Grey Whale Brings Sustainable Nature to the City

Belgium-based brand Grey Whale is rooted in nature– literally. All of their products, ranging from handbags to scarves, are made using organic cotton or pineapple leaf-based vegan leather Pinatex. The environmentally-conscious line is the creation of designer and founder Tempy Osborne.

Grey Whale’s brand mission is to “lead a mindful urban lifestyle” through accessories. The sustainable line encourages customers to “buy less, buy better” and support small-scale handmade products. Osborne hopes for consumers to be more attentive to nature. “I think there can be a big disconnect between the natural world and city life, for me I need to remind myself of this connection we all have with nature and simplicity,” Osborne explained.

Designer Tempy Osborne uses her background as a painter to create Grey Whale handbag prints.

This philosophy inspires Osborne’s screen-printed handmade designs. “I try to mix simple linear, geometric urban inspired shapes with more natural forms to create the original designs I then print on fabric,” Osborne said.

Grey Whale primarily uses organic cotton produced in Kerala, India by farmers who grow, dye, and weave their materials in small batches. Cotton crops are grown without pesticides to minimize waste impact and land contamination. All printing uses water-based non-toxic and PVC-free inks.

Organic cotton Grey Whale coin purses.

“I make all my bags in the most eco-friendly way I can manage and am always looking for ways to improve,” Osborne said. Grey Whale does not use factories, opting instead for individual artisans. Osborne was particularly impacted by the Bangladesh Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013 and vowed to know where her inventory was being produced. “It really made me realize that we don’t know enough about where the pieces that make up our belongings and lives come from, so I decided…I would find a way to produce what I wanted myself.”

Osborne is heavily inspired by nature, such as the color of fall leaves.

Osborne hopes Grey Whale’s incorporation of nature-inspired aesthetics and environmentally-friendly design process will inspire customers to change their lifestyle for the better.

“For me, Grey Whale is a metaphor for the city as a living breathing thing that relies on nature.”

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