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A growing list of ethical Australian labels that cater to a size 16 and beyond

IMAGE BY SQUINT
WORDS BY MAGGIE ZHOU

Pieces for every body.

There are a growing number of Australians who are becoming more conscious shoppers and prioritising ethically-made and sustainable fashion. But what happens when the industry doesn’t serve you? There’s nothing groundbreaking in proclaiming that fashion has a serious problem with fatphobia and size-inclusivity. We know that op-shopping is made infinitely harder and navigating standardised sizing can often be a nightmare.

With the average Australian woman fitting into a size 14 to 16 and the plus-size clothing industry worth $1 billion in Australia, it’s shameful (and bad business) that plus-size people have largely been rendered invisible.

This list features brands that, at a minimum, cater to a size 16, but we acknowledge that this is not a full and accurate representation of the spectrum of bodies in our midst. This selection of labels is a starting point, and it serves as a reminder that size does not dictate style. We’re proud to share this extensive collection of clothing, intimates and activewear brands and hope you can find something you love.

Clothing

Dyspnea 

If a sparkly unicorn could make clothes, it would make Dyspnea. A whirlpool of fluffy tulle, dreamy pinks and sequinned goodness combine to produce Dyspnea’s signature sexy styles. All pieces are made to order in Bali and come to a size 18 or can be crafted to any custom size.

Embody Women 

Embody Women is an Australian denim and fashion label whose mantra is that size doesn’t define style. Catering up to a size 22, all clothing is manufactured entirely in Australia and ensures that its use and disposal of chemical dyes are compliant with Australian rules and regulations.

Grump 

Don’t worry, Grump is named after creator Kelly’s cat, and is not a reflection of the clothes she makes. In fact, Grump is happily a size-inclusive brand that focuses on colourful prints and patterns in comfy silhouettes. Her delicious selection of clothing is handmade by herself in Queensland and caters up to a size 30.

Kowtow

New Zealand label Kowtow has been leading the sustainable fashion conversation since 2006. The internationally recognised label produces beautiful and timeless garments using only renewable and sustainable fibres and ethical manufacturing. Kowtow’s XL size translates to an Australian 16.

Maggie Marilyn

With a brand philosophy built around transforming the fashion industry and creating a label that’s transparent, circular, regenerative and inclusive, New Zealand label Maggie Marilyn caters to the high-end side of sustainable fashion. Stocking up to a size 16, it also has the option of a ‘bespoke request service’ if you have custom requests around sizing.

Maker and Mineral

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I love reading posts like the one @frocksandfroufrou wrote about this jumpsuit and i love being able to make custom sizes!!!! it’s not always easy when i can’t take a client’s measurements on my own, but the challenge is WORTH it!!! This post reminded of this one time I was vending at a craft fair in SF and this woman came and tried on the HANDSY jumpsuit and fell in love. She couldn’t stop looking at herself in the mirror and smiling, but then her husband came over… she asked what he thought and he immediately shook his head to say no. he said he didn’t like it because she didn’t look sexy!? she changed back into her clothes and said she might come back later without her husband because she loved it, but that he likes her to look SEXY… I felt so sad that her partner could discourage her so strongly from something that visibly made her smile! can we just decide that happy is the new sexy please??

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Inspired by Scandinavian powerhouse Marimekko, Maker and Mineral produce made-to-order and hand-printed frocks, smocks and other fun threads in Melbourne. Samantha Ives is the brains (and hands) behind the small label. Fabrics are either locally sourced, recycled or deadstock materials and Samantha patterns, prints, designs and sews everything herself, meaning all pieces are customisable.

Outland Denim 

Founded as a means to help women out of sex trafficking in Cambodia, Outland Denim now supports and empowers individuals from varying backgrounds of vulnerability through employment. With a size offering ranging from four to 16, this B Corp employs a holistic approach to supporting its staff through opportunity, a living wage, and education.

Variety Hour 

Variety Hour is a print-focused label by textile designer Cassie Byrnes. Each season, a new collection of prints is designed, hand painted and adapted into pieces up to a size 2XL. The collections are made in small quantities in Melbourne by Ethical Clothing Australia accredited manufacturers.

Poppie the Label

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Friends cuddling without distance – how vintage #tbt 🥰

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This mother and daughter duo create handmade, luxe tracksuits in the most joyful colours. Each garment is made to order using Australian-made fabric, locally sourced in Melbourne. It stocks up to a size 18, but also provides a custom sizing option for those who find standard sizing a real pain.

PQ Collection

PQ Collection is stock full of bold, modern and colourful clothing and prides itself on being size-inclusive with a curve range that caters to plus-size people. PQ Collection also aims to ethically produce their affordable collections and states that their garment workers are paid above a living wage.

Squint Clothing

You don’t need to squint to spot this Scottish ready-to-wear fashion brand’s playful and funky pieces from far away. Based and handmade in Melbourne, Squint’s Lazy Oaf aesthetic combines feminine prints with tomboy silhouettes and are made up to 4XL aka an Australian 26.

Sük Workwear

Ever wanted to rock a tradie’s ‘fit? Now’s your chance. Sük Workwear is a culmination of what founder Mimosa Schmidt describes as “function, sexuality, fluidity, integrity and fierceness”. Ethically manufactured in Pakistan, you can nab a pair of their boilersuits or other garments that are available up to a size 24.

We are Kindred

Created in 2013, this Australian label is best known for its feminine yet modern designs with a slight bohemian twist. We are Kindred’s collections are unwavering from their signature floral, floaty and flirty pieces. The brand has sustainability initiatives in place and manufacture under the Ethical Trading Initiative code. We Are Kindred offers up to a size 20 in most garments.

Intimates

Camp Cove Swim

Camp Cove Swim creates retro-inspired swimwear, activewear and loungewear that’s ethically and locally manufactured on the South Coast of New South Wales in Jervis Bay. Not just using regenerated nylon from rescued fishing nets and nylon waste, Camp Cove Swim also employs a digital printing method called sublimation which eliminates water entirely from the dyeing process.

Hara the Label

Hara, meaning green in Hindi, constructs sustainable, soft, dreamy bamboo intimates and loungewear. Founded by Allie Cameron, Hara aims to bring change and awareness to the human and environmental issues within the fashion industry. The pieces are available in sizes XS to 5XL and are naturally dyed, cut, sewn, packaged and shipped in Melbourne.

Hopeless Lingerie

“Dark, modern and romantic lingerie for bad-ass women.” Hopeless Lingerie cut, handmake and wrap all lingerie from their Melbourne office. Its flirty pieces are made to order, meaning while they stock between XXS and 5XL on hand, they can also accommodate all sizes while minimising waste.

Jackfruit the Label

Jackfruit the Label is a Byron Shire intimates brand that seeks to be “big on comfort” and “low on environmental impact”. Its staple and no-fuss pieces are all handmade and hand-dyed from organic cotton and bamboo in small batches using solar power. Run by a one-woman team, Jackfruit the Label is truly size-inclusive, accommodating up to a size 26 with the option of custom sizing too.

Just Babes Club (JBC)

The name doesn’t lie, JBC is for every busty and non-busty babe. Catering up to a size 20 and H-cup with the option of free custom sizing, JBC is a body-positive lingerie brand. Sheer, lace, strappy and satin, JBC’s sexy undergarments are made to order and handmade in Australia.  

Le Buns

Female-founded Melbourne brand Le Buns is a staple for sustainable swimwear and intimates. With a focus on the timeless, its designs are enduring, meaning they become longer-lasting wardrobe-essentials. Catering up to a size 16, Le Buns consciously uses organic GOTS-certified cotton and regenerated nylon.

Lonely Label

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🎨 @minamigessel for Lonely . . 📷 @lerapen .

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Having committed to moving to 100 per cent traceable and sustainable materials in January, Lonely is a front runner in the sexy and sustainable lingerie and loungewear market. Grade-A goddess lingerie sets and lockdown-approved loungewear will make you glad you can’t leave the house.

Activewear

Bay Active
Straight outta Byron comes sustainable activewear label Bay Active. Using only organic cotton and natural or regenerated fibres and boycotting plastic packaging where possible, the label is doing one for the planet. With sizes up to 18, one for the curvy gals too. Hit up the site and you’ll find unfussy yet flattering garms made for getting out and about. Who doesn’t love slow fashion made for a high-impact life?

Dharma Bums

Dharma Bums is committed to creating sustainable and practical yoga gear. Bright and patterned activewear that empower women is at the core of this brand, as well as a commitment to greener fabrics. The brand caters to sizes 6 to 18, leaving room for more body types.

Dk Active

Brisbane-based Dk Active creates Australian-made activewear from its solar-powered HQ. Director Danielle Kay’s idea behind the brand is to promote inner wellbeing, self-love and body positivity, seen through its collections specifically designed for curvy and pregnant customers. Using regenerated nylon, organic cotton, bamboo and modal, its activewear ranges cover sizes 6 to 24.

Team Timbuktu

Move over The North Face (sorry, Dan), this woman-founded and -ran activewear brand is the epitome of dressing for Mother Nature. Not only are Team Timbuktu’s clothes made for enjoying the outdoors, but they are also made for us to enjoy forever. Recycled plastic waste is the main ingredient in these tights, tops and jackets, which are super sleek yet supportive and sized up to 16.

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