With our focus on sustainability this month, we look at Australian fashion brands with great sustainability credentials and have visited the good on youÒ website to pull out a selection of their best rated brands.
Good on you rate brands against the following criteria:
- People – how well brands ensure workers’ rights are protected across the supply chain, including child labour, safety and living wage.
- Planet – how brands are dealing with environmental impacts of their clothing, including carbon emissions, water, and chemical use.
- Animals – how well a brand traces its use of animal products as well as its use of exotic animals, leather etc.
They use a 5-step rating system, ‘great’, ‘good’, ‘it’s a start’, ‘not good enough’ and ‘we avoid’. We have picked out six that rank in the great category.
1. Monsoon Blooms
Selling Fairtrade organic cotton underwear, loungewear and basics for men, women and babies, this Australian online retailer and wholesaler has a near perfect rating. They use only plant-based dyes. Their organic cotton is grown by small scale farmers and garments manufactured in a production facility in the south of India, where employees are paid a living wage, above the Fairtrade requirements.
Founded by Melbourne designer Kalaurie Karl-Crooks, they produce made-to-order pieces from their seasonless collections. Each item in their collection uses surplus fabrics and trims that are no longer wanted by other brands. Their philosophy is that pieces are timeless and should be treasured for a lifetime, passing through many hands. They even offer a garment repair service.
Also based in Melbourne and founded in 2017 by Courtney Holm. A.BCH describes itself as a circular fashion label. Most of the fibres in their clothing are plant based, but they do offer wool from Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) certified producers (no mulesing). They have a strong commitment to using organic, up cycled or renewable raw materials and to using suppliers who have carbon neutral operations and fair work conditions. Garments are manufactured in Australia.
With a tagline of “wear no evil” Etiko, a casual clothing and footwear brand set out their sustainability credentials straight off the bat. Founded in 2005, etiko is derived from the Greek word meaning ‘ethical’. They have a store in Melbourne’s trendy suburb of Brunswick, sell online and offer wholesale and custom printing. All their clothing is certified Fairtrade and organic. They even have a take-back program for their sneakers and thongs.
5. Charlee Swim
The Sunshine Coast is an ideal place to base your sustainable swimwear brand and Charlee Swim has done just that. A family run business based in Noosa Heads, they are committed to transparency as well as ethical and sustainable sourcing. They use a unique fabric from Italian company ECONYLÒ, which is made from regenerated materials, including old fishing nets, carpets and industrial plastic rescued from landfill and oceans.
6. Aster & Oak
Based in Western Australia and offering beautiful organic baby and kidswear, Aster & Oak use only certified organic cotton and natural based dyes. All their packaging is sustainable and compostable, and they are working towards zero waste. They track their products from the soil the cotton is grown in, to the products reaching the customer’s door and only work with manufacturers who provide fair and safe working conditions.
Sadly, it is only niche Australian brands that have so far got the ‘great’ rating from good on youÒ most of which have been founded with sustainability credentials embedded in their DNA. For more established and bigger fashion brands, including global behemoths, most rate either ‘it’s a start’ or ‘not good enough’. As sustainability and ethical sourcing become increasingly important to today’s younger consumer, we can only hope that these brands place more importance on the impacts on both people and planet that their businesses have.