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"All is not lost, and there are still incredible labels out there making sure everyone is feeling included and represented, while also not costing the earth."
If you’re anything like us, you may have cultivated a love/hate relationship with fashion over the last few years. Between the industry’s lack of inclusivity and its catastrophic contribution to climate change, there are good reasons to give up on fashion brands altogether. But all is not lost, and there are still incredible labels out there making sure everyone is feeling included and represented, while also not costing the earth.
Here are five of our favourite unisex ethical clothing brands.
Anyone and everyone can wear a WAH-WAH sweater. Designed in Sydney and inspired by the punk rock record covers, gig posters, and old-school comics beloved by designer Kaylene Milner since she was a teenager, WAH-WAH reimagines awesome music designs as wearable art. The brand often collaborates with bands and artists both local and international, to create a marriage of the elements of pop culture that is bright, loud, and proudly tongue-in-cheek.
Working closely with local and offshore manufacturers to perfect the design process, WAH-WAH's jumpers are made in Australia and China using Australian wool. Founder Milner is openly passionate about supporting the garment industry and ensuring fair work for fair pay. As if we didn’t love them enough already, 100% of profits of the WAH-WAH x Reg Mombassa sweater are also donated to The Climate Council and Firesticks Alliance Indigenous Corporation.
On top of creating beautiful gender-free garments, Official Rebrand (also known as OR?!) revives discarded clothing, breathing new life into what was once unwanted. Through painting and other alterations, the “rebranding” process proposes an anti-waste alternative to today's industrial and social norms. OR?!’s transformative process celebrates the fluidity of identity, dissociating garments from gendered categories, reintroducing them without arbitrary social constraints.
Founder MI Leggett is a New York based non-binary artist. A former food justice advocate with a background in sustainable agriculture, video art and painting, they now transform unwanted materials into unique clothing and sculptures. We love how the brand challenges the boundaries between art and fashion, and how committed OR?! is to keeping things low impact for the environment.
No gender categories, only vibes. Riley Studio designs for humans, believing in individuality, without gender in mind. As the website states clearly, “Style knows no boundaries, and neither should we”. Riley Studio is also on a journey towards sustainability, for people and the planet. By sourcing recycled materials, and working with ethical partners, the British brand is committed to doing things the right way, not the easy way.
Every Riley Studio product impacts the environment, and the company takes responsibility to minimise this impact by creating durable and versatile pieces that can stand the test of time. A map also has been set up onsite to encourage traceability, which is the first step to sustainability, according to the brand. We always appreciate a brand that is transparent about their supply chain.
If you love a good shirt, head over Kowtow’s website. Kowtow is a haven for beautiful, unisex clothing, from simple to fancier designs, and the brand is also actively involved in reducing its impact on the environment. What’s not to love?
Kowtow states the brand is engaged with a slow production chain, where collections take 18 months from design to delivery. This is the basis for their values, to ensure workers rights and environmental protection. All their garments are certified by non-profit, internationally recognised organisations, and the business supports fair wages, no child labour, workers rights, gender equality & grower community. When it comes to the ethical treatment of animals, Kowtow is also clear that they source local New Zealand mohair, alpaca fleece and wool from farmers who commit to the highest grade of animal welfare, environmental care and social responsibility. This includes commitment to no mulesing.
Time for new sustainable underwear, anyone? When founders Fran and Naomi, started TomboyX out of their garage, they did so because of one simple fact - they wanted underwear that fit who they are, not who others told them to be. And it became clear very quickly that they were not alone.
TomboyX believes that everything you put on your body should make you feel great exactly as you are, and help you express yourself without constraint. That means the brand is dedicated to not only making high-quality apparel but making it fit everyone who loves it. From adaptive underwear to super-soft pajamas, and striving to make their supply chain an ethical example for the rest of the industry, TomboyX states they owe it all to their community. No harmful chemicals and a water recycling program are one of the ways TomboyX is upping its game when it comes to sustainability, but it’s also on a cultural mission. The brand is redefining the word ‘tomboy’ and we’re here for it.