New Zealand is known as green central, the king of sustainability, the mother of eco-friendly living, and leader in environmental activism.
Although we realistically fail on many of these things (sorry world, we’ve only just realised how stupid plastic bags are), when it comes to ethical fashion, we certainly kick butt. Our largest city, Auckland, is home to many creators, designers, and makers.
So if you’re out and about in Auckland, here’s where you should shop.
Found alongside some of Auckland’s best second-hand stores (convenient!), Crushes is a concept store that celebrates conscious consumerism without breaking your piggy bank. They stock a range of New Zealand made brands, including Velvet Heartbeat, Arrow, and The Loyal Workshop.
Crushes are well known for their vintage clothing, accessories, and homeware. Be careful in this store: you may never leave.
WE-AR is the mantra ‘I Am, or We Are’: all is one. The company aims to intertwine this ethos into everything they do. From their fabrics to their shop fronts, WE-AR act with kindness and intention. Their yoga inspired casual wear for men and women is appealing to all ages. Although they specialise in gorgeous daily wear, the pieces can totally be dressed up and worn to formal events too; double whammy.
Walking the talk, WE-AR is a Certified B Corp, and sponsor Yoga Education in Prisons Trust through a Social Profit Program. They partner with suppliers and artisans in their own workshop in Canggu, Bali.
Designer, Tanya Carlson, has been making timeless pieces in New Zealand for 15 years. Carlson, her label, is known for its impeccable tailoring, and clever designs that stand out in a crowd, but remain classy and tasteful.
When you walk into the Carlson store, you’re immediately overwhelmed (in the best way) by the classical styles which take you back in time. Tanya uses natural, New Zealand made fabrics as much as possible, and all garments are made in a studio above the shop.
Founded by two childhood friends, Rachel and Anjali, Twenty-seven names is a must visit if ever you’re in Auckland. All garments are proudly made in New Zealand, with the intention of lasting forever.
Twenty-seven names believe they’re responsible to the people who make, sell, and wear their clothes. They aim to respect and cherish every single person involved in the process of their collections. Before you walk in, picture block colours, soft prints, bold prints, floaty blouses, structured overalls; a touch of everything.
If you’re pushed for time and need a one-stop shop, hit MADE. MADE is a treasure trove for vintage and ethical fashion lovers. They’ve curated a store full of women’s and men’s clothing made by New Zealand designers and makers from around the country. You’ll find stunning knitwear from Standard Issue, clothes from Penny Sage, and even jeans from Nudie Jeans.
MADE stocks several international designers, in the form of preloved and vintage handbags and accessories. To name drop a few: Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Prada.
A linen lover’s kryptonite, Widdess are proudly designed and manufactured in Auckland. They’ve been making beautiful pieces since 1996, always focusing on natural textiles, like silk, cotton, and wool. Their studio sits above their store, meaning they can pop out regularly with new styles in small batches.
Widdess stock other New Zealand made brands, including ceramics and accessories dazzling enough to drool over.
New on the block, No9 Fifty Nine is the bricks and mortar store of Fabrik8 and Sly & Company. Both companies design and make all clothing in their Auckland based workrooms, and recently launched this space for shoppers to meet and buy in person.
Sly & Company produce limited edition garments using a combination of new fabrics, and upcycled fabrics to mix up prints and patterns. Their pieces are bold and beautiful, long lasting, and exceptionally made.
Fabrik8 have similar practices, holding ‘little, local, and ethical’ at the heart of their values. They use New Zealand milled fabric, predominantly cotton and merino wool. Fabrik8 make to order so that nothing goes to waste!
Take a break between kiwi spotting, sheep gazing, and Sky Tower climbing, to support our local brands.
I live and breathe sustainable living and ethical fashion. This alternative way of consuming and existing dominates my every waking moment- and sometimes more. Ethical fashion and living are no longer my hobbies, it has become my mission... to change the future of fast fashion and the way we consume. My husband and I strive to live a zero-waste lifestyle, live at thrift stores, and always look to 'up-cycle' rather than throw out. Eco-living is not a choice for me, it's in my blood, and I am trying with all my power for it to be the new 'norm'.