Acala Stem

Please give us your elevator pitch:


Our plant-based, ultra-soft fabric is made from traditionally woven pure lotus stem, to create high vibrational & exclusive products. 

It’s ethically made, and the production process requires no water, gas, oil or electricity to produce, making it arguably the most eco-friendly luxury fabric in the world. Even the stems are lifted from underwater on a raft and oar. 

Since launching only 1 year ago, the Acala Stem product line includes luxurious Pure Lotus Scarves, Eye Pillows, Beauty Sleep Masks and Ceremonious Lotus Bath Tea to name a few.


What problem is your business solving?


Environmentally: We are re-educating consumers to buy less, and instead invest in quality, cruelty-free plant-based fibres.

Socially: We are setting a new standard in ethical practices with weaving our own fabric and supporting a textile social enterprise in Cambodia.

Health and wellbeing: Everything has a vibration, even the clothing we wear. If we’re wearing fabrics of a very low vibration, such as polyester, nylon, or animal-based fabrics involving cruelty, this will also affect our vibration and bring us down at a cellular level. Natural plant-based fibres however will retain the divine higher frequencies of the atmosphere, and therefore have a better effect on our health and wellbeing.


Tell us three unique things about your business:

1. For centuries the lotus has been a powerful symbol of strength, perseverance, and rebirth. Eastern philosophers and alchemists have long since sworn by the Lotus’s remedial healing abilities, which they believe can aid the treatment of anxiety, headaches, heart ailments, asthma and lung issues. This is where the rise of the lotus meets the rise of the healthy fashion movement.  

2. We are the first green luxury brand in Australia to champion lotus fabric and make it more accessible to consumers.

3. We’ve re-invested thousands of dollars into the clinical testing of our own lotus microfibre. See our amazing findings in summary below:

• An antibacterial activity (antibiosis) of greater than 99%*

• Breathability (pressure differential) of 0.54 (mm H2O/cm2)# 

In simple terms, the anti-bacterial properties of the lotus microfibre means it not only prevents bacteria from forming, it actually kills it within 24 hours.

With the breathability result of 0.54, that’s 5-8 times more breathable than synthetic fibres. This is particularly important for our face masks, beauty sleep masks and eye pillows.

* Testing was performed to the Korean Standard KS K 0693:2016. 

# Testing performed to the European standard EN 14683:2019, Annex C and the American Standard ASTM F2100:19.


What can attendees expect to see from you at TCS?

Lotus fabric is a pleasure to the senses, with its weightless, delicate texture, which feels like a cloud to the touch, and feels incredible on the skin, particularly our signature Pure Lotus Scarves. Consumers will have a chance to hold and touch the lotus fabric and experience it for themselves. 


Can you tell us a little about your background and where the inspiration came from for your business?

There are many different angles of inspiration for launching Acala Stem. They’re social as well as environmental.

I’ve been a designer for 20 years, and for the past 10 years have ran my own design agency, building brands for clients across various industries. In 2011 I moved to Cambodia to work as a volunteer English teacher in the city and the poverty-stricken communities outside of Phnom Penh. This changed me forever at the core.

It was here that I experienced first hand, the real cost of our fast fashion industry and who really is paying for it. I witnessed and heard real stories of unimaginable poverty. People that I called my friends, living in the very worst of conditions. I saw scenes that I – still to this day – can’t repeat to my own loved ones. These memories are my sole key driver for launching Acala Stem – a pipe dream I’ve had for many many years.

Currently, there are about 150 million children living in slave labour conditions. 2021 was declared International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour. But this won’t happen on its own. It’s also in the hands of consumers. Child slave labour is a very complexed issue around the world, and these are conversations we urgently need to be having. 

The rights and conditions of workers in Cambodia and around the world need to change, and they can. Beginning at the hands of us – the brands.  

Many people living in the provinces are forced to endure long travel times to the city and work long hours, forcing them to place children in long-term, unregulated childcare centres we call “orphanages”. Currently there are more than 20,000 children living in these horrific conditions in Cambodia alone. 

Acala Stem partners with a textile social enterprise in Cambodia, empowering women with working from home with their children, avoiding long travel times, with a good wage, flexible working conditions, and a path to financial independence. The same you’d expect for your own friends and family. Many of these women are single mothers, just like me. 

My journey to Cambodia began 10 years ago, but is still unfolding to this very day. It will never leave me, which is why Acala Stem is so important to me.

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