Sydney holds the title as the fashion capital of Australia, so it’s no surprise the city’s sustainable fashion scene is well developed. New South Wales’ capital city is not only home to some of the biggest fashion names in Australia, but also a bustling young designer scene and startups with a focus on creating fashion in a way that’s ethical and sustainable. Among them is the tech-enabled Citizen Wolf making custom casual wear, the epic social enterprise The Social Outfit, and slow fashion extraordinaire Good Day Girl.
Here’s the top places to shop for sustainable and ethical fashion in Sydney, Australia.
Address: 108 Oxford Street, Paddington
KitX founder and designer Kit Willow is at the forefront of the sustainable fashion movement in Australia. From pioneering innovative fabrics to reduce waste and working with communities around the world to preserve handicrafts, the fashion label is truly unique in its approach to the design and creation of garments. The sole KitX boutique is in the Sydney suburb of Paddington, but you can also find collections in select David Jones stores around the country.
Address: 26 Glenmore Road, Paddington
If staples are on your agenda, make sure you stop into bassike. bassike specialises in luxurious and wearable everyday pieces. The brand’s philosophy of high-quality design and construction is backed up with a commitment to sustainable manufacturing, producing the brand’s mainline collections locally in Australia. Importantly, the majority of the designer label’s garments are made with natural fibres.
Address: 14 William St, Paddington
Step into Australia’s first zero-waste dress hire and consignment boutique. EKOLUV offers a curated selection of pre-loved designer and vintage garments to hire of buy – sourced directly from the designers, balancing a mix of on-trend and classic styles. The quality and designer garments in the store can be hired out for 10-15% of the garment’s recommended retail price or bought as a secondhand or pre-loved garment. It’s designer fashion without the footprint!
The Social Outfit
Address: 188 King St, Newtown
Part epic fashion label and part social enterprise is this Newtown brand with bold prints and an even bolder cause. The Social Outfit provides employment and training in the fashion industry to people from refugee and new migrant communities. Accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia and the Good On You app, the organisation teaches ethical clothing production skills while creating epic and fun threads that fund the cause. Shop the collection at the Newtown boutique.
Milk & Thistle
Address: 592 King St, Newtown
Milk & Thistle is inspired by designer Danielle Atkinson’s home city of Sydney and the kaleidoscope of people, places and objects she loves. Known for its signature digital and screen prints on well constructed, easy-fit garments, Milk & Thistle garments are entirely designed, printed and made in Australia.
Swop Clothing Exchange
Address: Shop 2/112-116 Enmore Rd, Newtown
Technically all secondhand stores fit the bill when it comes to sustainable fashion, as extending the lifetime of a piece of clothing helps to reduce its environmental impact dramatically. But for quality used clothing at a competitive price, it’s got to be SWOP. SWOP Clothing Exchange’s store in Newtown is a haven for secondhand and vintage clothing. Shoppers can trade in their own clothes for store credit or cash, and shop the secondhand goods on offer.
Address: 535a King St, Newtown
Dragstar boasts unique, timeless clothing and accessories, designed and made in Sydney. The brand’s shop in Newtown is also the design studio and office, allowing for all design and development to take place in-house. Designer Celia Morris says her label is a rebellion against landfill fashion, instead opting for quality pieces that stand the test of time. It’s a lovely shop where clothes are made slowly.
Address: 19 Foley St, Darlinghurst
For a souvenir that will never get old, you must go by Spunky Bruiser. The unique brand tailors upcycled garments to individual requirements. That’s right, the Spunky Bruiser team hand-makes everything ethically in New South Wales from sustainable, upcycled materials sourced within Australia. Keeping it all made to order also means they’re able to significantly lower the waste they produce. Spunky Bruiser says it designs to your style and in timeless, comfortable cuts further minimising the brand’s environmental impact. The result is some epic ’90s-inspired upcycled fashion that’s anything but fast.
Address: Suite 5/01 75 Mary St, St Peters
When it comes to ordering some new staples for your wardrobe, it’s worth making the trip to Citizen Wolf. The Sydney-based brand is transforming the custom-fit clothing industry with its tailor made casual wear. Specifically, the brand’s Magic Fit software takes your weight, height and date of birth to create a t-shirt perfect for you. You can choose your fabric (they’re all natural and sustainable, of course), choose your colour, and check out online. They cut the fabric in Sydney and send it off to you not long after. See it all in action at Citizen Wolf’s St Peters studio.
Still looking? You will also find Ethical Clothing Australia accredited brands such as Nobody Denim, Cue, Veronika Maine, Viktoria & Woods and Bianca Spender in department stores in Sydney such as Myer and David Jones.