Ten Australian Sustainable Fashion Brands to Look Out For
What do you find most difficult about shopping for sustainable fashion? One of my readers told me that the most difficult thing for her was to find local sustainable fashion brands from her home country. If you also find this difficult, you will enjoy my new post series inspired by this difficulty.
To kick off the series, I thought I should start with my home country, Australia. Down the track you will see many more countries covered. Today, here are my top picks for Australian sustainable fashion brands that are worth knowing.
Canberra-based label Pure Pod is entirely Australian made, using a range of sustainable and biodegradable fibers, including hemp, organic cotton and some bamboo. The collections include vege-dyed prints that have been hand-blocked in Australia, and tailored trousers made by skilled Australian artisans. These skills are becoming increasing difficult to find in Australia, and by supporting Australian production Pure Pod is helping to ensure that there is work for artisans who want to the opportunity to pass on their skills to the next generation. Founded in 2007 by Kelli Donovan, Pure Pod is a pioneer of Australian sustainable fashion and is one of Australia’s leading eco-conscious brands. The Rana Transcending Dress (pictured above in white with pink print) honours the memory of those who lost their lives in the Rana Plaza disaster, and it is one of my absolute favourite sustainable fashion pieces.
Zero-waste label Edition another sustainable fashion label based in Canberra. Designer Alice Sutton works with sustainable fabrics, using zero-waste pattern design techniques to create complex and unique garments. The Edition range is currently stocked in two stores in Canberra and one in Hobart. If you’d like to see these beautiful designs stocked in a boutique near you, be sure to let them know about it.
The Sydney-based slow fashion label Eva Cassis, in my opinion, represents the height of Australian-made sustainable fashion. The label was established in 2012 and employs and slow and meticulous approach to garment production, using very small product runs, with manufacturing all taking place within a 10km radius of the Sydney studio. The label is committed to sustainability through-and-through, avoiding the use of plastic completely, and using recycled paper and cardboard to package their goods. Within the studio, everything that can be reused or repurposed, is reused or repurposed. The garment collection uses the finest natural fibers, and the jewellery collection uses some beautiful sustainable materials, including recycled Australian timbers, vege-tanned kangaroo leather, and Fairtrade glass beads made from recycled Coca Cola bottles.
Adelaide-based Vege Threads produces a range of stylish and enduring sustainable fashion basics and wardrobe staples for both men and women. Garments are made with Australian-made and dyed organic cotton, as well as Tencel, linen and hemp. All the fabrics used have been dyed using 100% natural plant dyes, hence the name. Vege Threads also integrates social impact into their business model by donating to poverty reduction project through a Bali-based foundation. You can their full list of Australian stockists on the website, as well as their online store.
Byron Bay-based Madonna Bain designs and sells a range of gorgeous handmade lingerie using the highest quality sustainable fibers, focused on silks and organic cotton. The designer still hand-makes many of the styles herself, while other items in the range are ethically produced in Indonesia, where the designer works closely with the small factory to ensure that manufacturing upholds her ethical framework.
The Fabric Social is an Australian-based fashion social enterprise focused on giving sustainable economic development opportunities to skilled female artisans in conflict-affect Assam province in northern India. Founded by three Australian gender empowerment and human rights specialists, The Fabric Social works with traditional silk and cotton producers and hand-weavers purchasing the fabric that has been traditionally woven by women in this region for eons. The modern trans-seasonal garments are Australian designed, and manufactured by a Fairtrade supplier in Kolkata. The ultimate slow fashion company, garments are made on demand, so customers must be willing to plan ahead and wait for their purchases. But they will be rewarded with a beautiful piece of clothing that will offer effortless style that endures from year to year.
If you are looking for gorgeous eco-friendly threads for the modern style-conscious yogi, you need look no further than Surrender Apparel. Surrender Apparel’s active wear garments are made with biodegradable fibers and dyed with natural plant dyes. The range is ethically produced in Indonesia.
For comfortable footwear that is kind to both people and planet, Etiko is my go-to brand. They have a range of sneakers, thongs (which is the Australian slang for flip-flops), and slip-on canvas shoes that are perfect for casual style. The shoes are made with organic cotton and sustainable natural rubber. They are also pioneers in this space. They began production in 2005 and they were the first non-food brand in the Australia/New Zealand/ Pacific region to get Fairtrade certification and the first sustainable shoe brand in the region.
An Australian made eco-fashion brand, Avila make versatile clothing that double as activewear and casual wear, producing comfortable, versatile and stylish garments that you will get plenty of use out of. Lunch date after your yoga class? No need to pack a change of clothes. Avila garment can go straight from the mat to the street without you looking like a gym junkie. With garments made from natural eco-conscious textiles, including merino, modal, linen and others, this is the just the kind of activewear style that can have me hooked.
Australian-made Shapes in the Sand Swimwear produce a lovely range of sustainable swimwear for both women and men using recycled nylon and polyester. The range includes bikinis and one pieces (and boardies for men), but only in sizes from Australian 6-12 (which fit extra small – medium, equivalent to about US 2-6), so the range is unfortunately not inclusive of all body types. But if you happen to fit their range, they are well worth checking out.
Do you have any favourite Australian sustainable fashion brands that I’ve missed?
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