If you’re just starting out on your sustainable wardrobe, it’s best to start with the basics. Not long ago, sourcing some ethically produced underpants was a hassle at best. There was hardly any (if any) Australian brands producing them and the offshore brands often didn’t ship to Australia. Yes – it was quite the conundrum for the sustainable shopper.
Luckily, things have changed. The ethically produced jocks market is picking up along with the rest of the basics, and we now have our underwear, staple tees, accessories and shoes sorted. Here’s a list of the country’s top brands for sustainable basics.
One of the first on the scene sporting well-made underwear was NICO. It’s a brand out of Brisbane that uses beechwood fibres, organic cotton and recycled cotton to make its ethically produced goods. Not just for the jocks draw, NICO now has a range of bras, singlets, slips and socks. See where they makes their basics here.
‘Like a Wolf’ is this brand’s tag line and it challenges citizens to take on that persona when they opt for a sustainably made, 100%-cotton, custom-fit tee. Citizen Wolf was the first on the custom-fit casual wear scene, making shirts and scarves for boys and girls, here in Australia.
Melbourne brand Theo the Label makes beautiful basics from natural fibres. The brand values quality and sustainability in its pieces, which it produces in small runs to ensure there is minimal waste from the collections. Theo’s founder Esther works with three families of makers and a family-run knitting house in Bali to ethically produce the brand’s collections. Find out more about the brand here.
“$13.64. That’s how much it costs to make a tee if the factories don’t pollute the rivers and the workers get paid fairly.” To prove this point, Sydney label The Road made and sold T-shirts for $13.64. Nowadays their clothes are a bit more pricey (to sustain the business model), but their ethics have stayed the same. Check out The Road for mens and womens tees, jocks, tanks and more, made from sustainably sourced cotton from GOTS and Fairtrade certified farms.
Annukka has organic cotton tops, bottoms and dresses in solid colours and staple patterns that make for the ultimate basics for your wardrobe. All of their attire is eco-friendly and made in Australia, from cotton that’s so damn soft you’ll never want to take them off. Annukka Clothing is stocked in 50+ stores around Australia and New Zealand and available online too.
A.BCH beautiful basic garments are ethically made in Melbourne from renewable, organic and recycled materials. From its buttons crafted from the seeds of fallen corozo fruit in Panama, to its family owned manufacturer in Melbourne’s inner north, the brand says it works tirelessly to ensure that every step of the journey is as thoughtful and sustainable as possible.
Vege Threads is the OG for organic cotton basics in Australia. The Melbourne-based brand manufactures its garments in Australia using organic and eco-friendly materials and dyes in limited numbers. For transparency, the brand includes extensive information about the fabrics including where they originated, and certifications (ie. GOTS) on the product pages on the website. Vege Threads’ commitment to transparency and an ethical supply chain has gained it accreditation from Ethical Clothing Australia.
Heading to brunch in your activewear? No problem. Kusaga is the creator of the Greenest T-Shirt in the World. While normal T-Shirts can take up to 3000 litres of water to produce, Kusaga’s managed to get the production down to just 1% of that. The shirts are made from a unique blend of natural fibres that are biodegradable, compostable and sustainable, so you can enjoy your brunch (or workout) knowing your tee is harm-free.
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 their mainline collections locally in Australia. The majority of the garments are made with natural fibres.
Jeans, glorious jeans. Was there ever a more-loved staple for your wardrobe? Outland Denim makes the list with their ethically produced attire, stating on the website that “we know each of our seamstresses by name, they earn a living wage and are given support to build a bright future for themselves”. It’s a beautiful thing – and the clothes are too. Find more ethically made denim here.