The Ethical Fashion Brands Giving Back To Communities

Olivia Burton

There’s something extraordinary about purchasing an item that doesn’t only cause no harm to people or the planet, but actually improves lives.

With the recent bad press around fashion, there is a need for fashion to be better.

The following brands are also social enterprises, empowering and educating marginalized communities.

Image via The Social Outfit

The Social Outfit

The Social Outfit: Sustainable Fashion with a Difference

This Australian brand recently won the Innovation Award at the 2018 Green Globe Awards. Founded by Jackie Ruddock, this fashion brand produces beautiful and bold pieces, handmade in Australia by female refugees and migrant artisans. Each piece contributes towards supporting employment opportunities for these women and free training and education programs.

‘We connect refugee and new migrant communities with fashion industry supporters. Together, we design and manufacture ethical products that reflect a hopeful Australian spirit.’

The clothing they produce is limited, ethically accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia and Good On You app. The garments are ethical, sustainable and give back to empower it’s garment workers – triple winner.

ethical fashion

From Found: Creative, Ethical & Sustainable

From Found has a similar business model to The Social Outfit, producing ethical and sustainable clothing made by women from refugee backgrounds. The employment through From Found ensures they are financially free, educated further and gives an opportunity to transition into the mainstream workforce.

“As a collective of women from many different countries, we learn from one another’s cultures, creativity, passions, and knowledge and we support each other through the challenges of life.”

The clothing they produce is pretty cool, created from ‘found’ fabrics destined for landfill. To reduce waste, each piece is unique and made to order and made in Adelaide

Magpie Goose: Textile Designs Empowering Indigenous Communities

This powerful brand has bright and beautiful textiles designed by Aboriginal artists and then screen-printed in Australia. The clothing is manufactured in Sydney and focuses on the traditional prints and stories of each designer’s culture. Maggie McGowan set up the venture with Laura Egan, both with intensive experience working within indigenous communities.

On the website, you can read about the community and individual artisans behind the clothing, from textile designers to screen-printers from remote Northern Territory.  The interview below is with Nancy McDinny, the textile designer behind the Munjimunjingu Manma (seafood/bush tucker) design, ‘Her design depicts the different seafood that Nancy and her family have traditionally hunted on their country.’

Grace & Able: Jewellery & Accessories For Purpose

Emma Woodcock founded this brand, producing contemporary and stylish products, after wanting to create some positive change in the world. She uses her jewelry business to equip, enable and empower marginalized communities in over five countries. The impact that the brand has is to ensure wages have been increased to be above the living wage, and provide training and support to artisans. For more information on the process, click here. The products are also partially made from recycled pieces such as disused brass.

Tribe Alive – Contemporary Fashion Empowering Women Worldwide

This contemporary American brand offers beautifully handcrafted simple pieces from jumpsuits to handbags. The mission of Tribe Alive is to ‘partner with female artisans in Guatemala, Haiti, India, Honduras, and Fort Worth to employ at-risk women at living wages.’ It’s a worldwide artistic collaboration to empower vulnerable communities and produce beautiful products.

‘We work with women we know. We work with women we respect.’

ethical fashion

Cloth + Co. – Australian Luxury Lifestyle Brand Alleviating Poverty

Caroline Poiner has been working in the ethical fashion and artisan space for a while with Artisans of Fashion. She founded this luxury lifestyle brand in 2014 that produces stunning sleepwear to handmade homewares for men, women, and children. The brand was started to showcase traditional artisan’s skills, alleviating poverty and providing skills development.

‘By owning a precious piece from Cloth & Co. you are contributing to the lives of these people through a regular income and a valuable vocational education.’

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.