Aussie entrepreneur helping East Timorese clothing industry make school uniforms out of plastic bottles

Tammy Kassiou, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Branditall
Tammy Kassiou, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Branditall

Dili-based business, Branditall, is helping families across Timor-Leste to access high-quality sustainable school wear made from recycled materials including plastic bottles. Australian founder and CEO of Branditall, Tammy Kassiou, is committed to ensuring Timor-Leste leads the world in developing and implementing sustainable clothing initiatives that not only help the environment but also offer high quality, durable and comfortable products for people to wear.

How did the initiative come about?

Kassiou has over the years founded several businesses in Timor-Leste which provide labour mobility services, training and development, large-scale property developments, project management, supply chain solutions, packaging manufacturing and clothing and merchandise.

“Timor-Leste is one of the most passionate countries in the world. Since moving here from Australia, I have fallen in love with the people, countryside and the drive of the people to find ways of progressing their country forward across all areas of its economy,” Ms Kassiou said.

“When I consulted my team at Branditall and reached out to our customers to find out what type of requirements were of most importance to them, sustainable clothing came up top of the list. So we got to work to build the capability to create a sustainable range of clothing for schools and universities in Timor-Leste. Plastic is one of the most destructive problems our planet is facing and Timor-Leste is not immune to the issues plastic is presenting.”

“Given this, we sourced the technology and processing capability to translate plastic bottles into raw material which can be added to the fabric production process,” Ms Kassiou said.

Why is the initiative revolutionary?

“Not only is the process cost-effective, it is also growing a circular economy for Timor-Leste in the extraction of materials from plastic bottles and then reusing the materials into other manufacturing streams like fabric production. We are able to make one school shirt using fabric that contains the equivalent of seven plastic bottles. The fabric is soft, comfortable and highly wearable that you would not have any idea the school shirt contains plastic materials.”

“Using our special technology, we are now able to design and produce a broad range of clothing and merchandise. We are now making uniforms for over 20 schools in Timor-Leste.”

“There are over 300 schools in Timor-Leste, and if every child wears at least two shirts every year made from fabric containing plastic bottles, that is a lot of plastic bottles that are now being put to good use that would otherwise be clogging up our waterways and landfill.”

“We created the brand ‘Mr Loriku’ to ensure our clothing products are well known and easily identifiable. Branditall is a relatively new business and we are excited to be experiencing so much growth. Not only do we produce school uniforms, we also design and produce a broad range of uniforms, workwear including fire-rated clothing and shoes and accessories.”

“Businesses in Timor-Leste now have a place where they can purchase work wear, have their uniforms made and also create branded products whether it’s hats, clothes, drink bottles, stationery, packaging solutions for local products. We focus on manufacturing items with as much local content as possible to support the people and economy of Timor-Leste.”

Branditall also announced a partnership with Radio e Televisão de Timor-Leste, E.P. (RTTL, Tetum: Radio Televisaun Timor-Leste, Radio and Television of East Timor in English), the national radio and television broadcaster in East Timor, to provide the station with uniforms.