Ah, that satisfying thrill of putting on a brand new pair of perfectly fitting jeans, that ever-flattering dress you’ve been eyeing up for weeks, or a freshly purchased crisp white shirt.
If you’re anything like us, you’ll be well aware of the tantalising appeal of shopping for new clothes – but it comes at a cost much greater than many of us realise.
As the world battles with a waste crisis, we’re looking at a very slippery slope if we don’t make changes to our shopping habits now by choosing to buy from more sustainable fashion brands.
And while a brand new outfit might make us feel good for the interim, its long-term effects are much greater.
The fashion industry accounts for one of the highest rates of pollution than any other industry – with Australians alone putting more than 6,000 kilograms of textiles into landfill every 10 minutes.
If there was ever a time to take a walk on the greener side it’s now, and luckily for us it has never been easier. Plenty of brands have hopped on the eco-friendly train to offer stylish and sustainable options that can suit all styles and budgets.
How to shop fashion sustainably
When shopping for sustainable fashion, start by looking for brands that use eco-friendly materials like organic cotton or recycled fabrics. This shows they’re committed to reducing their environmental impact.
However, be cautious of greenwashing – some brands talk the sustainability talk without walking the walk. So, seek certifications or real evidence of their eco-efforts, not just fancy marketing words.
Additionally, support brands that treat their workers fairly and are transparent about their production processes. When a brand cares about its workforce and shares how they make their products, it’s a positive sign.
Lastly, prioritise well-made and durable clothes, as they save you money in the long run and reduce landfill waste. You may have to fork out a little more than desired to begin with, but it reduces having to buy replacements each season.
The best sustainable fashion brands to buy in Australia 2023
Below we’re taking a look at some of the best sustainable brands available to buy in Australia, that are putting actions to words and going green. Whether you’re looking for budget buys or luxury labels, we have them all.
For high quality and sustainably made basics like socks, knits and underwear, Paire are a must watch brand that use cutting edge tech to create lasting products. They use a blend of natural materials such as Australian Merino wool and eucalyptus fibre to create innovative materials to keep you warm, dry and on trend.
Price range: from $29
Underwear and basics are often forgotten in the hunt for sustainable wardrobe additions. However Boody disrupts the game with the creation of their organically grown bamboo products that are as soft as clouds.
With products from period underwear, activewear, everyday dresses and apparel, Boody has a range of timeless pieces that are so comfortable you’ll never want to take them off.
Price range: from $10
Aere is an Aussie brand exclusive to THE ICONIC that creates timeless pieces with that truly Australian touch, from carefully selected materials and fabrications. It’s the perfect brand as we head into summer as their selection of linens are unmatched and must-adds to your seasonal wardrobe.
Price range: from $20
Not just sneakers: Cariuma puts its best foot forward when it comes to making sneakers in a way that’s better for us and the planet. Pair by pair, the brand does its part to rebuild rainforests through its ecological restoration program.
Working closely with the indigenous communities local to the area in Brazil, the brand has followed their guidance on how to tend to the land and best support regrowth and restoration, improve seed storage efficiency and replanting methods that mitigate risk and preserve biodiversity.
Price range: from $65
If you’re wanting to splurge out and invest in some timeless pieces that will last you for years to come, Jac + Jack is the brand to watch. Founded in 2004, the label has fast become a favourite of conscious Aussie shoppers looking for classic and effortless everyday pieces, made from quality low-impact materials.
The brand is transparent regarding their journey to eco-friendly design and next steps as they move to the future of fashion.
Price range: from $54
Spell has firmly cemented its place in the Australian fashion landscape with their boho, free-spirited style that screams Byron Bay. Not only are their pieces intricately designed but they use circular and regenerative materials to cut down on waste and promote ethical production.
They also offer a roadmap for consumers to see where the brand is taking their sustainability practices and is a B Corp certified company.
Price range: from $39
Another home grown favourite, Bassike is just that, a collection of timeless basics and wardrobe building blocks made from high quality and sustainable materials, meant to last a lifetime.
A B Corp certified company, Bassike is on a constant journey to progress their business and design journey in a way that makes a positive impact on the earth. Shop everything from t-shirts to leather and footwear without compromising style or sustainability.
Price range: from $50
A favourite of Meghan Markle’s, Outland Denim is a reputable Australian fashion company not only offering some seriously chic denim styles, but also doing a hell of a lot of good for the earth. The company’s ethos is entrenched in helping others – it works to provide careers for women who have been exposed to sex trafficking in Asia by providing jobs and assistance to them. They have now employed over 100 staff from different backgrounds of vulnerability, and given the fact they are the most affected by environmental degradation, the brand has many sustainable practices.
The creation of their denim uses up to 86 per cent less water and 57 per cent less energy and 83 per cent less chemicals in their Cambodian facilities.
Price range: from $79
Shop the perfect summer and holiday pieces without the guilt at Faithfull The Brand. With a wide array of swimwear, dresses, tops and more, there are endless pieces to suit your style and the best part is, they’re eco-conscious.
Another B Corp certified brand, all Faithfull pieces are handmade in Bali (where the brand was founded), and they have a focus on providing the best for their employees worldwide including upskilling, parental support and community investments.
Price range: from $27
Tap into that laidback Australian lifestyle with these stylish pieces from Calli the label. From denim to suit pieces, Calli is for the modern and conscious woman.
Ensuring to source fabrics from sustainable and ethical providers, as well as working with independent bodies to conduct audits on manufacturers, Calli is working to be socially and environmentally conscious at every step.
Price range: from $20
Kow Tow is engaged with a slow production chain, meaning some of its collections take a whopping 18 months to design and hit the floor. But it’s all in the name of the environment. With certified Fair Trade cotton and two single manufacturers in India, the company keeps things simple, yet significant.
The brands youthful yet timeless aesthetic provides fashion for all ages and styles, we’re a particular fan of their dresses and t-shirts.
Price range: from $34
Melbourne-born label ELK has been a pioneer in the sustainable fashion realm since its conception in 2004. Not only did the label win the 2019 Australian Fashion Laureate for Sustainable Innovation, each year they produce a transparency report regarding the companies sustainability practices.
Each collection is created under a trans-seasonal model in order to reduce waste by ensuring pieces can work no matter the time of year.
Price range: from $55