If you’ve got a hot date coming up or a fancy event that requires dressing to impress (yourself), you’ve come to the right place. These Australian and New Zealand brands are making stunning evening wear in modern and classic styles, with a focus on ethical and sustainable production. Read on to find out what they’re doing to make their collections with care.
Sydney-based brand Ginger and Smart combines captivating design with quality sustainable materials and first-rate manufacturers. The brand says its sustainable purpose “is to create beautifully considered timeless pieces, designed to be worn many times and with a low impact on the global environment.” As such, sustainability and ethical practices have been embedded in the Ginger & Smart brand from its inception in 2002. They only work with brands that uphold their high standards of ethical practice, which include paying a living wage to garment workers – the single most important thing a brand can do to empower their workers.
A leader of transparency in the fashion industry, the Arnsdorf label is founded upon values of ethical production and sustainability. I love all of this label’s pieces, which often have a unique element of colour, fabric, or asymmetrical design with a minimalist appeal. Arnsdorf is designed and made in Melbourne. Read more about the brand’s epic commitment to transparency here.
Tengdahl makes beautiful lounge, luxury and resort wear from its workroom in Brisbane Arcade in Queensland’s capital. Founder Julie Tengdahl explains her journey of growing quickly before making a choice and change to stay small to have control over an ethically made product from start to finish. Find out more about the brand here.
This New Zealand-based label made its debut in 2016 on Net-A-Porter.com and quickly gained traction around the globe. The Maggie Marilyn collections are a range of dresses and two-piece suits in unique designs that aim to embody confidence and femininity. Maggie Marilyn has a special focus on sustainability and is committed to transparency in the brand’s supply chain. For this reason, the collections are all ethically made in New Zealand.
This Adelaide label has made a name for itself quickly with its unique designs and ethical values. The wearable luxury brand is ethically made in Adelaide and opts for natural fibres and low or no waste designs. Read more about Autark here.
Luxury womenswear label KITX has environmental sustainability at its core, with designer Kit Willow championing the cause from the top. After seeing the environmental effects of carbon emissions and the warming temperatures to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Willow decided her label KITX would make an effort to reduce unnecessary waste throughout the supply chain. To do so, she opts for natural fibres and recycled polyester and nylon to create unique resort and evening wear.
Designed and made in Australia, the MacGraw collections are a stunning range of luxury womenswear, offering feminine pieces for formal events. The dresses and coordinates feature patterns, ruffles and lace, giving every piece a little bit of luxury. MacGraw pieces are a great option for less traditional wedding attire, fitting the bill for a bride or bridesmaid looking for a piece that is formal enough for the big day but also wearable for other occasions.
So we’re getting a bit pricy here, but think of it as an investment. Italian-inspired and Australian-made Carla Zampatti makes stunning formal wear from classic ballgowns to flattering jumpsuits. A well-made formal dress or suit could last you a life time, so I think if you’re going to get one, this brand is a good contender. Good On You says that the brand estimates to produce 90% of its clothing in Australia. Its Australian-made products are certified by Ethical Clothing Australia.
9. Bianca Spender
Sydney designer Bianca Spender is a champion for onshore manufacturing so it’s only natural that all of her beautiful pieces are made right here in Australia. Spender is a strong believer in craftsmanship and longevity, and her collections reflect that. They often feature tailored women’s two-piece suits, evening dresses in classic (and sometimes oversized) cuts, and other corporate wear. It’s worth spending big on this brand. Find it in David Jones stores around the country.
10. Manning Cartell
This brand prides itself on creating collections of exceptional quality and sourcing luxurious fabrics globally. The luxury womenswear features bright colours and prints, taking inspiration from current trends and the ever-changing fashion landscape. Manning Cartell is accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia and can be found in seven stand-alone boutiques and select retailers in Australia.