Sustainability is absolutely the buzzword of this decade when it comes to fashion. We’re no longer satisfied buying whatever catches our eye and giving no thought to where the materials came from, or how the company conducts it’s business.
Chalk it up to the rise of social media and being able to connect with the entire globe, therefore learning first-hand about shady practices and the immense wastage that can go into fashion production. We’ve got a globe to care for, mates – and that means for many of us, thinking carefully about who we throw cash at has become a priority.
In celebration of World Environment Day (that’s today mates) we rounded up some of our favourite Australian brands that are doing their bit for sustainability.
Reformation has forever been committed to sustainable fashion – using stuff like rescued deadstock fabric and repurposed vintage clothing to form their designs. They’re also big fans of Tencel, a semi-synthetic fibre made from eucalyptus trees which uses five times less land than cotton to produce, and 80% less water to pulp into fibres, viscose and Modal, which are also more environmentally conscious than cotton. Oh, and they publish a quarterly sustainability report to consumers.
This Bondi-based athleisure brand’s Compresslite collection uses 4 recycled plastic bottles per pair of leggings and one per sports bra to create the material that goes into the product. This year alone the brand has saved 94,300 plastic bottles from landfill. The brand also has ashort supply chain, which means garments are produced from raw material to finished product within an 80km radius, leaving its carbon footprint greatly reduced.
This made-to-order knitwear brand focuses on the slow fashion movement, in which products are only made when requested and therefore limits wastage for the company. They also only release two capsule collections a year, with a commitment to products that have longevity in their design – so you’re buying stuff you’ll wear for years, not just one trend season.
This Aussie high fashion label has long been held in high regard in relation to their sustainable practices. They source fabrics that are recyclable and biodegradable, minimise the use of harmful chemicals and excessive water usage/waste in both the production of their clothes and milling of their fabrics.
Salt Gypsy is all about sustainable surf wear. Everything they produce is made from a 100% regenerated nylon yarn which is a longer lasting, more durable recycled nylon lycra and involves responsible manufacturing in Australia. Their packaging is also biodegradable.
Spell make beautiful bohemian clothes – but they’re also committed to fashion sustainability. Their 2025 plan is laid out in detail on their website, comprising of supply chain transparency, sustainable fibre use and environmentally conscious dye and printing practices, to name a few. Currently, they’re already using the ecologically friendly Tencel and Modal fabrics, but are incorporating organic cotton and recycled nylon too. Dye and print-wise, their focus is on responsible water, chemical and energy use.
Bon’s original purpose was to create an excellent line of basic tees that are “unfuckupable” – basically items you can wear dressed up or down, that eternally look amazing. They also have a strong commitment to sustainability. They use certified organic cotton jersey for all of tees and sweaters. Their off-shore fabric is then spun and woven in Australia, with the entire process from spinning through weaving and dyeing eco certified. Lycra made from recycled PET bottles is used for their leggings, and their lining is made from the unused parts of the cotton plant at a factory with near 100% recycling.
A.BCH is a brand that really knows the ins and outs of their product. As they put it in their bio, “every thread, every fibre, every button is accounted for, because we have nothing to hide”. Their products are either biodegradable, recyclable or up-cycled from waste, and they seek out suppliers and partners that are willing to offer supply chain transparency, with a preference for local raw material suppliers, followed by closest proximity suppliers.
KITX bases their eco-friendly and sustainable practices on two pillars – traceability of fibres that go into their fabrics, with a focus on certified organic, renewable natural, and recycled ‘manmade’ fibres, as well as non-hazardous working materials to ensure they’re not damaging the environment.
KOWTOW’s products are entirely created using sustainably and ethically sourced materials. As founder Gosia Piatek puts it, “To me, sustainability is being mindful. First and foremost, it is about making and growing something in an ethical and sustainable manner, or recycling and reusing if not. I also want to make sure that everyone in the production chain is being rewarded fairly for what they do, without being exploited.”
G-Star RAW’s ‘Most Sustainable Jean’ is 98% recyclable, and has Cradle to Cradle Gold Star certification. The jeans are air dried, saving 85% on energy use, and 98% of the water used in production is recycled, with 2% evaporating.
They might be a smaller Aussie label, but Camp Cove are already committed to sustainable and ethical production practices. All their swimwear incorporates recycled materials into the lining, and they work closely with a swimwear machinist on the South Coast to produce the items.
Less of a brand (although they do produce a few items themselves) and more of a hub for lovers of sustainable and ethical fashion, Well Made Clothes stocks a range of Australian and global fashion labels that abide by sustainable and/or ethical practices, meaning you know your items were produced responsibly.Image: Reformation