suppose the holistic answer for me is simply “being myself”, however I think there are some particular (good) quantities of what is perceived as “manly” by the public, which I always hope to emulate."
"In a situation where a potential threat is present, I think manliness (and in turn, masculinity) means standing up and being ready to protect the weak, vulnerable, afraid, and loved ones. Perhaps not by wildly throwing fists, but by remaining calm under pressure. I certainly hope that I will step up and make the right decision when I find myself in a fight v flight situation.
What about when there are no threats present? What does masculinity mean then? In these situations, my mind is more often than not instantly drawn to the traditional stereotype that men must be quiet, strong, and not talk about their feelings..have you heard this before? The beauty about this is that the following moment, I remind myself of the reality of the world that we live in, or at least the world that I live in - a world where I know (and do) speak to others when I am feeling a little bit off. I see bravery when I hear that a friend (male or female for that matter), speaks up, whether it’s just about a shitty week at work, or relationship troubles with family and friends. It’s my job, as a friend (and as a man) to be there and listen, and speak only when the timing is right."
"When I hear the phrase “toxic masculinity” my mind is initially drawn to what can probably only be described as a ‘boys club’, a situation where blokey blokes would meet to fuel each others egos. The type of popular kids who would have been the high school jocks. While doing these things, they’re drinking beer and bragging about degrading things they have done to others. Has this ever actually been a thing? Probably yes, but I hope in most cases the answer is no. This sort of toxic-masculinity is probably what I would consider more of an external example.
At the start of 2020, I joined a footy club. Growing up as a basketballer/swimmer, I had never really any experience of what it meant to be part of the “footy culture”. I honestly had no idea what I was expecting to find when I joined a group of 40+ men, however I think deep down, I was probably anticipating that I was about to be entering a boys club. What did I find when I joined this group? I found some of my closest friends. I found a group of lads who do like to have some drinks and flex their biceps (more for humour than anything), but I also found a group of lads who regularly check in with each other in times of hardship and often raise awareness about mens mental health (e.g. Movember) with each other."
"Someone in our group recently lost a loved one, and in my opinion, we’ve all been showing support and getting around him as he has been working through his tragedy. On a lighter note, I’ve met a lot ofblokes in the club who are a bit nerdy/geeky just like me. I’ve met some of the funniest boys who always make me laugh. I’ve met some men who still love playing Pokemon (I say ‘still’ because I played it a lot when I was younger). I’ve met some people who have dreams to study further. Am I just ‘lucky’ to have met a lot of different, but genuinely lovely men who I consider genuinely good people? Probably, but I hope that all ‘footy club’, or more generally, all ‘manly’ cultures out there are just like the AUFC in this regard.
Onto a more internal toxic-masculinity viewpoint, I remember back when I was in years 9-10 at high school, I sometimes felt like I wasn’t the most masculine bloke in the class. I wasn’t the tallest, smartest, fastest, strongest, and I naturally found it relatively easy to talk to girls and in some instances actually harder to talk to blokes. On a somewhat unrelated note, around this time, I had some mental health problems which weren’t really related to masculinity, but I remember that deep down, I part of me probably did wish that I was like other people and not myself."
"Are some of these toxic internal thoughts (somewhat linked to masculinity) something that everyone feels in high school? I’d certainly be interested to listen to others and find out. Looking back now, I realised that I did the right thing by standing up for myself and speaking to some older male mentors who at the time were huge inspirations for me - they listened and spoke when the timing was right. It’s really interesting, because I’m now at the age that those mentors were when they showed care for me. I’m really glad that I got past this mindset, because when year 11 started, I began to feel proud in my own skin. Today, as a full-time working engineer, my younger brother (he’s 6’1”) and I like to joke about how I am below the 6 foot line - I’m 5’10”, and I’m happy with that. I’m still not the smartest or fastest person I know, but I know I never will be, and instead I’m happy with how enthusiastic and quickly I learn in my career. I’ve only just started to be able to grow a moustache (or what’s commonly referred to as a ‘dirty mo’), whilst a lot of my male friends can grow the full set.I know I’m not that strong (I’ve never gone to a gym), but I’m happy with that. There are plenty of things I can do, and I think that accepting and loving yourself for exactly who you are is part of diminishing any non-toxic masculinity internally."
"I don’t know if what I’ve just shared is completely unrelated to masculinity, and feel free to not share all of this, I think some parts probably are, but as of right now, this is (just part) of what it means to be a man to me. I chose to participate in this Everett story exercise because I am close friends with one of the founders of Everett - Sam. Sam and I always have fantastic conversations and challenge each other to be the best possible version of each other, which is something I truly appreciate. We always have very open conversations, and aren’t afraid to avoid topics such as this, which I hope breaks down the stigma that men are to be strong and unable to share their true feelings.
Let’s all step up and stand out so we can be our most authentic selves, as we deserve to be."
"As a male designer and lively drawer, there is a stigma that drives these passions of mine outside the ‘masculinity’ category. In my honest opinion, masculinity is whatever you make of it and if you are okay in your own skin and feel happy doing what you’re doing, to me, that’s the ultimate form of masculinity!"
"A lot of the time, feeling masculine is simply based on perception, in the sense of 'I think others see this action/event as masculine/not very masculine, therefore that's what it is'. There's a lot more to masculinity than having a pumped-up chest and drinking beers. Being mature, making thoughtful and responsible decisions, a lot of the time without anyone else even knowing you're doing the right thing, but doing it for the right reasons and definitely without the ego or self-praise is to me, non-toxic masculinity. It's about taking the right action and often making the decisions that aren't always going to be popular, but for a bigger purpose, rather than just trying to impress someone by being stereotypical."
"When I was a child, there was always a certain way I thought boys and men were expected to act. I always felt pressured to act in that way to avoid being made fun of, but I never felt like I was very good at it.
I decided to stop eating meat in 2012 for environmental reasons, and became vegan in 2014 for animal rights. This certainly did not fit the way men are supposed to be, especially not in the energy industry. I spent several stints working in rural Australia, where my attitude towards animal products was met with utter confusion. Occasionally I was asked if I had gone vegan for my partner. It irked me that no one asked if she went vegan for me (it was neither). If it weren't for a strong vegan male role model in my life who was the reason I went vegan in the first place, I might never have stuck with it. It took me a long time to have enough conviction in my own views to not let others affect me.
Continued, "I recall several occasions at barbecues where male friends would ask me, laughing, if I was still eating 'rabbit food'. It was expected in an unspoken way that I would laugh along, otherwise I'd be 'soft' and 'sensitive'. When I saw a sign in a local supermarket that said 'real men eat meat', I knew our society's attitude towards animal products and masculinity was seriously wrong. We need to change this idea that not eating animal products somehow makes someone less of a man."
"In short non-toxic masculinity for me is simply about being yourself and being true to who you are as a person and being proud of who you are. I am a 33 year old separated and divorced Father with 2 beautiful young children. I have a very supportive family, great friends, a strong up bringing, a good education and have excelled in my work and football Career. But that doesn't mean my life has been easy and all roses. Since I was 16-17 years old I always seemed to struggle with my mental health, particularly around the loss of relationships. In the past I would do the traditional "man" thing and hide my feelings, thoughts and emotions the best I could. I am now very open with my own battles and sharing my story in the hope that it can help others. I work on myself everyday to be a better, stronger version and of myself. After losing my marriage, access to my children, my car, my boat, my home, my job and all my money I nearly lost my life with a very serious suicide attempt. With the help of professionals, friends and family I got through this and came out the other side. The best thing that I have learnt in my journey of life is resilience and I have done this by 4 or 5 key things that work for me; Opening up and talking to people (doctors, friends, family), exercising (hot yoga, bike riding, skateboarding, hiking), playing football, focusing my energy on my interests and hobbies (fishing, horse racing and spending as much time as I can on the beach).
Continued, "Last but not least, staying well away from drugs and alcohol especially when you are feeling down. Being a Leo (a fire sign) I am a highly emotional person with big feelings and emotions, but I have learnt to harness this energy in a positive way and am proud of who I am and have become and I learn and grow each and everyday. Although distressing and challenging at the time, these hardships and experiences build character as a person and resilience."