Fashion for fashion’s sake is good, but fashion for a cause is something I can really get behind. Thankfully, more and more labels are popping up with a social cause behind them – from ethical production to empower women, to T-shirts made with verrrry little impact on the environment. These are a few of the Australian brands on my radar with a cause at their core.
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. Find out more about The Social Outfit’s mission here.
Batting for equality and freedom with ungendered street wear is Brisbane label Genkstasy. Their goods have a Japanese undertone while sticking with their theme of being non binary, unisex apparel, in an effort to break down the walls of perceived “difference”, “otherness”, or “non-belonging” that many people suffer. On top of all that Genkstasy is ethically produced here in Australia.
Fresh out of Katherine, Northern Territory, and showcasing glorious Aboriginal artwork is the bold and bright attire by Magpie Goose. More than a label, the brand and social enterprise is dedicated to creating economic opportunities for Aboriginal people living in remote Australia and creating a means for non-Indigenous people to connect with Aboriginal art, culture and stories through fashion. Get connected here.
Founded in Sydney, YEVU Clothing is making an epic impact for women in Ghana, where its clothes are designed and made. It’s a beautiful social enterprise fashion label with a focus on empowering women in the community through dignity, income that is sustainable and fair, and skills that can contribute to long term financial independence. The brand is also focused on transparency to ensure that all parts of the supply chain operate sustainably.
Makers of future fabrics, Kusaga Athletic has managed to create a textile that uses less than 1% of the water that it takes to produce your average cotton T-shirt. On top of that, their shirts are super light, breathable and odourless (a massive plus when you’re working out) and they’re also really affordable. I have one of Kusaga’s ‘world’s greenest tees’ so I can vouch for comfort, fit, and the no smell factor. Huge fan.
Queensland label Ash White is on a mission to preserve traditional crafts and empower the makers of fashion. Each collection draws inspiration from Indian culture and every element of the supply chain is considered to ensure ethical and sustainable production. The garments are a mixture of luxe linen and handwoven cotton skirts, dresses and pants in whites and pastels. Ash says the aim is to build long lasting relationships with her makers and positively impact their lives.
After seeing the film Taken with Liam Neeson and witnessing human trafficking first hand, the founder of Outland Denim decided to start a fashion company to help rescue women from human trafficking. More than that, he wanted the company to make jobs for people at risk and most importantly, give them the ability to support themselves. Outland Denim produces its garments in Cambodia where workers are paid a living wage and taught skills not only to do their job but to thrive in society. Bartle says they plan to pay living wages throughout their entire supply chain and are committed to reduce energy, water and waste throughout production.
Justice Denim is committed to doing good with its brand as well. From its onshore production to its distribution of profits, the brand ensures ethical production and refuses to be a part of human exploitation. As such, every pair of Justice Denim jeans funds four life-changing weeks of education for a young and innocent child who has been rescued from the sexual slavery and illegal labour trade. Justice Denim delivers this through its partnership with Project Futures and Destiny Rescue. The brand’s range of vegan-friendly jeans are hand-cut, designed and distressed in the streets of Melbourne, by some of Australia’s last great denim craftsmen.