Going Green Down Under: Sustainable Fashion Storms Australia

2018 has been an overwhelmingly positive year for fashion houses coming out of Europe – from the banning of fur, to the removal of single-use plastic in stores there have certainly been large strides made. In the European market, the conversation is getting louder but the fashion industry’s changes are also felt half a world away…

Australia is in the midst of a movement, with fashion contributing $28 billion dollars to their economy and many brands choosing to communicate themselves as being sustainable before anything else. With an outdoors-oriented climate and a closeness to nature, is this perhaps driving the incentive behind more earth-friendly clothes? Or is it perhaps a distance from the global chains we have readily available in Europe?

One of the women at the helm of this movement is Kit Willow. Her KitX label emphasises fair pay, planet-friendly materials and technological advances in fabrics – so what does she think are the reasons Australia has given sustainability the green light in recent times?  “Probably because the effects of climate change are so visible in Australia with NSW having been in drought for 6 years – we also wear a lot of linen and casual fabrics which tend to be more natural.”

Australia’s readiness to make positive change is reflected in the many organisations that have sprung up in the continent. From their division in Fashion Revolution, to the first Australian Circular Fashion Conference this year that saw leaders in the industry rally together. Plus, Vogue appointed their very first Sustainability Editor-at-Large Clare Press, which was an unheard-of move for the magazine’s international edition.

The effects of such a movement are already evident, with no signs of slowing down, as Willow reflects on what the future might hold in the year 3000: “Everything we buy will have transparent impact on water usage, planet cost as well as garment cost and mend-ability, while community sharing of resources and clothes will be necessary. I like to think fantasy and sensual beauty will still capture the hearts and minds of humans to escape the mundane grind of living on a very different planet, with a raised consciousness through necessity not just choice.”

SO WHICH AUSTRALIAN BRANDS CARRY THE BUTTERFLY MARK?

Brand to trust Luca Jouel was founded by a woman who wanted change: from her studio in Perth, Teerena Lucas works closely with a team of master artisans on her fine jewellery line. A member of the Ethical Fashion Forum focusing upon social and environmental sustainability in the fashion industry, their positive actions span from using mindfully-sourced gems to supporting the child welfare foundation ‘Australian Childhood.’ Her latest collection explores personal meaning, beauty and the soul behind your favourite piece of jewellery, featuring gems Teerena herself has collected over the years.

Cult-status hat label Helen Kaminski was inspired by Australia herself; back in 1983 when Helen designed raffia hats to protect her children from the fierce summer sun. She works closely with her craftsmen to source the highest-quality materials from all over the world, such as genuine Ecuadorian toquilla.

Wearing Memories is a jewellery label owned and designed by champagne enthusiast Kiron Barui. The jewellery houses the caps from champagne bottles, which are also interchangeable, so you can wear the memory of your special event again and again. Designed and manufactured wholly in Barui’s home country of Australia, the collection included butterfly pieces that were designed around the Cancer charity work that she supports.

Image credits

Main: Luca Jouel
Top: Unsplash
Middle: KitX
Bottom: Helen Kaminski

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