Spring is finally in the air! So, for weddings, afternoons at the races or just lazing around at the beach, here are my top fashion picks for ethically or sustainably made brands, hailing from around the world and from the beautiful shores of Australia.
If you are about to enter autumn (or perhaps fall!)... perhaps get ready for a much-needed winter holiday trip overseas!
Each of these fashion brands takes a different approach to doing things that much better: using organic or recycled materials, ethical or local farming and production, slow fashion and minimising waste. Some even going the full gamut and produce strictly under organic and fair trade principles right from raw material to finished product. Some of these brands have been true inspirations to us!
Whatever the stance, each does it while creating style that is second to none, made to suit different tastes, body types and seasons. An incredible feat. My hat comes off to you!
(It is my top 11 really, but who is counting?!)
Photo credit: All the Wild Roses
Sydney-based founder Hang Osment-Le calls her pieces "Bohemian fashion for the dreamers & change makers. Fashion For Change". Her pieces are spring personified, whimsical perfection for summer by the sea... To be honest, I'd say they are just perfect for all day and every day! Take me there...
Photo credit: Meraki Collections
Clean lines, beautiful shapes. True Melbourne style. To bridge the gap from winter to spring Meraki creator Dayana Adones has her own beautiful take on a long sleeved breton-style stripey tee and followers of our instagram @elkieark will have already seen her gorgeous high-necked Bailey top. Fashion designed to last many, many seasons and made beautifully with impeccable care in Melbourne.
Photo credit: Carlie Ballard
The perfect white shirt. Really, the perfect white shirt. Carlie Ballard gets the (not so) basics just right. Check out her stunning tunic style shift dresses, three quarter length pants and the classic white (or blue) tee. Just need to pair it with a sailing boat please!
Photo credit: kowtow
No pick of sustainable, ethical fashion would be complete without the New Zealand brand kowtow that has truly led the way with true Fairtrade, organic production and care. Have a look at their capsule collection of beautiful pieces to layer all year round.
Photo credit: Vege Threads
Melbourne based Vege Threads Founder Amy Roberts has created a brand that is made with incredible care right from the seed to the shelf, using raw materials such as organic cotton or ethically sourced Australian wool and producing all garments under ethical, organic or low-tox processes, minimising waste and using only organic dyes. Another leader in the field of beautiful, elegant, sustainable fashion.
Photo credit: Reformation
It may be from across the oceans, but I couldn't help but mention a few more of my favourites.
And with good reason, I pretty much lose it every time the Reformation emails drop into my inbox. This is sustainable fashion that forces fast fashion to step aside. Reformation doesn't start in Australia, but their pieces are that beautiful and their standpoint so comprehensive, that I had to include them.
Photo credit: LemLem
There is a special place in my heart just for LemLem, a brand created by Liya Kebede to bring traditional Ethiopian weaving, art and fabrics to the world, while empowering the women and men who grow, spin, weave, dye and make these beautiful pieces. I am known for spending most of my summer dressed in scant more than a towel (let's be honest - beach side in Australia who doesn't!) but if you need to 'dress up' then have a look at their short kaftan's, jumpsuits and off-shoulder dresses.
Of course, LemLem is currently selling also its winter ranges, so if you are up north, you have one more reason to check them out.
But be sure to also have a look at their videos detailing the beautiful way in which they hand spin, weave and create their cloth.
Photo credit: People Tree UK
Founded by the wonderful Safia Minney, I fell in love with People Tree when the incredible Emma Watson launched into their advertising campaigns in those unforgettable summer Pimms scenes. A tiny hint of what was to come, from someone so eloquently and powerfully standing up for the empowerment of women and human rights all over the world today.
I am a big fan of the shift dress and the three quarter length trouser, all of which they do so well. Importantly, People Tree go to every length to ensure they use certified fairtrade and organic cotton, all the way from the 'seed to shelf'. Without a doubt, Safia Minney was the one who inspired me to start my own business.
For any book worms, Safia Minney launched her crowdfunding campaign earlier this year for her new book, Slave to Fashion. We look forward to getting our copy but in the meantime, check our her instagram account @saffia_minney for some eye-opening updates along the way.
Photo credit: Yoga Junction
Moving to urban streetwear, meet Yoga Junction. Founder Tamara produces her clothing in Australia and creates clothing for every yogi. Even the martini drinking, gluten feasting, not quite so chaste ones. Probably like the most of us. Cheers to that!
Photo credit: A Beautiful Refuge
I had to end with one of my favourite t-shirts. Leaving nothing to the imagination, this gets straight to the point and is created by A Beautiful Refuge, providing fair work conditions for women in the Philippines who are at risk of vulnerability, poverty or exploitation. It showcases one of my all-time favourite quotes on sustainable fashion from Amanda Busher, Founder of Australia's own New Left:
"Ethical fashion is not the new black- it's article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights!"
That pretty much sums it up. This is all just basic human rights at the end of the day...
So Happy Spring time!
Please note all images are copyright to the respective brands so please never use without credit!