Sustainable fashion options in Australia are increasing, and with that the options for more shapes and sizes. And thank god, because we all know there’s no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to the female body. From staple shirts to stand out dresses, this list will help you put together a plus-sized capsule closet of pieces you love and will wear over and over again.
Sydney’s Citizen Wolf is making custom casual wear, and more specifically – t-shirts. They’re on a mission to revolutionise the way we think about staple clothing, to get us to invest in quality pieces that are literally made for us. The brand starts by sourcing organic and ethically produced cotton, grown in Australia. The cotton is then milled in Melbourne and turned into quality fabrics. Back in the shop in Sydney they get your ‘magic fit’ – a fit made specifically to fit you based on your weight, height and date of birth – and they cut your shirt out with laser technology. It’s sewn together there as well. The result is the perfect fitting t-shirt, sustainably made in Sydney. And if the fit isn’t spot on the first time, they’ll tweak it for you. Once you have your fit sorted, I suggest investing in a few of your favourite colours (or stripes – my favourite!)
New Zealand’s Kowtow (pronounced ko-toe) prides itself on ethically made, quality clothing. The brand makes beautiful staple items that work for everything from casual wear to work wear and some evening wear too. While they aim for an oversized, minimalist look and feel, the odd colour or print is where the brand really shines. Kowtow’s wool is ethically sourced from New Zealand and ZQ certified – a standard that ensure growers commit to the highest grade of animal welfare, environmental care and social responsibility. The brand also has a number of videos on its site demonstrating its organic cotton ‘seed to garment’ journey. Kowtow’s XL size covers a bust between 100-104cm, waist of 83-87cm and hips of 109-113cm.
Helmed by textile designer Cassie Byrnes, Melbourne-based Variety Hour creates print-focused pieces produced in thoughtfully small batches. Each pattern starts as a painted artwork that’s distorted through different scales and reconfigured through an array of themes and palettes before it’s perfected and adapted into a range of timeless silhouettes and home goods made to complement a cheerful mood. It’s all ethically made in Melbourne, Australia. Variety Hour’s XL size covers an Australian size 16-18.
Variety Hour photos by Jessica Grilli
Shy Hero is catering for womens of all ages and sizes with their ethically made womenswear. Founded by Melbourne friends in early 2017, the brand is centred around minimising its impact on people and the planet, with a special interest in catering for curvy bodies and celebrating diversity. The range is made from environmentally friendly fabrics including linen and wool, and includes pretty dresses and sets in sizes 6-20.
Melbourne’s ELK entered the market in 2004 with quality leather goods and has since moved into well made womenswear. The brand produces just two bi-annual collections each year, typically showcasing natural hues and the use of fine quality raw materials. ELK adopts an unwavering commitment to working with small manufacturers across the globe whose traditional skills and techniques guarantee authentic, high quality execution of their collections. The brand offers womenswear up to a size 16.
Designed and made in Melbourne, Harlow is a range of women’s clothing for sizes 12-26 aimed at the woman ‘who yearns to change the world’. The brand specialise in smaller runs, sometimes as little as 16 pieces being made in a particular style, fabric or colour. They make an effort to go against the “one season and it’s out” principle. Instead designing and manufacturing pieces that will be on high rotation in your wardrobe for years to come.
Queensland label Grump seeks out cute and quirky patterns for its collections of dresses, skirts and shirts for women sized 6-30 and beyond. If you’re a fan of natural fibres, you’ll love that the majority of garments are made from 100% cotton. It’s all ethically made in Australia.
Finally some wire free bras for big bosoms. Full Bloom lingerie feels your pain, and has made some super sweet, super soft bralettes for ladies carrying D-G cups. The bralettes boast a sturdy elastic band to support the bust, have a 3 x 3 hook and eye to allow for size fluctuations, and adjustable straps that can be crossed over or kept straight to adjust support level. They’re all ethically handmade in Melbourne.
New Zealand’s Nisa is helping refugee women from the bottom up. The underwear brand’s products are lovingly sewn by women from a refugee background in their sunny studio in Wellington, New Zealand, with a mission to provide their staff with meaningful and interesting paid work, while making kick-ass undies. Their underwear go up to a size 18, and bralettes to a size 16.