29.01.19

8 Ethically Made Workwear Brands Perfect For The Office

ethical fashion for the office

Olivia Burton

For most of us, it’s that time of year again where we drag ourselves back into work.

One thing that we may not have considered is work clothing. Consider this. We spend around one-third of our lives at work, which means countless hours wearing clothing that can be uncomfortable and ugly.

Even worse, a high amount of clothing is produced unethically and cheaply. We can do better.

Image via The Fable

ethical workwear brands

Ethical clothing has thankfully sped up light years in the last few years, with more available than just cream cardigans. Ethically produced workwear is more playful and stylish than ever before. With this in mind, below are my top picks for ethical workwear brands that pack a punch.

ethical workwear brands

For modern basics – Kowtow

Price: $$

This conscious label is commonly mentioned as a favorite for well-made, stylish and sustainable basics. The garments are ethical and sustainable, from the use of non-toxic dye to regenerated Nylon swimwear. Kowtow garments (except the swimwear) are made in trusted and certified factories in India, where workers are guaranteed minimum wage, social security fund, paid leave, medical insurance, and workplace unions. Full ethical and sustainable practices can be found here, it’s well worth a read for interest.

‘Ethical and sustainable values are at the core of Kowtow. All Kowtow garments are certified by non-profit internationally recognised organisations.’

Kowtow has a range of clothing suitable for work, from shirts to jumpsuits. Every garment from the brand is sharp and sleek, with a conscious lifecycle – absolute winner.

For classics with a colourful twist – Milk & Thistle

Price range $$

Eco-boutique Milk & Thistle is the real deal, with design, print, and production all done within Australia.

Started in 2006 by Australian designer Danielle Atkinson, the brand aims to produce well constructed, comfortable and modern garments.

The brand has a small but unique range of best sellers in linen and cotton, from kimono jumpsuits to dresses.

With beautiful colours you won’t see anywhere else, the styles are perfect for all-day comfort in the office!

ethical workwear brands

For the perfect shirt – The Fable

Price range: $$

There is nothing better to wear at work than a silk shirt; they are luxurious, versatile and comfortable.

There are some conflicting opinions on if silk, produced from silkworms, is ethical to wear, but that’s a personal choice (read more here). If you are looking for the perfect silk shirt, that’s also produced in ethically certified factories; The Fable has got you covered.

The founder Sophie has been visiting the brand’s factories in India, and now Shanghai, since the beginning of The Fable in 2015. The majority of the current garment workers are women that have been working in the factories for over seven years. Read more about the working conditions here.

The brand has a wide range of beautiful silk shirts, in a range of patterns and colours, to wear from work to a night out. The shirts are made from 100% silk, which means hand washable only, so if you’re a fellow mess go for a darker shade.

ethical workwear brands

For luxury suits that will last – The Aurum Collective

Price range: $$$$

Not all of us require a suit to wear to work, but if you do, The Arum Collection should be first choice. This luxury, high-end brand is extremely popular for timeless and sophisticated suits, ethically designed and made in Australia.

‘Founder and Creative Director, Ashley Freeman, was exposed to the fashion industry from a young age…Living in suits, she was consistently disappointed with the lack of beautiful and functional designs available to young professional women. And from her frustration, The Aurum Collective was born.’

The suits are stylish, versatile and ethically produced, which is important for an outfit you might wear for a lifetime. Aside from ethical production, Founder and Creative Director Ashley Freeman also wanted to ensure The Aurum Collective makes women feel confident, strong and feminine. All garments in the collection are made from premium natural fabric such as 100% Australian Merino Wool.

Note – Australia has a high standard of animal welfare in the wool industry, however again it’s a personal choice if you want to wear it.

ethical workwear brands

For high-quality designer wear – Veronika Maine

Price range: $$$

Veronika Maine is an Australian staple, focusing on high quality, beautifully tailored and stylish pieces which are made to last.

The designer label sits under Cue Clothing Co, which is ethically accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia and has been made in Australia for over 40 years.

The brand has a wide range of tailored pieces which are perfect for work,

‘Fitted tailoring and modern cuts promise to elevate your work dress code.’

ethical workwear brands

For radical transparency – Everlane

Price range: $

Everlane is beautifully simple; made with the finest fabric, select ethical factories and radical transparency. Every product is made to last, with prices reasonably averaging around $100. The best part of the brand is the transparency of the production, with ‘Our Factories’ map available to view online here.

‘Every factory has a story. We seek the best from around the world to make our products…We spend months finding the best factories around the world—the same ones that produce your favorite designer labels. We visit them often and build strong personal relationships with the owners #KnowYourFactories’

ethical workwear brands

For affordable workwear that’s not dull – Reformation

Price range: $

Reformation needs no introduction. The popular American brand has always focused on modern clothing, with sustainability and ethics at its core. All of Reformation’s garments are produced in an ethical factory in LA, which

‘allows us to develop, manufacture and ship from under the same roof as our headquarters’.

The brand is honest about its progress, downfalls and aims, focusing on improving the 4 Ps – People, Planet, Product and Progress.

They also concentrate on the full lifecycle, with recommendations on washing garments smartly (which is up to two-thirds of an item’s carbon footprint). Out of all sustainable and ethically focused brands, Reformation has the widest range of garments and styles.

ethical workwear brands

For Inclusive Sizes & Style – Eileen Fisher

Price range: $$$

Eileen Fisher is an American brand, commonly referenced as a leader in ethical and sustainable fashion.

The garments are produced in ethical factories in America, with full transparency on garment lifecycles, including repair and care advice. The brand is also focused on human rights and female support, with certified B-Corp status.

The list of ethical and sustainable initiatives at Eileen Fisher is extensive, with an impressive vision for 2020 including colour, resources, people, mapping and reuse.

Even more impressively, the brand hasn’t compromised on style, with beautiful garments perfect for work and play.

Olivia Burton

Olivia is an eco-writer, producer, science graduate & ocean enthusiast. After moving from London to Sydney, she found her love for the outdoors and recycled textiles, which led her to start writing about science and sustainable fashion. Olivia is really passionate about brands using fashion for good and innovation in the industry. She now splits her time between several not-for-profit organisations in communication roles. Olivia is also a Centre for Sustainability Leadership alumni and sits on the Fashion Revolution committee for Australia & New Zealand.