5 sustainable & ethical Australian & New Zealand brands to look out for

Designers no longer have an excuse for not using alternative materials as technology is constantly improving" - Rachel Cassar, Sustainable Designer

The fashion industry in general is not known for being very sustainable or ethical, but thankfully there are many working in the industry trying to change that.

Today I'd like to highlight 5 Australian & New Zealand brands, who I came to learn about at the Clean Cut sustainable fashion showcase in April this year. The brands that participated in the Clean Cut event were chosen for their stunning aesthetic alongside strong sustainable production practices.

Every time we spend our money we are casting a vote for the kind of world we want to live in. Spend mindfully! Become an informed and conscious consumer by researching the environmental, and ethical attributes or problems of the things you want to buy before you go shopping.

1. The Social Studio

Based in Melbourne, Victoria, it is a creative space and community hub dedicated to creating training and employment opportunities in fashion for talented young people from refugee backgrounds. All their garments are ethically made using only reclaimed and up-cycled materials gathered from the local fashion industry, and they are certified by Ethical Clothing Australia.

What you're paying for - Sustainable and ethical casual/dressy wear, made in Australia from recycled materials. ($-$)

2. Bhalo

An Australian ethical fashion label produced in rural Bangladesh. Designs limited edition women's clothing and accessories, made from ethically hand woven and hand embroidered cotton fabrics. Bhalo (the Bengali word for 'good') is primarily focused on honorable working conditions and community development, working only with fair trade producers in rural communities.

What you're paying for - ethical fashion made by hand using a number of 'slow' production techniques like hand-loomed cotton fabrics which have almost zero CO2 footprint. ($-$)

3. Desert Designs

Have created a completely handmade-in-Australia collection, titled 'The Collector's Collection', which utilises the label's vast archive of vintage fabrics from the 1980s.

What you're paying for -

'The collector's collection' is made in Australia, using unique vintage printed fabrics rather then from new materials. ($)

4. KowTow

Launched in 2007 in Wellington, New Zealand, after sourcing a manufacturer in India that only worked with 100% fair trade organic cotton. Kowtow's focus is on ethics and strong design using only premium certified fair trade organic cotton dyed free of hazardous elements such as formaldehyde, pesticides and other metals (approved by GOTS).

What you're paying for - Certified fair trade organic clothing that is ethically and sustainably made from seed to garment. ($)

5. Rachael Cassar

Sydney based womens-wear designer creating forward thinking sustainable high-end fashion. She describes her line as semi couture creations for the creative hearts. Cassar uses the process of deconstruction to create garments that are 'one offs' comprised of 90% recycled materials . Her luxurious eco designs have been worn by Rhianna, Kristen Stewart, Ginnifer Goodwin, Christina Ricci, Tarryn Manning, Kerri Underwood, Kesha, Selena Gomez, Angela Lindvill to name a few.

What you're paying for - high-end, sustainable and ethical couture made from recycled materials. Unique pieces for special occasions. ($)

Bronte Hogarth Digital Strategy and Communications Suggest an article Send us an email

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