eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-fashion designers, eco-fashion labels, Australia, New Zealand

ECO-FASHION DOWN UNDER

Australia and New Zealand’s ethical clothing industry may be small but it’s gaining traction, thanks to the involvement of Ethical Clothing Australia, a government-funded initiative that seeks to make “Australian-made” synonymous with “fairly made,” and Fairwear, a network of community organizations and activists who are working to eliminate worker exploitation in the domestic clothing industry. You may not find much on the main street, but independent boutiques such as Gorman in Victoria brim with a greener modus operandi, whether it’s by supporting the local garment industry or helping disadvantaged communities in Bangladesh and Africa.

Although relatively unknown in America, Canada, and the United Kingdom, our Antipodean counterparts have made great strides in raising public consciousness in the Southern Hemisphere.

Although neither country has an annual “eco-fashion week,” Melbourne’s recent spring events featured myriad exhibitions, seminars, and talks about green fashion. The desire to do better by the planet and its people has taken on a life of its own, with community projects such as The Stitchery in Brisbane and Thread Den in Melbourne hosting sewing workshops, fashion swaps, and discussions on how to “make do and mend.”

Although relatively unknown in America, Canada, and the United Kingdom, our Antipodean counterparts have made great strides in raising public consciousness in the Southern Hemisphere—enough, in fact, for a dedicated eco-fashion magazine like Peppermint to gain an audience. “I believe there is an obvious push towards a more conscious and considerate buying decisions by consumers and with this, the better and more responsive ethical fashion will be,” Alex Trimmer, co-founder of Sosume, tells Ecouterre.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-fashion designers, eco-fashion labels, Australia, New Zealand

STARFISH

A pioneer in every sense of the word, Starfish was one of the first significant fashion labels in New Zealand to design with sustainable principles in mind. From humble beginnings at a market stall in the ’90s, founder Laurie Foon has since established several nationwide boutiques featuring kindred brands from around the world.

+ Starfish

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-fashion designers, eco-fashion labels, Australia, New Zealand

KOWTOW

With Kowtow, designer Gosia Piatek has distilled the essence of New Zealand casual cool. A member of the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand, Kowtow uses only 100 percent fair-trade, organic cotton to craft a series of wardrobe “building blocks” for layering with ease.

+ Kowtow

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-fashion designers, eco-fashion labels, Australia, New Zealand

GINGER AND SMART

Founded by sisters Alexandra and Genevieve Smart, Australian-made label Ginger & Smart has graced many a Sydney Fashion Week catwalk. The cult favorite, which was recently accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia, juxtaposes bold prints with delicate, flowing natural fabrics such as cashmere, silk, and fine cotton.

+ Ginger & Smart

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-fashion designers, eco-fashion labels, Australia, New Zealand

SKINNY NELSON

From Melbourne comes Skinny Nelson, a fresh, youthful label by designers Jacqui Alexander and Zachery Midalia. Each collection features natural and organic fabrics, with designs that focus less on being trendy than standing the test of time.

+ Skinny Nelson

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-fashion designers, eco-fashion labels, Australia, New Zealand

BHALO

Perth may be the only major western Australian city for miles, but designer Jessica Preimus of Bhalo does not consider the geographical isolation a handicap. Tapping into Bangladesh’s talented hand-weavers and embroiderers, the label blends modern silhouettes with ancient craftsmanship, all while holding fast to an ethos of handmade over mass-manufactured.

+ Bhalo

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-fashion designers, eco-fashion labels, Australia, New Zealand

ONE COLOUR

Based in Brisbane, One Colour founder Di Stitt recently expanded her successful T-shirt label to include a womenswear range. Stitt works with several artisan cooperatives in Kenya to build livelihoods and encourage sustainable trade. “Knowing that the tailors receive a living wage has been paramount to establishing the label,” she tells Ecouterre.

+ One Colour