Five Australian Designers Reinventing Fashion The Ethical Way
Words by Renae Lauren
Have you ever thought twice about where your fashion comes from or how many times you have worn a piece before throwing it away?
A large proportion of the Australian population don’t and for this reason, over 501 million kilos of clothing ends up in Australian landfill each year.
This astronomical amount of landfill could be attributed to fast fashion brands like H&M who release roughly 14-16 collections and Zara with the release 24 collections per year. With some of these items being worn 1-3 times before reaching landfill.
While acknowledging this paramount issue, a selection of Australian designers are taking matters into their own hands, reinventing their procedures to employ the 3 R’s into every garment they create – Recycle, Reuse & Repurpose.
Exie Studio (Melbourne)
Genre of Fashion: Streetwear/Sportswear
To Melbourne based streetwear brand Exie, ‘People and the Planet Matter’. For this reason, designer Christina Exie, has chosen to create 90% of her range from recycled ocean plastic as well as only sourcing ethical manufacturing.
The brand sources fabrics from Carvico and Jersey Lomellina whose mission it is to repurpose what some would consider ocean waste into garments and the added bonus of these materials are that they dry almost instantly.
From the types of fabrics, employees and packaging – Exie considers sustainability at every point of the production line with the overall mission of empowering women and equipping them with what they need to feel confident to ‘Unleash [their] inner badass’.
Liandra Swim (Sydney)
Genre of Fashion: Indigenous- inspired swimwear
Paving the way for future designers, Wollongong based designer Liandra Gaykamangu, has decided to take the plunge and evolve into not only an eco-friendly brand but ensuring sustainable practices with the manufacturing of each garment.
Liandra infuses her aboriginal culture in her designs with many sporting reversible designs. Each design is also named after inspirational women in her life – like Jessica Mauboy.
Her new range uses regenerated plastics and all packaging is made from an element called cassava which can dissipate before your eyes when boiled. Liandra wishes to break the bounds of stereotyping and cookie cutter definitions stressing that she aspires for her designs to be stocked all around Australia and overseas – not just in souvenir shops because of their aboringal prints.
Baaby Swimwear (Melbourne)
Genre of Fashion: Sexy swimwear
Featured in Australian Vogue, this Melbourne based – Italian made swimwear label uses 100% renewable energy in their manufacturing process and it is their mission to create garments that can be recycled indefinitely.
Baaby Swimwear use Econyl fabric which is derived from fishing nets and plastic waste found in the sea by non for profit organisation Healthy Seas. This fabric is used for both the main fabric and lining. They consider themselves to be part of the slow fashion movement as opposed to the fast fashion we are so used to seeing.
Sustainable Clothing Co (Adelaide)
Genre of Fashion: Artsy Womenswear
Sustainable Clothing Co work with natural fabrics such as hemp, organic cotton and bamboo that are biodegradable.They also encourage customers to purchase from their pre loved ranges featuring 80s,90s and 00s vintage from the following collections: Allergies Clothing (Au), Daddy Issues The Label (Au), Daniel Palillo (Finland), Demian Renucci (Au), Field Of Ponies (UK), Grown Royal Clothing (Au) and more!
Maintaining the slow fashion model opting for quality standards through manufacturing, SCC value design and production rather than the concept behind fast fashion and the discarding of clothing after a few uses.
The Social Outfit
Genre of Fashion: Artsy Womenswear
The Social Outfit are an upcoming brand that focus on ethical trading as well as providing employment to refugee and migrant communities. For many refugees, working at The Social Outfit is their first paid job.
Research shows that in Australia a “large percentage of apparel purchases are only worn once” so it is part of their mission to repurpose and reuse. The Social Outfit have saved over 3 tonnes of waste from landfill thanks to partnering with over 28 Australian brands including Seafolly, Alice McCall and Bec & Bridge.
This round up of Australian designers hailing from all around Australia, highlights the way in which the fashion industry is becoming increasingly aware of their negative impact on the environment and encouraging their loyal customers to keep the ‘Recycle, Reuse & Repurpose’ model at the forefront of their buying habits.
So if you’re currently sitting on the couch reading this article in iso, after you’ve just cleaned out and rearranged your wardrobe for the fifth time in the last month – consider your fashion footprint and join the social movement of sustainable fashion.
Written by Renae Lauren -Guest Ponderer
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