The fashion industry is the second biggest polluter in the world after big oil, and that’s largely (if not entirely) thanks to fast fashion. If you think you can keep bagging a bargain, wearing it a few times and donating it to Good Sammy’s, think again—only about 25% of donated clothes actually get resold, so, unfortunately, that solution just won’t fly anymore.
It’s time to start investing in pieces you actually love and want to wear over and over again, clothes that will stand the test of time. So next time your wardrobe is in dire need of an update, check out these sustainable fashion brands and shop guilt free.
After a small break to reassess the business, Arnsdorf reappeared on the fashion scene in 2016 with a whole new – and refreshingly sustainable – business model. The company has its own factory in Melbourne so that owner, Jade Sarita Arnott, can oversee every stage of the process and ensure the highest quality clothing, not to mention ethical treatment of the people making them. All their fabric is sourced from sustainable and transparent suppliers, and lucky for you that translates to comfortable and luxurious clothing made from bamboo, silk, organic cotton, hemp and the like. Arnsdorf also offers free alterations and lifetime repairs, so you’ll truly wear these pieces for years if not decades.
With the realisation of damage the fashion Industry is impacting on the world, with mass waste and land fills, Cleonie Swim is one label winding back the clock on their production line. Since the beginning, Cleonie has focused on supplying sustainable and all-Australian products to the world. The brand cuts and sews each order as it is placed, lowering the amount of waste in materials, and any excess stock.
For Cleonie Swim’s latest 2020 collection, Kitty collaborated with artist Bonnie Gray on a line inspired by tropical summers, 90’s memories, pink flamingos, fruit smoothies and deep pockets filled with honest heart joys.
Check out their latest collection here.
Sustainable fabrics only? Check. A more-than-sound environmental policy? Check. Ethically made? Check. Killer clothes you’ll want to wear forever? Check. Kowtow ticks all the boxes and more when it comes to sustainable fashion. They’ll even take your clothes back and find new life for them if you do ever get sick of them (hint: not likely). These guys are based in New Zealand and ship to Australia but their apparel is stocked in over 30 stores throughout Australia if shopping in a real-life store is more your thing.
Spell & The Gypsy Collective
Seen on every free-spirited influencer in Australia, whether you love them or not, there’s no denying that Spell & The Gypsy Collective has been a key player in the sustainable fashion movement. Founders Isabella and Elizabeth publish an annual impact report on their website which gives customers insight into their supply chain, carbon footprint, social advocacy programs and more. Last year, 100% of their domestic energy use came from renewable energy sources, impressive huh?
Not only is Outland Denim making top quality jeans for both guys and girls, but they’re also doing it sustainably and all while fighting the human trafficking industry. Outland Denim’s Founder, James, learned that a sustainable career path is essential for recovery after rescue from trafficking, so he set up The Denim Project. There they now employ over 70 vulnerable women and provide them with training and employment.
These guys also pay a premium for carbon neutral deliveries of your online orders and still manage to offer free shipping to you on orders over $250. Next time you need a pair of jeans, you know what to do.
If you’re looking for beautiful basics that won’t cost the earth (literally or figuratively), Organic Crew is where you should start. They’ve got everything from PJs to dresses, all made from organic cotton that is produced in India and turned into clothes in their Melbourne based factory. Founder Mel worked in the corporate fashion world for years before getting fed up with a system that put dollar signs before wellbeing, but it was the documentary The True Cost that really sparked the fire she needed to go ahead and get Organic Crew off the ground.
Patagonia might not be in the business of cutting edge fashion but it’s basically the Godfather of sustainable clothing and they do killer basics and activewear, so go on and give them a look in.
Since the 1970s, Patagonia has been donating 10% of its profits (or 1% of sales, whichever is larger) to small, grassroots environmental organisations who actually make a difference. They’ve been using recycled fabrics for decades and made the switch to organic cotton way back in the 90s. I could go on (and on and on) but hopefully you get the picture by now, and if you do want to know more, Patagonia lays it all out for you right here.
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