9 Gorgeous Ethically Made Dresses You’ll Wear Forever

Olivia Burton

The sun is making its way out; which means cool and colourful dresses come out of the closet.

The big issue I have with summer dresses however is the challenge of finding a dress that’s ethically made, stylish and doesn’t squeeze my love handles up to my neck.

So, I’ve now done the hard yards and found the brands that combat these issues.

If you are after an ethical and sustainably made summer dress that screams style and is designed to flatter all shapes, look no further than these brands.

Image via Christy dawn

Christy Dawn ethical fashion brands
Chief Studio Australian ethical fashion
The Perennial Closet ethical fashion
Permanent Vacation Australian ethical fashion brands

1. Chief Studio

This Australian label produces vibrant and feminine designs, aimed to flatter and fit any body shape. The hand-drawn prints are designed in Sydney and ethically produced in accredited family-run factories in India. The brand is also environmentally-friendly, including certified organic cotton and non-toxic eco-friendly dyes. 

2. The Perennial Closet 

The Perennial Closet, founded in Ohio, produces naturally dyed garments. Perennial actually means ‘lasting or existing for a long time or apparently infinite time’. Founder Katie set the brand up to serve women of all shapes and sizes! The pieces come in a range of soft pastel colours and styles, each with a perfect summery feel.

3. Permanent Vacation

PV is a very cool Australian label producing timeless and sleek pieces. The well-made items are all made within 15 meters of Collingwood Studio in Melbourne and made to order to ensure no waste. PV also doesn’t go with the ‘trends’, meaning pieces remain online until sold. There is only a limited selection of dresses, but damn they are beautiful. This label is more suited to taller frames.

Silk Laundry Australian sustainable fashion
ELK Australian Ethical Fashion Dresses
All the Wild Roses Australian ethical fashion

4. Silk Laundry 

I’m a sucker for silk. Anything made from silk is incredibly comfortable, sexy and lasts a lifetime if made well. Silk Laundry is a luxury and ethical label designed and made in Australia, founded by Katie Kolodinski in 2015. Made from natural silk, the timeless items are produced with a focus on all women’s body shapes. The slip and shirt dresses are available in a range of beautiful and unique prints, from plain vibrant colour to polka dots.

5. ELK

The Melbourne-based brand was set up by husband and wife dream time Marnie Goding and Adam Koniaras in 2004. ELK’s priorities are to support traditional trades, circular economy design, and protection of people, animals, and the planet. The label also showcases comprehensive transparency, with a full report published each year on its impacts and supply chain. The dresses are modern, made for comfort and high quality.

6. All The Wild Roses 

A bohemian Australian brand that empowers Vietnamese women through fair trade fashion. Founder Hang Osment-Le started the brand when she returned to her native Vietnam and realised that she could build opportunities for local seamstresses. The Dare to Dream project ensures every purchase at Wild Roses contributes to the label’s investment in microloans, in partnership with Opportunity International Australia Org. The boho dresses come in a range of styles and prints in recycled / surplus cotton, perfect for Australian summer!

Yevu Australian ethical fashion brands
Christy Dawn ethical fashion brands dresses

7. YEVU 

YEVU is a Ghanian made brand based in Australia and smashing vibrant dress goals. The social side of the brand aims to support women and the community in Ghana through sustainable, fair work and education – ‘if you educate a girl, you educate a nation’. The pieces are made with 100% cotton and traditional West African wax print fabrics sourced from Central Accra. Each piece is handmade in the YEVU workshop, with details online about each female maker.

8. Christy Dawn  

This Californian boho brand makes timeless pieces made from upcycled “deadstock” fabric. All pieces are made with love and care by a team of seamstresses in LA. The brand is ALL dresses, from casual, maternity to one-of-a-kind.

9. Mayamiko 

This ethically made and environmentally friendly brand produces feminine and stylish pieces, made in solar-powered facilities in Lilongwe in Malawi. Fabrics are on a limited run and handpicked locally in fabric markets in Malawi. Products are certified in Fair Trade, Organic Cotton and earth positive. Dresses are in a range of prints, from bold and vibrant to pastel colours. Once sold out, each specific piece is gone!

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.