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15 sustainable labels worth knowing now

Sustainably sourced.

In 2020, sustainability is at the forefront of our collective mind, and with good reason. We’re living in a time of unprecedented global warming and we’re already seeing the disastrous effects of climate change first-hand here in Australia.

The upside of this is that purchasing power has never been more real. Whether it’s homewares, food, clothing or accessories, consumers want to minimise their impact on the environment and put their money where their mouths are by investing in brands that walk the talk. Here’s our selection of 15 brands doing just that.

Hey Tiger (pictured above)

Hey Tiger burst onto the scene in 2018 and for all its resounding success, there is more to the brand than premium chocolate. It’s also a social enterprise, working to support The Hunger Project to positively impact cocoa farming communities in Ghana and change the industry for the better. Hey Tiger CEO Cyan Ta’eed does not take a salary, and the company donates a portion of each purchase to further The Hunger Project’s work. It also ensures its farmers are treated and paid fairly, and that all its suppliers uphold environmental practices to support the viability of cocoa farming for the long term.

heytiger.com.au

Cali Rae

There’s a few boxes you should consider ticking when you’re next in the market for swimwear. Beyond size and fit, Melbourne label Cali Rae works harder than most, offering swimwear that is cruelty-free, ethically-made, Australian-designed, Fair Trade Certified and made with quality recycled materials. The fabric weaves 84 per cent recycled polyester with thread made from recycled plastic bottles. The label also uses sublimation printing, a process that uses heat to transfer designs from paper onto fabric, as an eco-friendly alternative. For those not yet impressed, Cali Rae’s swimwear also comes scent-infused with essential oils, designed to create an unboxing experience to remember.

calierae.co

The Fabric Store

The Fabric Store combats fast fashion by giving us the option to craft our own clothes, but it doesn’t stop there. Its offering spans quality natural fabrics like silks, linens and cottons, alongside specialty textiles like merino and leather. A sustainable ethos of reusing as much as possible means the company avoids mass-produced and ethically-questionable fabrics. Instead, it sources stock from high-end designers, taking on unneeded sample lengths, offcuts and fabric ends. Not only does this bring unique, limited-run fabrics to customers, but it cuts down on industry waste.

thefabricstore.com.au

Lauren + Angie

The saying ‘slow and steady’ has become a core ethos for Geelong-based label Lauren + Angie. Every piece of clothing is handmade in small batches from the founders’ home studio, with a focus on garment longevity. Designs are intentionally classic and kept minimal so they can be easily integrated into your existing wardrobe, then worn season after season. The same approach is taken to the label’s choice of colour and natural fabrics, which are carried over with each new release to minimise waste.

laurenandangie.com

Hopeless Lingerie

Moody and romantic lingerie label, Hopeless, completes every step of the design, production and distribution processes from its Melbourne headquarters. A made-on-demand model allows the brand to significantly reduce waste and make a serious dent in its environmental footprint. Hopelessuses a range of sustainable fabrics like Lenzing certified Modal and an organic cotton and hemp blend. Commercial hemp crops absorb more carbon dioxide per hectare than any forest or commercial crop. A portion of proceeds from the brand’s Basics collection is also donated to The Conservation Ecology Centre in Victoria’s Otways.

hopelesslingerie.com

Perple

Using deadstock fabric is one effective way designers can produce more sustainably. Making garments only in response to customer inquiries is another. Melbourne label Perple works exclusively with both methods, carefully selecting textiles that might otherwise have ended up as waste to create its made-to-order designs. The brand’s style is all about balancing strength and calm, accented with a touch of humour – think inverted tuxedo collars and glove-sleeve hybrids. If your interest is piqued, you can explore Perple at VAMFF’s AFC CuratedStore at Emporium Melbourne from March 4 to 9, where the brand will be showcasing limited stock.

perplewomen.com

Remuse

Two sustainability-focused labels are coming together for a showcase at the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival. Earthy, ethically-dyed Remuse and science-centric Mycelium Made will deliver an immersive runway, showcasing collections from both labels. Titled Mico, it will feature a new textile made from mushrooms being developed by Mycelium Made. You’ll also experience interactive installations fromB2B Creative, music acts, dance performances,mushroom-based food and drink, and a runway of 20 models from both Jira Models and Melbourne’s performance art community. The enormous event will be held at Magdalen North Laundry on March 7, in partnership with Nicefilm.co, B2B Creative and Jira Models.

remusedesigns.com

Sista öf Jac

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The ethos behind Melbourne label Sista öf Jac could be distilled into three words: luxury made local. Established in Melbourne by siblings Seldaand Yeshim Ismail, the label combines local, sustainable and internationally-sourced rescued fabrics with forward-thinking patterns that have been cut and sewn in-house. The result is a series of avant-garde collections, tailored by hand. As well as prioritising sustainable processes to reduce waste, pollution and harmful emissions, Sista öf Jac is committed to transparency. Its small supply chain ensures maximum visibility while the ethical production process is kept in check by Ethical Clothing Australia

sistaofjac.com

Simétrie

Made-to-order accessories label Simétrie recently celebrated its first year in business, having established itself by balancing ethical production with sleek aesthetics. In honour of this milestone, two new colours are arriving in the brand’s bestselling crescent handbags, crafted from locally-sourced, vegetable-tanned, wild kangaroo leather. This leather is better for the earth than its counterparts (no farming is required in its production and the leather is biodegradable) and is hardy enough to withstand heavy use. The label is also taking part in two pop-up events during this year’s Virgin Australia MelbourneFashion Festival, giving visitors the opportunity to meet Simétrie up-close.

simetrie.com.au

Lonely Kids Club 

Long known for its graphic apparel, tees and accessories, there’s an element of Lonely Kids Club you might not be as familiar with. All the brand’s cut-and-sew goods are handmade in Sydney (despite LKC’s rapid growth), as the brand works actively against industry mass production. Its tees and jumpers are otherwise sourced for their ethical production before being printed by hand. The hands-on touch extends to delivery, as every item includes a drawing and note from the team. Lonely Kids Club is also a vocal advocate for conversations around mental health – jump online to see what we mean.

lonelykidsclub.com

Argent Silversmith

There’s jewellery made from sustainable materials, and then there’s Argent Silversmith. The local label handcrafts all its pieces from recycled gold and silver in a small sustainably-powered studio in the Victorian High Country. Designer and maker Elizabeth Herman ensures all materials used are both ethical and sustainable, working with repurposed pearls, ethically-sourced stones and metals, and manmade gems. She’s inspired by the raw beauty of the materials as much as her breathtaking local surroundings. The result is a series of unique pieces that embrace real, natural beauty.

argentsilversmith.com

Active Apostle

Active Apostle was founded as a direct response to the current fast fashion landscape. The 100 percent Australian owned and operated brand craft sits sportswear from Italian fabric made from waste materials – think discarded fishing nets and carpet fibers. Garments are then sewn at an ethical factory in Bali, where workers receive a living wage, before being shipped directly to the brand’s Sydney headquarters. Everyone involved is moving towards greater transparency in the industry. A portion of proceeds from all sales also goes towards fighting human trafficking through the organisation, Dark Bali.

activeapostle.com

Sanserié

Sanserié’s approach to sustainability emphasises quality over quantity, with the brand known for its timeless, pared-back styles. Its designs have been carefully considered, intended to become staples that will be worn for years and can be easily paired with your existing wardrobe. The label works primarily with high quality linen sourced from Europe, chosen for its wearability and durability. All manufacturing is then conducted in West Melbourne. Sanserié opts for recycled threads, natural buttons and biodegradable packaging to complement the high standard of linen used.

sanserie.com

Vegan Style

To round out a conscious wardrobe, you need equally conscious accessories. Vegan Style is a 100 per cent vegan retailer, bringing together both Australian and international brands who share its values. Across shoes, accessories and cosmetics, you’ll find products that are cruelty-free, ethically made and environmentally responsible. This includes the store’s in-house shoe label, Zette Shoes, which makes footwear entirely without the use of animal-derived materials – right down to the choice of glue. Instead, it features innovative textiles like apple leather, mulberry leaf leather, European-made microfibres and plant-based linings. Shop Vegan Style online or on Melbourne’s Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.

veganstyle.com.au

The-V-Spot

The-V-Spot is an online retailer with such high ethical standards, it’s unlike anything we’ve seen. The site stocks only vegan, cruelty-free and ethical brands, covering everything from clothing and accessories to beauty products and homewares. It runs completely on renewable energy and carbon offsets all freight, so its business is kinder to the planet. To round out your feel-good shopping experience, The-V-Spot supports a wide range of philanthropic causes each year, currently donating a portion of all sales to Australian bushfire relief.

thevspot.com.au

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