We all know Melbourne’s designer scene is well established, but did you know it’s also a hot spot for sustainable fashion? As one of the last onshore producers of shoes and textiles in the country, it’s no surprise that budding and established designers want to call it home. These are the best places to shop for sustainably and ethically produced fashion in Melbourne.
Address: Fitzroy, Windsor, Melbourne CBD
This creative retail concept was developed to promote and showcase the talents of independent Australian designers in an artistic shopping environment. With designers rotating monthly, Design A Space supports over 100 local independent designers, providing an exciting mix of men’s, women’s and children’s fashion and accessories. A lot of it is made in Australia, but check the tags to be sure.
Address: 155 Gertrude St, Fitzroy – Photo by Jessica Grilli
Variety Hour is a print focused label by textile designer Cassie Byrnes. Each season a new collection of prints are hand painted, designed and adapted to suit a variety of fabulous fashion and homewares items. Ethically created from scratch in Melbourne, Variety Hour is a collection of fun patterned things that will make you happy.
Address: Stores in Swanston Street, Fitzroy, Northcote, and Brunswick East (Obus Market Store)
Melbourne’s Obus Clothing is now spread out across the city, and has a fabulous Market Store too (for samples, seconds and super specials!) Shop for colourful, bright prints and patterns, mostly made in Melbourne.
Kuwaii is the stunning creation of Kristy Barber. Established in 2008, the brand is committed to environmental sustainability and ethical production, and keeps everything above board by producing each piece by hand, onshore. In fact, every Kuwaii piece is designed, made and retailed within 15km of its Brunswick head office, a feat many brands could only aspire to. The brand is also one of very few producing footwear onshore.
Address: 386 Queens Pde, Fitzroy North
keegan is a Melbourne-made women’s clothing label valuing originality, quality and slow fashion. Relaxed tailoring, minimalist silhouettes and statement hardware form the brand’s trademark aesthetic. Opting for minimalism – comfort, style and versatility are integral to each Keegan design.
Address: 229 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Ethically produced in Australia and using environmentally friendly fabrics, Arnsdorf is completely committed to sustainable production and transparency. So much so that not only does it explain all of this on its About page, but every product on the website has a break down of what the costs were to make each garment. On the design front, Arnsdorf incorporates art into its designs, often opting for asymmetrical patterns and statement features. On the print front, it keeps it cool, choosing classic colours and fabrics for longevity.
Address: 128 Smith St, Collingwood
The Social Studio is a non-profit fashion school, clothing label, retail shop and manufacturer created from the style and skills of young people from new migrant and refugee communities. The garments for sale are ethically made in Melbourne to an extremely high quality using reclaimed and up-cycled materials gathered from local industry. All production is certified by Ethical Clothing Australia.
Address: Chadstone, Bourke Street
This iconic Australian department store may not be all above board for ethical production, but a lot of its Australian labels are. The ones to look for are: Perri Cutten, Veronika Maine, Bianca Spender, Carla Zampatti, Nobody Denim, Bec & Bridge, Maggie Marilyn and Bassike. If you’re not sure, check the labels.
Address: 193 Smith Street, Fitzroy
This Fitzroy boutique stocks a heap of lovely local labels like Permanent Vacation and Post Sole Studio. They also stock ethically made labels including New Zealand’s Kowtow. It’s a great place to stop unique staples and nicer pieces.
Address: Chadstone Shopping Centre, Lonsdale Street and Chapel Street
Finnish design house Marimekko is trading its wares throughout Melbourne, too. The brand produces everything from high-quality clothing, bags and accessories as well as home décor items, with a focus on doing so sustainably. Marimekko’s sustainability strategy includes a commitment to designing timeless, long-lasting and functional products, promoting responsible practices throughout its supply chain, and being resource efficient and caring for the environment.
Another place to pick up ethically made attire in Melbourne is at the Finders Keepers market, and other locally made markets around the city.