6 Easy Ways to be an Ethical Fashionista

Your sustainable shopping list starts here

Everyone’s talking about sustainable fashion. It’s never been a better time to be a more conscious consumer. Where to start? It’s easier than you think. 

1. Shop n’ save

The Great Barrier Reef has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately as scientists warn that coral bleaching is advanced. What if your next bikini purchase could help save it? If Jeremy and Katinka Somers from We Are Handsome have their way, it just might. To coincide with Earth Day on April 22nd, they’re launching a six-piece capsule collection with YOOX. Featuring prints inspired by the beauty of the reef, profits go to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

2. Read your labels

If you read the ingredients labels on food, why not take the same approach with your clothes? Did you know Bassike’s cotton tees are all organic? You do now! It’s getting easier to find vegetable tanned leathers. Ditto denim that’s been produced with less water, and distressed with lasers rather than blasted with sand. Look out for the Woolmark – wool is a renewable resource that can be shorn annually, and it’s biodegradable. Fairtrade and GOTS-certified organic cotton is kind to farmers and the environment. Check out new sustainable Melbourne label A.BCH – designer Courtney Holm is obsessed; even her sewing thread is organic. 

Sustainable fashion designer Courtney Holm (Credit: Supplied)

3. Buy local

From Scanlan & Theodore, Bianca Spender, Carla Zampatti and Manning Cartell to Cue, Nobody denim and R.M. Williams, heaps of Aussie designer brands are Ethical Clothing Australia accredited. That means their local supply chains have been audited so you can rest assured that their Made in Australia garments are ethically produced. For more info, visit the ECA site.

4. Switch your undies

Your skin is your biggest organ, so why would you want to wrap it in toxic chemicals? You wouldn’t! Mighty Good Undies makes fabulous organic cotton knickers, while Boody’s range is made from sustainably produced bamboo that’s free from azo dyes and formaldehyde (commonly used on textiles to keep them crease free and prevent mildew in shipping – yuk). 

5. Rethink your plastic

Plastic is not so fantastic. Especially if you’re a turtle (as Paris Hilton recently pointed out). Yikes. Bionic Yarn uses “shoreline waste” (i.e. plastic litter rescued from beaches) to make its recycled polyester, as seen in G-Star RAW For The Oceans denim and H&M’s new Conscious Exclusive collection. Say yes to all that. But say no to plastic carrier bags at the counter. Bring your own re-usable tote. 

6. Be a revolutionary

Fashion Revolution Week starts on April 24th. Founded in London in 2014 to raise awareness about ethical fashion on the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory disaster in Bangladesh, it has grown into a global movement. “Have you ever wondered who makes your clothes? How much they’re paid, and what their lives are like?” says the campaign’s co-founder Orsola de Castro. “Our clothes have gone on a long journey before they hit store shelves, passing through the hands of cotton farmers, spinners, weavers, dyers, and sewers. Eighty percent of them are women between the ages of 18 and 24. Sadly, the majority of the people who make our clothes for the global market live in poverty, unable to afford life’s basic necessities. This needs to change.” To get involved, turn an item of clothing you love inside out to show the label, snap a pic, share it on social media, tag the brand and ask, #whomademyclothes ?

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