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5 Ethical Australian Fashion Labels You Need to Know About

I adore op-shopping, always have and always will. I’ve loved op shopping since I was wee brat on the hippie streets of Lismore (try not to hold it against me) all the way up to now as an ‘adult’ (still a brat though)

It’s safe to say that I’ve hunted down second hand shopping in every country I have ever visited. From Spanish and Parisian flea markets, to London, Phnom Penh, Tokyo, Vancouver, Las Vegas and New York thriftstores, just to list a few.

Basically my thrifting game is strong…

I’ve always loved second hand shopping for the story and the ‘thrill of the hunt’. I conjure up romantic past life stories of each thrifted piece and take pride in telling my friends where I bought my clothes.

It’s rare that I buy brand new (bar underwear duh) so when I do, I want my clothing to have a story. Where did it come from? Who made it? What is it made from? That, as well as the obvious reasons that they are produced in a sustainable and ethical way is why I try my hardest to only buy from the best ethical Australian brands.

I’ve had loads of requests regarding the local brands that I shop and stand by, and I have chosen the following 5 brands not only for how lovely their collections are, but because of their story and mission.

The Social Outfit

The Social outfit is an amazing clothing brand/organisation that produces unique and bold pieces that are made from digitally printed silk and excess donated fabric from the fashion industry. The clothing is sewn and manufactured in a back room in store where you can literally peek through and see the talented team working away. You can’t get more transparent than that!

Because many of the pieces are made from donated fabrics, each collection is limited edition making your purchase unique and one of a kind. The clothing is made by new migrants and refugees living in refugee communities in Sydney. When you purchase from the Social Outfit, not only are you wearing a super cool piece, you’re also contributing to a fair wage, training and a secure job for the workers.

Their one of a kind prints produced by Australian designers here in Australia, are bold, bright and very Gorman esque but without the unethical (and overpriced for no good reason) reputation. I’ve adored the Gorman style but upon discovering Gorman’s lack of transparency I am no longer the loyal customer I once was. Why on earth would I pay $200 plus for a skirt of low quality, produced internationally, by a brand that refuses to be transparent with their customers, when I can buy a gorgeous one of a kind piece from The Social Outfit with an awesome story?

So if you’re like me and have been looking for that Gorman alternative, then look no further, because these cool cats are the real deal and their designs are a million times better than those of Gorman. (Soz not soz Gorman!)

Abbey Rich

Is a cute and quirky north Melbourne designer who hand makes each and every piece from the scratchiest of scratch! Yep, she designs and hand prints all of the fabric herself. She even sews everything herself so you know that each piece is a labour of love. Everything is made to order ensuring fabric is used as efficiently as possible with very little waste.

Although the fabric used isn’t re-purposed or recycled, her collection is small and made to last, so your special purchase will be a longstanding part of your wardrobe for years and years to come!

If you love your big bold pastel prints, then Abbey Rich designs are right up your alley!


Vege Threads

Vege Threads is another lovely Australian designed and manufactured clothing brand from, yep you guessed it, sunny Melbourne. Their beautiful pieces are all made from natural and 100% organic fabrics, ensuring minimal environmental impact. Their goal is to have as little impact on the earth as possible, with plant dyed silk and yoga wear rather than the nasty chemicals that pollute our waterways through traditional forms of dying.

Like Abbey Rich and the Social Outfit, Vege threads produce their clothing with limited runs every season to ensure waste and unwanted stock is kept to a minimum. Vege Threads are continuously looking for smarter and more environmentally friendly ways to run their business, from the general production right down to their use of packaging.

So if you love stylish, high quality basics that look and feel great then you need to check out Vege Threads! They are the go to for that super comfy, cotton jumpsuit or your classic white tee!

Organic Tee Dress

Carlie Ballard

Ok, I know I’ve rattled on about Carlie Ballard before, but it’s with very good reason. Each and every Carlie Ballard piece is made with absolute and utter love and care, all the way from the hand loom (hand woven) fabrics to the post sale advice.

Although not manufactured here in Australia, Carlie Ballard truly values and supports the talented workers of her Lucknow India workshop. The workers are ensured fair pay, excellent working conditions and consistent training. They work 5 x 8 hours days plus overtime, flexible working hours, interest free loans, financial support for training and education, paid study leave, literacy classes and the list goes on!

When you purchase a Carlie Ballard garment, not only are you contributing to a fair and better life for Indian garment workers, you’re also buying 100% organic and hand woven fabrics minimizing the carbon footprint. The Carlie Ballard style is relaxed casual yet stylishly classy all at the same time. So do yourself a favor and check out her collection!

Limited number of our DESTINATION Jumpsuit arriving end of this month. To ensure delivery before Christmas drop us an email to pre order. ✖️✖️ #artisan #ikat #jumpsuit #India #carlieballard #ethical #sustainablefashion

Camp Cove Swim

Camp Cove is a beautiful and ethically manufactured swimwear brand from Sydney. Every piece just oozes nostalgia with their adorable, one of a kind retro prints and styles. (Hands down the most flattering high waisted swimmers I have worn) All of their fabrics are printed and designed in Sydney making them 100% exclusive to the Camp Cove brand, meaning you won’t find your one of a kind print anywhere else! Not only is the swimwear locally made and printed they also incorporate recycled fabrics into the lining of all their swimsuits.

It’s safe to say that I am obsessed with Camp Cove swimwear, so if you’re looking for a pair of togs this summer that are all things ethical, seriously, look no further because Camp Cove are simply adorable.


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Have you cottoned on yet?

Image result for organic cotton

I don’t know about you but I never really understood why people have always harped on about organic cotton. It’s always just seemed quite wanky and pretentious to me. Nobody eats cotton (well no one I know anyways) so what’s the big deal if the cotton we buy isn’t organic? And to be honest with you, I very rarely go out of my way to buy organic fruits and veg. Does that make me a bad vegetarian?

I so badly want to be one of those beautiful, hipped out humans, with long luxurious hair, who wander the local farmers market filling their hessian bag with organic, seasonal fruits and veg. But alas I am not, so it never really made much sense to ensure my wardrobe was full to the brim of organic, cotton everything.

It’s funny to think that something as lovely and comforting as cotton could have such a dark effect on people’s lives and the environment. Not to sound dramatic, but the wool or should I say cotton, has really been pulled over our eyes on this one.

To give you some background, cotton is grown in over 100 countries with the leading cotton growing contenders being China, USA, India, Pakistan and Brazil and is apparently responsible for a whopping 11% of the total production of pesticides in the world and 24% of the worlds insecticides. (source – The EJE Foundation)

Let’s talk pesticides. Ok, you’ve heard it all before, pesticides are bad. Sure they serve their purpose in allowing for the mass production of crops, but very simply, over exposure to pesticides is not good. They are mostly bad for the underpaid farmers that are exposed to them everyday, their families and the environment in which the cotton is grown. As a crop, conventional cotton requires the largest amount of pesticides out of ANY crops grown non-organically. Many of the chemicals used were originally developed as toxic nerve agents during World War 2. You know, the shit developed to kill people? Terminate? End lives? That’s the shit many conventional cotton farmers and their communities are exposed to everyday to grow cotton for the western world.

You can probably guess the effect that that kind of exposure has on a human being. Over exposure to harmful pesticides causes’ infertility, birth defects, cancer and the list continues. In fact this is evident throughout various farming communities across India where children are born with physical deformities and mental retardation’s.

Pesticides also have a harmful effect on the environment, (surprise, surprise) poisoning water sources, damaging ecosystems and of course killing wildlife. If that isn’t enough, 250,000 Indian cotton farmers have committed suicide over the last 15 years due to the economic hardship caused by massive amounts of debt from buying and maintaining the crops from genetically modified cotton seeds from Monsanto, along with a major lack of governmental support and appropriate compensation from the Indian government.

The original native cotton seeds are apparently no longer obtainable, so with pesticides rising in price, the market price for cotton decreasing, and  uncontrollable weather conditions destroying crops, farmers are forced to give up their farms and are no longer able to pay the extortionate, high interest loans they originally took out to purchase their farms.

So basically what I am trying to say is that we shouldn’t be supporting the unethical practices of non-organic cotton farming, due to the devastating effect it has on the physical and mental health of farmers, their families, future families, communities and of course the environment. Phhew!

So if your next clothing purchase isn’t going to be second-hand, you should seriously consider buying organic cotton that is GOTS certified (Global Organic Textile Standard)

Check out my favorite ethical Australian and NZ brands for buying organic cotton –

Kowtow Clothing –


Carlie Ballard –


Alas the Label –