It’s time to take a conscious approach to shopping.
With so many Australian brands committing to sustainable and ethical practice, it’s easy to fill your home and wardrobe with nice things, while simultaneously reducing your impact on the environment.
Here are a few brands to help get you started.
The Fabric Social
The Fabric Social is putting the spotlight on Asia’s hardest working women. The label, based in India and Myanmar, provides work for women who have been affected by armed conflict, displacement and poverty. With a focus on sustainability, The Fabric Social only produces clothing in safe labour conditions. That means no sweatshops. Five per cent of profits are also reinvested back into the community and its anti-landmine initiative sees donations from every sale go towards the organisation APOPO. For each item sold, one square metre of a minefield is cleared. It’s a beautiful project that we can certainly get behind.
Starting as a fashion blog back in 2016, eco|mono is now an online market for brands contributing to sustainable fashion. Founder Sam Leigh originally dedicated the platform to educating readers about the ethics of the garment industry. Since then, it has become a place for consumers to make purchases that align with their personal values. Featured brands favour minimal waste, environmental protection, transparency and local production, while the store’s offering centres on sustainable, monochrome basics. Meaning you can simply: Black. White. Grey. Repeat.
We Dash Love
If you’re looking to be a more conscious shopper, meet We Dash Love. The online store stocks only labels that implement sustainable and ethical practices. Think Vege Threads, Christie Nicole and Bon the Label. Items are largely transeasonal, with everything designed for longevity. It’s all then packaged using recycled wrapping paper and tags. What’s even better is the store’s recent little love project. It sees 50 per cent of proceeds from selected embroidered pieces donated to a charity of the customer’s choice. We love.
If there’s one technique best suited to the slow fashion movement, it’s got to be knitting. Revel Knitwear is upholding this traditional approach to design, carefully knitting all its pieces by hand in Sydney. Everything in the Revel collection is made to order, crafted from Australian wool. This means no two pieces are exactly alike. The label works exclusively with a neutral palette of cream, grey, stone and black, ensuring each piece slots cohesively into your existing wardrobe. It’s a timeless approach to design and one well worth considering.
An ethical approach to fashion doesn’t always lead to relaxed cuts and linen. Sarina Sonder is challenging stereotypes, bringing a modern aesthetic to ethical clothing. The independent Melbourne label plays on technological influences for the new season, with geometric panels and clean designs constructed to flatter the female form. Despite these modern influences, traditional values of sustainability, integrity and social awareness lie at the heart of the brand. Sarina Sonder is also accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia, with all garments cut, made and sewn in Melbourne.
You’re likely familiar with Good Studios. Originally B Goods Label, the brand embraces the beauty in simplicity, drawing inspiration from the natural environment and minimalist cultures like Japan and Scandinavia. The focus here is on timeless design. Founded on ethical values, Good Studios embraces sustainability in all aspects of business: from materials, production, packaging and stockists. They work predominantly with luxurious hemp fabrics as hemp grows faster, producing more yield and using less water than any other natural fibre. Made in Adelaide, this is conscious design at its peak.
If you love Ettitude as much as we do, we have excellent news. The label has just expanded its Bondi collection, welcoming sleek black bedding to the range. Perfect for the modernist. Using Ettitude’s 100% organic bamboo lyocell, the new ‘Pepper’ colourway features all the benefits we’ve come to expect from the brand, including hypoallergenic, breathable, thermoregulating and antimicrobial properties. Not to mention its baby soft feel. Joining an existing lineup of luxe winter colourways, we’re expecting this one to sell like hotcakes. Afterpay is available too.
Setting foot in New York's Central Park, Anna Sutherland was awed by its vastness and natural beauty. Often called the ‘lungs of the city', it represents harmony and balance between man and nature. Inspired by this relationship, Anna launched Urban Rustle. The brand offers handcrafted wood and leather accessories, alongside a collection of ethically-manufactured bamboo and organic cotton apparel. You’ll also find a range of products for the home. With an aim to always improve its sustainable practices, Urban Rustle regularly reviews its production methods.
Remuse Designs takes inspiration from Mother Earth, merging natural influences with a futurist aesthetic. Using artisanal techniques to construct its collections, the label works with natural fibres, vegan materials and remnant fabrics across its designs. All collections are ethically produced in small runs with a focus on transeasonal styles, before they're released quarterly, at the time of each Equinox and Solstice. Fabrics are almost entirely hand-dyed with low-impact, fibre-reactive dyes, while many pieces are free size and androgynous in aesthetic.
Ivett Simon believes that accessories should be investment pieces that last a lifetime. It was this notion that led her to launchivi, a slow fashion label specialising in leather bags, jewellery and wallets. Designed in Hobart, all products are made from ethically-sourced, cruelty-free kangaroo leather and coloured with environmentally friendly dyes and pigments. The Accordion backpack (pictured) is designed to be lightweight and ergonomic, but still has room to fit a laptop. ivi has also launched a Pozible campaign (details below).
First Base knows the term sustainability is bandied around a bit. So rather than just dropping the word, this team is breaking down what it actually means to become sustainable. First Base is making changes big and small, from investing in biodegradable packaging to planting trees. Not to mention, all their high-performance activewear is made from approximately 80% recycled fibres. This sits perfectly alongside the brand’s recent switch to using 100% Certified Organic Cotton across its entire basics line.
Lauren and Angie
Think of eco-friendly fashion and you’re probably picturing Lauren and Angie. The label delivers carefree styles with an emphasis on simplicity. Fits are relaxed and colours are neutral, as the brand works exclusively with sustainable fabrics such as organic cottons, hemp and linens. Remnant fabrics from other designers are also used, preventing them from ending up in landfill. Founder Lauren Trickey adopts a pared-back approach to design, allowing pieces to work with your existing wardrobe. What’s more, only small runs of each style are handmade in Geelong with love.
When AARLI was established in 2013, it quickly found its niche: sustainable streetwear for women. Since then, the label hasn’t let its core principles waver. All fabrics are sustainably sourced, including upcycled denim, screen-printed hemp, recycled plastic bottles, recycled nylon lycra and remnant fabrics from Australian designer brands. Pieces are then ethically manufactured in Australia, in line with fair trade principles, and finished with recycled packaging and swing tags. The label is also proudly Indigenous owned and operated, making more than enough reasons to support AARLI.
Theo the Label
It seems no matter how much clothing we buy, we keep reaching for the same few garments. It was the same for Esther Chin, who quickly recognised that less is more and founded Theo the Label. Having studied fashion supply chains, Esther knows the importance of quality construction and transparency, and works directly with skilled makers to uphold these values. Now launching its second collection, Theo is proving it’s got legs. AW17 brings with it a new generation of staples for men and women. Watch this space.
Ethical practice, natural fabrics, pure design. These are three principles that form the foundations of Tluxe. More than a fashion label, Tluxe is a lifestyle brand whose philosophy stems from the idea that garments should transcend fashion, forming a lifestyle identity. It uses quality fabrics and clever, sophisticated cuts to explore the concept of basics dressing. Styles are simple, designed for longevity and wearability. Valuing quality over quantity, all Tluxe collections are made in Australia, using the finest organic, natural and sustainable fabrics.
Saya Skincare believes that all ingredients needed to look after your skin can be found in nature. The brand only uses plant-based active ingredients in its range of environmentally-friendly and cruelty-free products and has the stamp of approval from Australian Certified Organic. Created in Noosa, Saya relies on the power of Australian native botanicals to deliver a range high in antioxidants, bio-actives and potent nutrients. Packaging is made from premium PET material and glass, which is 100% recyclable and designed to minimise waste.
May & Hugo
Environmentally friendly swim label, May & Hugo, has delivered a yogawear line. And it ticks all the boxes. The pieces are handcrafted in Sydney from recycled fibre fabrics. They help to clean up landfill and cut energy used in the manufacturing process by more than 50 per cent. Sustainably-produced bamboo fabric lines the label’s crop tops, used for its soft finish and antibacterial properties that reduce odour. The current offering is delivered in four patterns. Aptly named Earth, Air, Water and Fire, each print has been designed in-house and is exclusive to the label.
In Australia, 500,000 tonnes of leather and textiles are discarded each year. Designer Emma O’Rourke wanted to create her own clothing label, but without adding to that figure. Her brand, THE LABEL, is a line of innovative, yet wearable garments that are kind to the environment. Handmade from sustainably-sourced fabrics, Emma’s pieces are designed with minimal fabric waste. In doing this, she ensures less scrap fabric is sent to landfill. Design-wise, THE LABEL’s minimal pieces showcase timeless silhouettes, with cut-out detailing and silver hardware elevating styles.
Those in Melbourne ought to be familiar with Green Horse. Based in Northcote, the lifestyle store is known for its selection of fair trade, sustainable, ethical, organic and vegan clothing and accessories. While we hate to fangirl, the labels stocked read like a Fashion Journal wish list. Expect goods from Kowtow, Veja, Adorn Cosmetics, Lois Hazel, Vege Threads, Uashmama and more. In other news, the store has recently undergone a rebrand, with a new website coming soon to celebrate. Happy shopping.