Meet The Ethical Fashion Designer Who Is Only 16

on track to help change the fashion industry

Kira Simpson

Meet Rosie Bourke, the designer behind Australian ethical fashion label Antivice.

AntiVice has all the makings of an ethical and sustainable business, from using GOTS certified cotton and non-toxic dyes to being able to trace the garment’s supply chain all the way from seed through finished product.

AntiVice make cute, casual, comfy basics which are common in the fashion world and most of our wardrobes. What’s not as common is the fact the designer behind this ethical fashion startup is only 16.

We caught up with Rosie to see what motivated her start an ethical fashion label and how she juggles running a new business while in her final years of high school.

ethical fashion

AntiVice = Sustainable - Ethical - Vegan

What was the catalyst which inspired you to create a fashion label?

Simple and selfish – I wanted cute clothes that I felt proud about wearing and buying, and none of my options were even remotely in my price range.

What does a typical day look like for you? How do you juggle school with starting a business?

Well I try for balance, 50% school, 50% work, but it never ends up like that. There will be weeks where I don’t have time for the business at all… SACS and tests just pile up. And then there’ll be days when I have 20 million things to do for my business, and I never even open a textbook. So I think the word “juggle” is a bit optimistic, I think it’s a bit more of a haphazard tug of war!

When will you launch Antivice?

The most truthful answer is in the near future, but not early to mid November (I have years 12 exams!). I am hoping that I’ll launch sometime in October, but that is a very optimistic outlook.

ethical fashion

Who are some of your favourite ethical fashion designers?

There are so many to choose from. I think, if speaking globally, then its Modernation (they have a tracksuit/crop top two piece that’s to die for), The Reformation, Won Hundred (I have been eyeing off their pastel sweaters for months) and Elle Evans.

While I love these brands, like many other ethical brands I have to leave them for my birthday list, because they are too expensive for me to afford. I understand why this is – it’s a lot more costly to be kind in the fashion industry, but I think this may be at the expense of inviting young people to participate and engage with the ethical side of fashion.

What’s your fashion style and do you have something you wear to death?

I definitely know that I prefer blacks and blues and block colours rather than prints, but other than that I have no idea what my style is. I think my wardrobe contains pieces from fashion trends all the way from the 1920’s to now. I think I choose items more so a combo of price and does it look nice, than whether it slots into an overall style. As a result, I have both 1950’s poofy dresses, excessively ripped jeans and turtlenecks in my cupboards.

If there is one thing that I have been wearing constantly since I got it, is a jacket that my godmother lent to me a few months back. It is a vintage reversible bomber jacket and perhaps the one true love of my life. It is so warm, practical and cute, which is a rare combo in winter fashion.

It says it all in the name. AntiVice is the remedy to the nastiness in the world. Minimalistic, show stopping fashion, without the guilt of sweatshops and child labor, animal cruelty and environmental damage. AntiVice can take you from day to night, last years and never be off trend. 

ethical fashion
ethical fashion

Whats the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?

It’s from my mother, who is a constant source of wisdom. But she basically said, you are not the first person to make this mistake, and you won’t be the last. If you don’t expect perfection from every single person that you meet with or interact, it’s pretty unfair that you expect it from yourself 24/7. No one else is needing you to be perfect. They just need you to try.

I have a habit of getting really beat up on myself when I make a mistake – school, AntiVice or otherwise. And, obviously, mistakes are unavoidable and it’s so much more beneficial to own up to mistakes and start working to fix them, than it is to roll up into a ball of shame and hide from the world!!

The world needs more

…pragmatic kindness. Kindness that takes into consideration what the other person needs, wants and has asked for, and goes out of its way to help solve that, without assuming that they know best or they are always right.

I hope AntiVice to be a form of this, a way to help young people engage with the ethical fashion industry, by making it practically possible for them to do so, so that they can be kind unto others (fashion industry workers) and themselves.

Kira Simpson

Kira Simpson is a sustainability advocate, climate optimist and founder, and editor of The Green Hub. Her own sustainable living journey began five years ago when she realised our choices matter. What we eat, where we shop, what we wear, how we live, these choices have the power to shape the kind of world we want to live in. Since launching The Green Hub in 2016 she has grown the blog to become a platform for sustainable fashion and conscious living helping people make lifestyle choices which are kinder to the planet.