6 of the best Australian Sustainable Fashion Brands

By Bern Beyhaut

Here's a round up of our favourite eco fashion brands.

As consumers, there is no doubt that our purchasing power is stronger and louder than ever, changing altogether the way business operates. The apparel industry is riddled with dirty laundry. But as more and more people are becoming aware of this, they are opting for sustainable alternatives, willing to spend an extra buck for high-quality, eco-friendly collections that are kind to the planet and without sacrificing on style.

If you're making the shift to a more sustainable wardrobe, read on!

 

1. OSSOM

Ethically and sustainably handmade in Australia and Ukraine, Ossom is a story about respect to woman and Mother Earth.

Ossom is a sustainable slow-fashion brand of basic apparel ethically handmade from premium linen with love to every women. 75% of their range is handmade in Darwin, Australia by Olga Bryukhovets (founder of Ossom, seamstress, mother and enterpreneur). The other 25% is ethically handmade in Ukraine.

At Ossom style is not something that is related to seasons and trends - the hallmark of OSSOM is to create affordable, high-quality basic pieces that will always be in favour!

Being sustainable for Ossom starts by choosing high quality fabrics - they source their fabrics all over the world in order to maximise both uniqueness and quality, controlling volumes of production by implementing the “made to order” concept, in order to reduce the amount of manufacturing leftovers as well as upcycling scraps.

Ossom also works with the precious hand-printed fabrics from local Aboriginal artists and has won a prize in the Get It On competition, organised by Injalak Arts – a well-known producer of Aboriginal printed cottons and linens. 

Shop Ossom

 

1. GYRE SWIMWEAR

Gyre is a brand that seeks to bring beautiful, chic and sustainable pieces to the discerning buyer, making no substitute for quality or trade off for sustainability.

The Gyre collection is purposefully designed to be timeless. We believe that a big part of creating with sustainability in mind is producing styles with longevity - something that you will hold onto, an investment piece. 

Their materials must meet our requirements of premium quality and sourced from certified origins - everything down to selecting stronger threads, elastics and fastenings. It is important to Gyre that the fabric selection of their collections focuses on natural, low impact fibers. 

All their products are ethically handmade in Australia by Elena, Founder and Creative Director of Gyre. Their pieces are cut from the silkiest soft swimwear fabrics made out of 78% recycled ocean waste (sourced from Italian manufacturer Carvico) and, for womenswear collection, EcoTex certified linen and silk satin.

Gyre's philosophy is all about integrity, sustainability and inclusivity. 

Shop GYRE

 

3. SLLO

SLLO is an Australian brand that has made an unwavering commitment to sustainable and ethical practices within all elements of their process. They believe that living a sustainable lifestyle shouldn’t be a luxury, and that is something we fully back!

SLLO's manufacturers are based in Melbourne and shine for their ethical and sustainability standards. Their bag fabrics are all GRS certified which ensures standards of Recycled Content, chain of custody, social and environmental practices, and chemical restrictions. Their 100% organic cotton t-shirts are from continental clothing co who are a fair wear leader, GOTS certified and PETA approved Vegan. If this wasn't enough, the manufacturers that make SLLO's products provide and facilitate employment to refugees, migrants and seekers of asylum.

SLLO's goal is to provide clothing and accessories which are completely ethical and sustainable. From the initial stages of fabric manufacturing, all the way to packaging and sending the products to you (they use Hero Packaging as well as fully recyclable mailing boxes)

Shop SLLO

4. SEA URCHIN DESIGN

Sea Urchin Design offers a distinctly unique collection that tells the story and celebrates their island home: Tasmania. Their products are handcrafted at their beachside studio using Eco Friendly practices the old fashioned way; original art screen-printed by hand using Eco inks free from harmful solvents on beautiful natural fabrics such as Linen and cottons. 

Catering for all men, women and baby, their apparel breathes and lives Tassie Culture. From Park Beach, Dodges Ferry in SE Tasmania, fondly known as the Mecca Bowl in the 70s to our all-time favourite Tasmanian devil, Sea Urchin's designs and artwork is all about Tasmanian heritage. 

Shop Sea Urchin Design

 

5. ESSEN The Label

ESSEN is a permanent collection of no-compromise essentials – comfortable,
reimagined classics that are ethically made.

All ESSEN shoes are designed and developed in Melbourne and entirely handmade in Italy, Portugal and Spain. They’re limited releases, created in small production runs or exclusively made-to-order. Their shoes reflect longevity through superior craftsmanship and exceptional fit. They work with local,
family-run factories that have been making shoes for generations. They are
responsible for the long-lasting constructions of every pair Essen makes. From the leather selection, the engineering of the lasts, the pattern cuts and the hand finishing of the shoes; our entire range is handmade by people who care about every single pair produced. They’ve become close friends and are involved in every point in the process.

With every sale, Essen donates to a number of different causes. One of those is ‘Clean the Sea’ by the SeaBin Project which removes floating plastics as small as 2mm and filters 600,000L of water per day from oil and surface pollutants. 

Marre Muijs, Essen's Founder, visits the factories frequently, official social audits get performed and reported each year and proof of collection of industrial wastes and recycling is also provided also.

Shop ESSEN

 

6. ICEBREAKER

Driven by the belief that nature has the solutions, Icebreaker provides natural performance alternatives to synthetic based apparel to create a healthier more sustainable future for our species and the planet.

Sustainability isn’t just a feature of Icebreaker's products, it’s in the values and design of their business. In Jeremy Moon's own words, "Icebreaker's challenge wasn't just how to make a natural product - it was how to build a natural company from the foundation up". 

Nature tends to be guided by three distinct rules: ADAPTATION, SYMBIOSIS and SUSTAINABILITY. And they believe that these are also the ideal principles from which to build the foundation of their organisation. Learn more about the Icebreaker way here.

Their extensive range is an ode to life outside. From everyday lifestyle apparel, to activity specific technical garment for snow sports, training, and hiking to mention a couple, Icebreaker is here to help you move to natural, both in life and in fashion.

Shop ICEBREAKER

 

6. CITIZEN WOLF

Did you know that two-thirds of all clothing simply does not need to be made? That's why Citizen Wolf believes that true sustainability is made on-demand. Re-engineering tees to save our planet, they are using Magic Fit®, their award winning algorithm that creates a 94% accurate model of your body using only your height + weight + age, plus bra for women. 

As a result of the Australian bushfire crisis, Citizen Wolf pledged to 5x their carbon offsets for 2020, making their Tees proudly carbon negative and every single Tee made this year will sequester 11.6 kg CO2 in the forests of Tasmania via the New Leaf Project, a Tasmanian biodiversity project that aims to rewild 27,390 hectares of different forest back to high quality wildlife habitat.

Off-cut fabric waste is also a BIG issue in the fashion industry. But instead of landfilling it (like other factories), Citizen Wolf upcycles every single off-cut into their famous Zero Waste collection.

For Citizen Wolf ethical production is mandatory, being proudly Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA) certified and opting-in to the Modern Slavery Act to start the process of eliminating exploitation throughout all tiers of our supply chain. Their merino wool is also Responsible Wool Standard certified and cruelty-free, sourced only from non-mulesed Australian sheep.

Typically, apparel manufacturing process to touch 5+ different countries, spewing unnecessary carbon in the process. In response to this Citizen Wolf has built the shortest possible supply chain in the game, with 86% of our fabrics being knitted in one of Australia's last remaining knitting mills in Melbourne.

Shop CITIZEN WOLF

 

 

About the author

With a background in philosophy, creative communications and PR, Bern Beyhaut is passionate about living simply. 


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