We’ve all heard the stats about the environmental impact of the fashion industry, and the tide is turning away from environmentally destructive fast fashion towards a more considered approach – with sites such as Depop helping to extend the lifetime of clothes, and brands such as Glassons turning their attention to reshaping the way they produce.
As the founders of ethical hemp based clothing brand Terra The Label explained to us, a sustainable approach to fashion starts with understanding yourself – knowing how you like to dress, and ensuring that you only buy items that you love. Similarly, when we asked the founders of sustainable footwear brand TWOOBS for tips on building a sustainable wardrobe, they told us “Wear what you already own”.
Really, rethinking the items you own or shopping second hand is the most sustainable way forward. But for those of you who have exhausted your own items and the op shops, we’ve put together a round-up of the socially and environmentally conscious brands making comfy, timeless pieces to add to your winter wardrobe.
Our forever-favourite for eco-friendly adventure gear. If it’s time to invest in a new winter jacket, vest or fleece, Zorali is your best bet – sustainably made and super stylish adventure gear that’s designed to last, with ten trees planted for every product sold.
This female founded company is dedicated to empowering women, both with beautiful knitwear and with meaningful employment and education. The timeless cardigans from Cardi & Co are handmade from natural, re-purposed fibres by a team of talented knitters located in Australia, New Zealand and India (their Indian artisans employed through B Corp certified social enterprise KOCO). With a focus on slow fashion, Cardi & Co consider their environmental impact at every stage of production, with waste reduction strategies in place at every stage of production, from sourcing repurposed natural fibres to packaging their garments in 100% biodegradable packaging.
For an ethically made denim jacket or pair of jeans, turn to Melbourne based brand Nobody Denim. Their collection of infinitely stylish apparel is produced across their Melbourne and Fiji factories, both regularly audited to ensure they’re meeting social and sustainable goals, producing with minimal environmental impact and having a positive impact on employees and their community.
As we learnt through our conversation with the team at Citizen Wolf, this Sydney based brand opens the doors of its St Peters factory to the public, going one step further when it comes to transparent production methods. The custom made t-shirts and turtlenecks are perfect for layering, and the simple styles mean they’ll last season after season.
The knitwear collection from this Melbourne born brand is a feast for the eyes – a glorious range of sweaters, cardigans and coats all made according to ELK’s sustainable production principles, which they improve upon every year through their annual transparency reports. Their commitment to sustainability covers everything from electricity (they’ve installed solar panels across their buildings) to packaging (in 2020 99% of their packaging was recyclable or compostable) to charitable aid (in 2020 they donated to causes ranging from bushfire relief to UNICEF).
From their Daylesford factory, Farm To Hanger make simple, natural-fibre clothing through a zero plastic, zero waste, closed loop, cruelty free production system– ticking all of the boxes for ethical, eco-friendly essentials. Their Eco Active Yoga Pants are the dream winter pants, and for each purchase, the From Farm To Hanger team plant a tree through their partnership with Greenfleet.
Acala Stem uses uniquely soft, lightweight and durable lotus stem fabric to make 100% plant-based, biodegradable products in a production process that involves no electricity, gas, oil, or water. Through their ongoing social impact partnership with a Cambodian textile social enterprise, Acala Stem is responsible for empowering women to work from home, allowing them to be financially independent (and present at home to and connected with their families). If you’re looking for a low environmental impact, high social impact scarf this winter season, look no further.
From their work room on the NSW coast, this family run business makes soft, long-lasting knitwear and basics from ethically sourced merino wool. Their oversize pullovers are a perfect winter wardrobe addition, and their wool robes ideal for indoor winter warmth.
Always funky, always forward thinking, the “Earth To Sky” range from Sydney based social enterprise The Social Outfit reflects their signature statement style, with sustainability and social responsibility incorporated unquestionably as always. By shopping with The Social Outfit, you’re supporting refugees who are given rewarding employment opportunities through the brand. You’re also in the market for bold, high-quality statement pieces – their bumblebee pullover is the dream winter jumper.
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