5 Australian Made Ethical Fashion Brands You’ll Wear Forever

Olivia Burton

In the month of Fashion Revolution, it’s time to really think about the clothing we love and will wear forever.

With an increase in globalisation and demand for cheaper clothing, there’s a large disconnect between consumers and products. This BBC article highlights the difficulties of mass-produced items being tracked globally, like the below dress from Zara.

Even though globally produced items have issues, there are 60-75 million people that survive off of the industry.

In saying that, Australian-made manufacturing should be encouraged. Australian-made fashion support local artisans, the economy and adheres to strict regulations. There’s something magical about being able to read and relate to how locally made items are made.

Australian Made Ethical Fashion Brands

72% of shoppers look for the Australian Made logo, Mintel 

Sadly, it’s remarkably difficult to find well-known Australian brands that are manufactured in Australia; most brands have closed factories and headed overseas.

As Australian manufacturing is shrinking, the demand for local products is expanding. Below are Australian brands that are born and manufactured in Australia. For specific help on finding ethically produced Australian clothing, Ethical clothing Australia (ECA) is an accreditation body that ensures brand supply chains are transparent and legally compliant.

Australian Made Ethical Fashion Brands

1. Bianca Spender

This designer brand is famous for feminine, detailed and tailored clothing, founded by Sydney local Bianca Spender.

She uses Australian materials where possible such as wool, to produce sustainable items accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia.

Bianca is a strong advocate for Australian manufacturing, staying true to her roots of manufacturing in Sydney.

“I am very passionate about maintaining local manufacturing; we develop skills, provide jobs and stay connected with everyone who works with our product.” Extract from a David Jones Interview with Bianca Spender

Australian Made Ethical Fashion Brands

2. R.M.Williams

This brand is famous worldwide for handcrafted leather boots and accessories.

It was born in South Australia in 1932 by Reginald Murray Williams, focusing on tough outback attire that aims to last a lifetime. RM boots are made to last with an extensive repair service and in store fittings to fit perfectly.

The boots are still hand crafted in Adelaide and although they are made with leather, which some may not agree with, it’s a tough material. There is a detailed list here of the materials used.

Australian ethical fashion pants brands Nobody denim

3. Nobody Denim

This family denim label has been producing sustainable jeans since 1999 from Melbourne.

The brand is accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia, with ethical, transparent and handcrafted manufacturing.

Nobody Denim’s dedication is strong, standing by manufacturing in Melbourne, highlighting on their website

‘Melbourne is our heart and soul…we take pride in representing Melbourne on a world stage.’

Australian Made Ethical Fashion Brands

4. Driza-Bone

Driza-Bone is Australia’s answer to Barbour jackets: well-made outdoor apparel.

This brand has used high-quality materials and manufacturing processes since 1898. Driza-Bone traditional oilskin jackets are made from 100% cotton, with a detailed list of care instructions online to ensure garments last. Driza-Bone highlights on their website their preference for Australian-made products, however it’s now a difficult process.

“…Manufacturing in Australia is on the decline across all industries and the garment business is no different. We are slowly losing the skills and machinery in our industry which makes being competitive in some areas very difficult…” – Driza-Bone FAQ section, 2018

Australian Made Ethical Fashion Brands

5. Akubra

If there’s one thing Australian’s need, it’s a decent hat. Akubra make a variety of Australian iconic hats and accessories, certified by Australian Made.

The founder, Benjamin Dunkerley, set the hat factory up in Hobart in 1874, which is now based in Kempsey in New South Wales. “People have fond memories and are attached to their hats and we understand that!”

The brand has a strong focus on long-term wear, with repair and care instructions. The incredible hat making process is laid out on Akubra’s website, with images and detailed descriptions see here. Each hat takes around 6 weeks, with the same process that’s been used since the beginning.

“It’s rare to see Australian Manufacturing in action these days…Well, it’s so rare there’s only one of them – AKUBRA”

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.