The global fashion industry is responsible for 10% of the world’s carbon emissions — more than the emissions of all international flights and maritime shipping combined. Annually, the fashion industry contributes 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, so it’s safe to say more needs to be done to reduce this figure, and yesterday.
While there’s still a ways to go to drastically reduce the impact fashion has on the environment, the good news is there are a collection of brands already working towards a more sustainable earth.
Below, we’ve collated a bunch of stylish labels, both Australian and international, doing just that in their own ways.
This is a list we’ll be updating regularly as come across new brands doing awesome things for the environment, so check in regularly or slide into our DMs on Instagram if you have any others to recommend.
Founder Phoebe Yu, a long-time lover of bamboo for its versatility and elegance, began the Ettitude brand after failing to find an affordable, breathable and luxurious textile while shopping for bedding. With sustainability at the forefront, she created the world’s first CleanBamboo™ fabric, which now makes up her collection of bedding, baby wears, and chic sleepwear.
“Our bamboo is 100% sourced from FSC-certified forests as we don’t tolerate any exploitation of resource under our brand. We also are in close relationships with our manufacturing partner to make sure all our products are ethically made,” she says.
Yu puts the climate first in every application of her brand, by using fabric cut-offs for packaging, and supporting like-minded charities and initiatives with shared values. Of all revenue made on organic bamboo lyocell bedding products, 1% is donated to support environmental non-profit organisations. Ettitude also supports One Girl, a non-profit organisation that supports education for girls in Sierra Leone and Uganda.
We’ve previously seen recycled plastic bottled turned into denim, but the latest sustainable initiative from Converse converts cotton waste into shoes.
Made from 30%-40% manufacturing waste canvas and regrind rubber, the Converse Renew Cotton range expands upon the classic Chuck 70s and Chuck Taylor All Stars range. It’s available in stores and online.
The Everlane promise is “exceptional quality, ethical factories and radical transparency”, and this ethos informs all products they design. The brand works only with the best, most ethical factories around the world and source the finest materials that are guaranteed to last, which is a way of sustainable dressing in itself.
The brand caters not to fast fashion dressers with fleeting trends, but for men and women who want to build a wardrobe of wearable staples built to last. Most recently, Everlane has launched its ReNew range; a collection of underwear, jumpers and outerwear made from either 100% regenerated nylon, recycled plastic water bottles, or recycled polyester.
With a focus on transparency, VEJA “combines fair trade and ecology and links together economy, social initiatives and the environment.” You’ll find Veja sneakers at major Australian retailers since the French brand’s vegan shoes are now a staple with their classic look and comfortable fit.
The cute crustaceans featured on Prawn Cocktail‘s handbags are all individually designed and hand-painted by artist Beatrix Rowe. Every single bag listed on the site is sourced second-hand from op-shops around the world, so when you purchase an accessory from Prawn Cocktail, you’re supporting both sustainable fashion and the arts industry. Want a custom design on your bag? Easy, just get in touch to discuss your needs.
Short for essentials, Essen is a Melbourne-based brand that works to combat the impact of fast fashion with sustainably-made shoe silhouettes that transcend trends and last a lifetime. At the time of writing the label has just eight designs available, each of which is hand-crafted in solar-powered family-run factories in Europe in small batches of around 25, which ensures you’re unlikely to see another fashion girl donning the same shoe. As an owner of the Elevated Essential myself, I can attest to the fact the shoes are suited to every outfit and garner new compliments with each wear.
Since it was first created in 2015, Nimble has recycled 828,990 plastic water bottles into the custom-engineered fabrics that make up its activewear ranges. Nimble’s products are also shipped in compostable poly bags made from corn, while the garment’s swing tags made from recycled PET and organic cotton. Even better, they’ve donated $36,562 to protecting Australian reefs and restoring our lands.
Women’s clothing from Reformation takes into consideration the water input, energy input, land use, eco-toxicity, and greenhouse gas emissions when producing their trend-based pieces. Ref garments are made durable and are designed to last with environmentally-friendly materials that include tencel from eucalyptus trees, viscose from wood pulp (from preserved forests), and recycled cashmere.
The KITX promise towards sustainability efforts begins with its sourcing of materials and extends beyond the moment the buyer receives their items with aftercare instructions that prolong the life of the garment. Traceability is key to the label, and they’ll only opt for materials that are certified organic or made from renewable, natural and recycled fibres from fair trade suppliers they deem “adhere to globally recognised social and environmental standards”.
The Iconic: Considered
The Considered edit from online fashion platform The Iconic consists of products the retailer says are “made using a material or process that is better for humans, animals or the environment, or made by a brand that is positively contributing to the community around us”. Whether it’s clothes that are made from low-impact materials, have eco-production credentials, or are made from non-animal alternatives, the Considered range takes into account the impact fast fashion has and is working to combat this in as many ways as possible.
Slow fashion is at the core of the Saroka brand, founded by Melbourne designer Melinda Andaloro in 2015. The label hand-makes each garment upon order to eliminate fabric and stock waste and employs only Melbourne dressmakers to craft the pieces with premium fabrics like biodegradable linen and hand-sewn finishes.
Through sustainably focused collections and artisan initiatives, NAGNATA “aims to redefine value and challenge the rampant consumerism engendered by fast fashion”. The Byron Bay-based label uses only certified organic cotton free from synthetic pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and fertilisers, which also makes for a more breathable fabric for workout wear. What’s more, you’ll never see Nagnata garments on sale — the brand does not believe clothes lose value at the end of a three-month cycle.