If you were to choose just one part of your wardrobe to invest in quality garments, let it be your workwear. You may be in denial, but it’s likely that these are the clothes you wear the most. And you don’t want to have to be replacing them all the time. There are some great Australian and New Zealand labels producing stunning workwear with a focus on sustainability. I’ve put together a range of brands – from the ultra corporate to the relaxed professional. Here’s my list.

1. Kuwaii

Kuwaii

This Melbourne-based brand goes above and beyond with its ethical production, manufacturing everything here in Australia with environmentally friendly fabrics, and making efforts to reduce waste in the process. Kuwaii carries a range of classic staple pieces all year round, which make for both professional and alternative workwear. Kuwaii goes into detail about its manufacturing, fabrics, environmental impact and more on its website. The brand also plants a tree for every order shipped.

Great for: Classic trousers and a spot of colour

2. Cue

Cue clothing

Leading the Australian-made fashion scene and still producing the majority of its quality garments on shore (since 1968) is Sydney’s Cue Clothing. Pretty much everything on offer at Cue is work appropriate, but I’d say it’s best for staples – a black dress, pencil skirt, button-up shirt, etc. All of its Australian-made products are accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia, but beware as not everything is made on shore. Check the tags before you buy.

Great for: Classic work staples

3. Obus Clothing

Obus Clothing

One of my personal favourite brands for all occasions, including the corporate office, is Obus Clothing. The Melbourne label makes all of its clothing here in Australia, within 15km of its Brunswick store. I love this label’s commitment to quirky prints and oversized fit, and of course to sustainability. Pair an Obus print with a staple item from one of the brands below.

Great for: Adding colour to your work wardrobe

4. Veronika Maine

Veronika Maine

A sister-brand of the classic Cue Clothing, and also accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia, is the corporate womenswear label Veronica Maine. It has a similar feel to Cue, using quality fabrics and minimalist design.

Great for: Australian made staples

5. SUK Workwear

SUk Workwear

Melbourne-based brand SUK makes hard wearing workwear that celebrates the female form. The designer and Creative Director Mimosa Schmidt was influenced by her own experience working in labour roles, and was inspired to address the lack of flattering workwear options for women in the industry. The garments are ethically made in Pakistan from 100% Fairtrade cotton.

Great for: Hard wearing workwear

6. Kowtow

Kowtow shirt

Kowtow was born in 2007 with the desire to create an ethical label that would be the example for a fashion forward, global thinking business. Fast forward to 2024 and the brand is now completely plastic free (one of the first in the world). The New Zealand label is leading the way for sustainable fashion, with a now internationally recognised label producing beautiful staple items that are 100% suitable for the office. Good on You app rates Kowtow five stars stating that its environmental, labour and animal rating are all ‘great’.

Great for: Everything, truly

7. Viktoria and Woods 

This Aussie brand takes a simple approach to create effortless wardrobe staples with a pared-back modern feel. You’ll find a huge selection of women’s pants, tops and blazers which are all very work appropriate. What’s better, most of Viktoria and Woods’ designs are made in Australia and accredited with Ethical Clothing Australia, and the brands says that it “values sustainable textiles and manufacturing methods that leave a lighter footprint on the planet.”

Great for: A classic, button up shirt

8. Carla Zampatti

Carla Zampatti suit

So we’re getting a bit pricy here, but think of it as an investment. Italian-inspired and Australian-made Carla Zampatti makes stunning corporate workwear from classic blazers to flattering jumpsuits. A well-made suit jacket 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.

Great for: A classic suit

9. Ginger and Smart

Ginger and Smart shirt dress jan 2022

Ginger and Smart is also on the luxury end of this list, but that just means long-lasting staples. The Aussie brand makes gorgeous workwear classics with a feminine twist, with an alternative take on the classic suit to be found in most collections. Ginger and Smart’s garments are made offshore where the brand pays its garment workers a living wage (hurrah!) and opts for sustainable fabrics. Find out more on the website.

Great for: Feminine pieces that can be worn from AM to PM

10. KITX

KITX blue wool suit

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 works with sustainable fibres – the traditional kind and the up-and-coming kind – to create her line of unique resort and evening wear.

Great for: Classic clothing with a twist

11. ELK

ELK

Melbourne-based conscious fashion label ELK was one of the first on the sustainable fashion scene. Since its launch in 2004, the brand has been steadfast in its commitment to mindful production and transparency in its supply chain.  ELK now produces an annual transparency report which details the brand’s international supply chain, suppliers and the efforts it’s making towards more sustainable operations. ELK’s range is a classic and colourful line up of women’s clothing, footwear, handbags and other accessories. 

Great for: A pop of colour in your work wardrobe

12. Marle 

MARLE

For elevated basics for your wardrobe, look no further than the New Zealand-based label Marle. Marle is a responsible womenswear brand exploring timeless and versatile wardrobing. Centred around the fundamentals of form and function, Marle brings an effortless ease to everyday dressing and a commitment to natural fabrics and fibres. Shop for a comprehensive range of womenswear including knitwear and denim. 

Great for: Quality basics