If there’s maybe one positive or silver lining from the world’s post-2020—it’s that it has given us all a few minutes (read: months) to slow down. From a fashion perspective, it’s hopefully been a bit of a stopper for the ceaseless tide of mass consumption.
As consumers, we’ve all been forced to think, what is it I really need? We’ve all been forced to ponder and pivot towards actions, ideas, and products that have a real, enduring purpose.
This week is Fashion Revolution Week—the world’s largest fashion activism movement, founded after the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh in 2013. And while the world has been, albeit a bit sluggishly, leaning into a more sustainable-looking fashion industry since that time, COVID-19 brought with it its own tragedies. This time last year, more than 1 million garment workers in Bangladesh lost their jobs or have been furloughed because of order cancellations and the failure of buyers to pay for cancelled shipments.
Fashion Revolution is a call to action. Through its research, education, and advocacy work, Fashion Revolution recognises that sustainable fashion, in the truest sense of the term, needs to be a collective effort—and this is what Fashion Revolution Week is all about.
If you love fashion, this week is a great time to learn more about the journey your favourite jeans took to get to you, to call into question the efforts of your fave brands, and to make sure, when it comes to style, you are putting your money where your mouth is for people and the planet, as much as you possibly can.
Hit up the Fashion Revolution Instagram to see how you can get involved this week, step into Fashion Revolution Week's Open Studios to meet the makers behind your clothes, and tune into the dozens of digital events going deep on sustainable style.
For now, here are just a few of our favourite Australian labels leading the charge when it comes to sustainable style.
“Sustainability has always been at the core of [my] jewellery,” explains Brisbane born, Sydney-based artist and jewellery designer, Holly Ryan of her eponymous jewellery label. If you’re already a fan of Ryan’s stunning minimalist and art deco silver and gold, you’ll be happy to know she is big on using both recycled metals and found materials.
In 2018, she revealed the Holly Ryan Recycling Initiative, which encourages owners of Holly Ryan pieces to return items they no longer wear, so that they can be fashioned into something new. In response to COVID-19, Ryan has expanded her recycling initiative to include all jewellery—so you can recycle your non-Holly Ryan pieces too. Read more here.
Heart Of Bone
Coveted by the likes of Billie Eilish, Courtney Love, Diplo and Marc Jacobs, Heart of Bone is the gothic-inspired Melbourne-based jewellery label that gave us the "Bunny Ring" and inspired us to get stuck into heavy metal chains and romantic silverware.
Last year, Heart of Bone designer Emma Abrahams has revealed a very limited collection of gold and silver signet rings set with vintage repurposed diamonds. "By repurposing these old and second-hand stones we, in turn, give them a new life, an opportunity to create new stories and become a part your new adventures," Abrahams said. "A modern heirloom and a reminder that things change, new beginnings are possible and we must always live in the present and be conscious that the choices we make as individuals and as a society can be the change we want to see in our world.”
REBORN by HoMie
Melbourne-born streetwear label HoMie is easily one of the most fashion-forward concepts on the planet right now. Part social enterprise, part sought-after streetwear label, HoMie’s core range is made up of effortless oversized tees and 80s and 90s-style sweats and hoodies. The key difference is that it’s fashion for a purpose—100 percent of HoMie’s profits go to providing brand-new clothing, training and job opportunities for young people affected by homelessness or hardship.
And, the HoMie crew has dropped a brand new collection that continues to push their concept of fashion for good and fashion for community: REBORN by HoMie. The repurposed, recycled fashion collection of amazing, grungy, one-off pieces sell out quickly—but you can catch the next drop here.
Melbourne-based designer Jade Sarita-Arnott put her label on hold in 2012—she was fed up and disheartened by the relentless cycle of the fashion industry. After some time out, she relaunched Arnsdorf in 2017 with a totally sustainable framework, doing away with excessive waste and business centred on mass production.
Basically, Sarita-Arnott designs about 15 pieces every 10 or so weeks, instead of full seasonal collections. Everything is made in Melbourne using bio-degradable fabrics like organic cotton, hemp, linens, wool, silk and bamboo. Designs are considered, trans-seasonal, effortless, and beautiful limited runs. Transparency is key in the brand’s new ethos too: each product features a list of its makers alongside fabric and care instructions, as well as full transparency on the cost of making it, step by step. This year, the label became one of a few Australian womenswear labels to hold B Corp status, a certification awarded to businesses successfully balancing profit and purpose.
Artclub is a far cry from Sass & Bide co-founder Heidi Middleton’s earlier ventures in fashion. Launched in 2019 and housed in a Sydney warehouse that’s home to eco-friendly businesses like Koskela and Three Blue Ducks, Artclub is not about mass-produced, trend-based denim. Instead, it’s a hub for atelier-made art, environmentally-conscious fashion, and vintage designer pieces.
Middleton wanted to flip the industry framework on its head, and through Artclub she’s peddling slow fashion that’s centred on creative freedom, longevity, and respect for the planet. As for the clothes, expect billowing gowns made from remnant taffeta, pleated metallic skirts made with remnant lame—it’s an elegant Italian summer vibe and we are very into it.
“It’s so important that Nimble—as a business—takes steps to reduce our collective impact on the world,” Nimble founders Katia Santilli and Vera Yan told us about their decision to be sustainable first. “Reducing unnecessary waste is something we are so passionate about and we are committed to finding ways we can continue to be more sustainable across all facets of our business, including working with our signature recycled fibres in our garments and the minimisation of plastic and waste within our packaging and postage.”
Launched in 2015, this Bondi-born brand has two custom engineered fabrics (MoveLite and COMPRESSLITE) that are made from post-consumer used plastics—and over the past five years, Nimble has recycled almost 100,000 plastic bottles.
The name Nagnata is a Sanskrit word for "nakedness"—the idea that through yoga we might return to a more natural and authentic state of being. Nagnata's ethos is firmly centred on "movements not seasons" and "changing the rampant consumerism of fast fashion". All of the label's technical knit pieces are made with organic cotton, and they are actively engaged in a number of fair trade artisan projects (you can read more here). We also love Nagnata's recent genderless collection "SAMA", which dropped in December last year.
For more ways to celebrate Earth Day this week, jump over here.
Image credit: Nagnata, Holly Ryan, Heart of Bone, HoMie, Arnsdorf, Nimble, Nagnata