7 Ways To Help Us Make More Ethical Fashion Choices

Danielle Kelly

“Fashion is sexy, addictive, exclusive and fast-moving. Sustainability, on the other hand, is about slowness, care, flourishing, and responsibility.” – Clara Vuletich

Designer, researcher, and educator Clara Vuletich spoke on stage at TEDxSydney 2016 about fashion and sustainability, taking a look at the darker side of the modern world’s fashion obsession. While ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘ethically produced’ goods are ironically on-trend, there is still a long way to go. Vuletich’s talk unveiled some practical solutions to mending the seams in the planning and production process of fast fashion but below are seven more resources that are just one-click away from educating and assisting us in making more ethical fashion choices.


Wardrobe Crisis: How We Went From Sunday Best To Fast Fashion 

This ethical fashion book “follows the thread that led us from Marie Antoinette to Carrie Bradshaw”. Written by Marie Claire Editor-at-Large, the aptly style qualified Press uses the concept of ‘Sunday best’, from years gone by, to argue for slower more ethical fashion production and consumption. Wardrobe Crisis explores haute couture, sweatshops and department stores to trace the origins of today’s fast fashion culture, and really encourages today’s biggest fashion and shopping addicts to stop and think before purchasing another black slip dress for the party or a 4th pair of blue jeans.


Ethical Clothing Australia

Ethical Clothing Australia is a local agency that offers voluntary accreditation to textiles, clothing and footwear manufacturers to ensure they maintain ethical, transparent and legally compliant supply chains. The ECA website maintains an up to date list of all accredited companies, as well as an informative industry hub with training and resources to assist businesses to understand and navigate their obligations.


Fashion Revolution Australia

The Fashion Revolution concept was born following the 2013 collapse of the Rhana Plaza textile manufacturing complex in Bangladesh, in which 1134 people were killed and a further 2500 were injured. This tragedy sparked a worldwide movement to “change the story for people who make the world’s clothes and accessories” by encouraging individuals to ask brands #whomademyclothes? TEDxSydney speaker Clare Vuletich sits on the Australian Advisory Committee for Fashion Revolution Australia, and you can keep track of local year round events on the Fashion Revolution Australia Aus & NZ Facebook page.


Good On You 

A crowdfunded initiative of not-for-profit group Ethical Consumers Australia, The Good On You free mobile app rates fashion brands for their impact on people, the planet and animals and is a simple way for you to make a difference every time you shop. It’s the intention of the app to get individuals using their consumer power to support ethical brands that do right by people and the planet.


The True Cost

This glossy 2015 feature-length documentary (that premiered at Cannes, followed by celebrity-studded screenings in LA and London), unveils the true cost of fast fashion on the developing world. Some in the fashion industry described “moral whiplash” after watching and discovering the truth to where, and how, and by who much of today’s throwaway fashion is produced. The True Cost is easily available in Australia to stream online via Netflix or iTunes download.


2016 Australian Fashion Report 

The Australian Fashion Report compiled by international aid and development organisation, Baptist World Aid, was released earlier this year and revealed that there is a long way to go in implementing and ensuring ethical manufacturing processes by some of Australia’s top fashion brands. Check out the full report for a complete breakdown of auditing and supplier relationships, worker empowerment and the importance of the ‘living wage’.


Well Made Clothes

Well Made Clothes is an online marketplace that allows you to buy direct from a range of ethical fashion labels. For a label to be stocked on the site it must demonstrate that it fulfils one of Well Made’s core values; local, handcrafted, transparent, gender equality, fair, vegan, minimal waste and sustainable. Well Made acknowledges the complexity of shopping 100% ’ethically’ in the fashion industry and suggests that if you’re going to shop, choose what values demonstrate ethical behaviour to you and shop accordingly.




Photo Credit: Guian Bolisay via Flickr CC


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