Sustainability is one of this generation’s most-used buzzwords and it is being used more and more in the Australian fashion industry. Socal media has had a great part in exposing exploitative manufacturing methods and the shocking wastage that goes into clothing production. While fast fashion has a permanent place in the clothing market, the good new’s is today’s consumers are now giving more thought to the ethical production and sustainability practices of the brands they purchase. We’ve rounded up five of our favourite Australian fashion brands who are committed to sustainability.
This sustainable fashion label was founded in 2002 by Sydney based sisters Alexandra and Genevieve Smart. Ginger & Smart subscribe to a ‘slow fashion’ ethos that concentrates on quality and longevity over quantity. They strive to produce high-quality, timeless designs with an intent to be worn many times. Ginger & Smart describe their brand as a “Committed advocate of socially responsible business initiatives”.
Where possible, they source fabrics that are recyclable and biodegradable. They minimise the use of harmful chemicals and excessive water usage and waste in the production of garments and milling of their fabrications.
The ethos of this ethically accredited brand believe ‘design should always be imbued with integrity’. The Ark was awarded ethical accreditation in 2010 by the ECA (Ethical Clothing Australia), to acknowledge that all staff, from designers to manufacturers and everyone in between, collaborate to produce clothes that are made in an ethical supply chain.
This Melbourne-based brand is dedicated to supporting the health, growth and development of the fashion industry in Australia, and use Australian suppliers and manufacturers.
Salt Gypsy is a curated surf boutique located in Byron Bay. It is an independent women’s sustainable surfwear brand, run by creator Danielle Clayton. The brand is “committed to developing a closed loop system using repolymerised waste materials in our ocean activewear and supporting the slow fashion movement”.
The product line is made from a 100% regenerated nylon yarn called ECONYL®. As it is a regenerated nylon made from waste, Econyl performs the same as nylon, is longer lasting and more durable, with responsible manufacturing here in Australia. Salt Gypsy’s packaging is biodegradable.
James & Co. was founded in 2012 by Anne Hurley. James & Co is the vegan fashion brand for high fashion eco-friendly vegan outerwear and accessories, primarily leather-look jackets, belts and gloves. James&Co was founded on the belief “that women shouldn’t have to sacrifice their looks or style in order to live ethically and compassionately”.
The brand is Peta-approved Vegan and a Peta Business Friend, and believe in ‘supply chain transparency’. Their products are manufactured overseas under a strict Supplier Code of Conduct.
Sydney based fashion designer Kit Willow started her brand KITX with the intention to prove materials can be sourced consciously and responsibly, without compromising the appeal of a fashion brand. KITX is commited to the traceability of all organically certified materials used in production, and working with materials whose manufacture and processing is not damaging or contaminating the environment.
The brand’s ethos is “to create as minimal environmental impact as possible whilst offering unique pieces with wearable sensibility. Each piece is carefully constructed from consciously sourced or recycled fabrics in ethical working conditions”.
The brand states its support of the 10 principles as defined by the United Nations Global Compact, and adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies. THe UN Global Compact is a principle-based framework for businesses, stating ten principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption.