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The Ultimate Guide: Ethical and Sustainable Clothing Australia - Birdies Collective

The Ultimate Guide: Ethical and Sustainable Clothing Australia

You’ve probably landed here because you want to reduce your impact as a consumer. Well, if that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place. 

Here, we’ll explore ethical and sustainable shopping and give you a better insight into what it means to produce ethical and sustainable clothing in Australia

What is sustainable and ethical shopping?

Ethical and sustainable shopping refers to consciously consuming goods that are produced and consumed in a way that is mindful of the environment, social welfare, and the rights of the people who make them. It’s the conscious approach that aims to reduce the negative impacts of industry practices on the planet and promote fair treatment of everyone involved in the production process.

So, what’s the difference between sustainable and ethical shopping? While there can be a lot of overlap between the two, it’s important to know what to look for as a conscious consumer. 

Ethical products are made in a way that:

  • Does not use any process, material, person or animal in an unethical way
  • Is not reliant on modern slavery or worker exploitation
  • Does not cause negative impacts on local communities where the business operates 
  • Avoids any cruelty to animals

Sustainable products are made in a way that:

  • Does not deplete nonrenewable resources
  • Does not directly harm the environment
  • Is socially responsible 

What are the challenges to ethical and sustainable clothing in Australia?

While the concept of ethical and sustainable clothing is gaining momentum in Australia, it is still not without its challenges. One of the primary challenges is the higher price point. These garments are often made with higher-quality materials and are produced in smaller quantities, leading to a higher price tag. This can make ethical and sustainable clothing less accessible for those who want to make a difference.

Another challenge is the lack of transparency, particularly in the fashion industry. It’s not difficult to name yourself a sustainable clothing brand in Australia because there is little regulation in place to ensure that these claims are accurate. This makes it difficult for consumers to determine which brands are truly committed to ethical and sustainable practices and which ones are simply greenwashing to appeal to conscious consumers. 

How to identify sustainable clothing in Australia

The best way to identify whether a product or brand aligns with your ethical and sustainable lifestyle values is to ask yourself these questions: 

  • Is the product of high quality and made to last? 
  • What happens to the product at the end of its life? Is it recyclable or biodegradable, or does the company have a collection or returns system in place?
  • Has the product been made from renewable resources, recycled or certified sustainable materials? 
  • What type of packaging is used, and is it recyclable or made from renewable or recycled materials?
  • Is the product well-made?
  • Is the product repairable if necessary? 

As consumers, we hold a lot of buying power, and we can literally vote with our wallets. By showing your support for businesses that are making an obvious effort to improve practices and do better for the environment and the people who work and live in it, we can collectively sway demand for more ethical and sustainable clothing in Australia. Which, in turn, means more affordable, ethical and sustainable clothing.
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