Sustainable Swaps: Australian Womenswear
When I first started making the shift to sustainable fashion, my biggest problem was finding supplements for the brands I already loved who weren’t necessarily doing the right thing. I’d looked at a few ‘sustainable brand swap’ articles, but often I found that they missed the mark or were a very generous stretch. A lot of the swap options were also international brands—not so helpful when I’m trying to shop locally. Some swaps were also far more expensive than their counterparts which made them impossible swaps to make.
If you, like me, don’t want to change your style but want to shop with your values without breaking your budget, then these Australian sustainable brand swaps might be for you. I’ve tried to suggest swaps that are on par in terms of style and price, so you can keep wearing what you love without sacrificing your values.
Princess Highway swapped for Leonard St Clothing
Princess Highway are known for their floral prints and vintage-inspired designs, but they’re not so well-known for their lack of supply chain audits and sustainable practices. Thankfully, there’s a Melbourne-based alternative doing their bit to be sustainable. Leonard St Clothing have a zero-waste policy, a ban on plastics in their factories, and they work with ethical factories in Bali and China who pay well above the minimum salary. They also have a kids range, so your mini-me can join the ethical fashion movement too.
Seed Heritage swapped for Lois Hazel
They’re on every high street in Melbourne and locals love their minimal, beachy styles, but Seed Heritage is rated ‘Not Good Enough’ on Good On You for their lack of evidence on environmental policies and the Ethical Fashion Report labelled their labour rating ‘not good enough’ too. Lois Hazel share similar aesthetic values without compromising on ethics. They make all their garments right here in Melbourne and use organic and recycled fabrics. They also list all their supplies on their website, so you know where their clothes are made.
Cotton On swapped for Homie
Everyone knows about Cotton On in Australia. They’re the go-to for everyday clothes and basics, and they seem to be expanding every year. But all those cheap clothes are doing the environment no favours. Homie is a Melbourne social enterprise giving opportunities to young people facing homelessness while making awesome streetwear. Their latest initiative is a range of upcycled clothing following on from their popular REBORN range. While their products do cost a bit more than Cotton On, your money is going towards social change as well as some cool threads.
Bonds swapped for Australian Stitch
They’re a household name in Australia, but Bonds have got a fair way to go if they want to catch up to sustainable basics brand Australia Stitch. Making every item ethically in Melbourne, these guys are known for their block-colour, blank basics. They don’t produce on mass, but instead create small stock runs which are sold online and from their Brunswick Street store. When it comes time to replace your worn out COVID trackies, turn to Australian Stitch.
Forever New swapped for Livia Arena
Feminine silhouettes and pastelle hues combine at both these brands, but only one of them is producing responsibly. Livia Arena is a modern Australian womenswear brand with their factory and store on the same premises. Every garment is made on site and you can take a 3D tour on their website of the factory.
Seafolly swapped for Lé Buns
There are plenty of Australian swimwear options that are working ethically and sustainably, unfortunately fan-favourite Seafolly isn’t one of them. Lé Buns swimwear, on the other hand, is versatile, flattering and super stylish and they give Seafolly a run for their money. The Hadley halter bikini top is their bestseller and can be worn five ways for just $89.99, definitely value for money.
Kookai swapped for Natalija
Step out in style knowing the garment you’re wearing has been made ethically. Natalija rival the sophisticated, minimal style of Kookai and do it all with a made-to-order model. This means they reduce their waste, only make what has been ordered, and custom-fit their designs to fit your body—unlike the limited, exclusive size run offered at Kookai.
Image source: Natalija
Gorman swapped for Jüs Güdi
If it’s bold patterns you’re after, then say goodbye to Gorman and hello to Jüs Güdi. Designed, printed and constructed in Sydney, Jüs Güdi designs are bright and playful. Their designs are thoughtfully designed for varying body types and come in separates or one-pieces.
Sportsgirl swapped for Gáal
Founded by dynamic duo Brianna and Matthew Gaál, their clothes are youthful yet sophisticated with blazers and blouses paired with miniskirts and slip dresses. All made in Australia with the wellbeing of their workers and the planet in mind, Gaál rivals the fast fashion alternatives like Sportsgirl.
French Connection swapped for Auguste the Label
Known for their balance of basics and fun designs, French Connection used to be one of my favourite brands pre-quitting fast fashion. Thankfully I discovered Auguste the Label instead. This Byron Bay brand have more of a beachy style than French Connection, but their balance of basics and prints is just what I was after. They also produce swimwear and kids clothes to round out their range.
Camilla swapped for Spell
Bohemians unite because Spell is here to meet your ethical needs. Camilla produce some gorgeous clothes encrusted with crystals and boasting bright travel-inspired colours, but their ethics are nothing to be proud of. They share hardly any information on their environmental policies, their efforts to reduce carbon emissions and packaging waste, and they also have no evidence of paying a living wage. At the other end of the spectrum, Spell are super transparent about their processes and are a supporting member of 1% for the Planet. Their patterns aren’t quite as bright as Camilla, but their bohemian styles range from dresses and swimwear to shoes and bridal gowns.
Got another brand you'd like a swap suggestion for? Send me a message through the contact page or message me on Instagram.