From Spring Racing Carnival to summer soirees, work functions and weddings, it’s official: party season is upon us!
We love an excuse to get glammed up and to add a few new fancy ensembles to our wardrobe. And, with the increase in online fashion retail and the big fast-fashion-low-cost shops like Zara and H&M, there’s no reason why we can’t have something new to wear for every occasion… or is there?
We were surprised to learn recently that fast fashion is considered the second most polluting industry in the world, second only to big oil. And much of this pollution comes from a global supply chain that relies on unethical production models in developing countries, with garments passing through many different hands and often continents before making it into our wardrobes.
Here in Australia, 92% of all clothing sold is imported. By choosing to skip the cheap imports and instead support local designers and producers, we can make sure that our dollars are going towards fair work conditions and ethical production models, while also helping to grow our local industry and economy. Designers who produce locally are inherently more mindful of their supply chain, tend to have shorter lead times and can be more reactive to best sellers. This, in turn, can reduce waste, landfill and the company’s overall carbon footprint.
We need to change our approach to fashion — to move away from trend-driven, churn-and-burn garments and instead focus on building a wardrobe of high-quality pieces that will last for many years to come. While locally produced fashion does come at a higher price tag, you’ll be spending less, in the long run, thanks to quality fabrics, expert craftsmanship and thoughtful design. And we think that’s beautiful!
Not sure where to start? Here’s five locally designed and produced Australian fashion brands, perfect for your summer party season:
A mainstay in Melbourne’s local fashion scene, Kuwaii produces every single garment within 15km of their Brunswick HQ. The brand has a loyal personal relationship with their makers, and keep a close watch on production practises to make sure that everyone involved is being paid a fair wage, and working in fair conditions. Designer Kristy Barber is passionately opposed to the ‘churn’ model of fast fashion. Her range is built on an ever-evolving basis of “Classics” which are timeless, well-made, eternally flattering and wearable. These are high-quality garments, in timeless designs, made in very small runs.
An artist and clothing designer based in Sydney, Jillian Boustred’s garments are made locally with a transparent production line from start to finish. She focuses on feminine, relaxed pieces that are beautifully made and lovely to wear. All prints are designed in house by Jillian using a combination of hand and digital techniques.
Post Sole Studio
Local footwear production is practically non-existent these days, with the expert skills required to craft footwear nearly extinct thanks to much cheaper offshore producers. Luckily, there are a few local makers who are doing what they can to keep this age-old industry alive. Post Sole Studio designs and makes everything itself, and for like-minded labels like Kuwaii (mentioned above), from their studio and factory in Melbourne. The brand offers quirky takes on wardrobe necessities, like t-bar shoes and platform sandals.
Jade Sarita Arnott is considered one of Australia’s leading fashion designers. Through her label Arnsdorf, she creates classic pieces with inimitable details which are guaranteed to become wardrobe staples. Arnott has done away with traditional ‘seasons’ and releases instead well-considered trans-seasonal collections in limited runs. Arnsdorf is also breaking the traditional wholesale-to-retail model to instead deliver clothing at a reasonable price direct to clients, without hyper-inflated mark-ups.
For almost 20 years, Melbourne based brand Obus has been supporting the local industry, with over 80% of their manufacturing based right here in Australia. Clothing made by Obus is of exceptional quality, featuring natural fibres and exclusive prints, inspired by designer Zerbst’s travel and wanderings. Obus is synonymous with ease of wear, pared-back tailoring and a constantly changing palette of unexpected colours.