From sustainable farming and supply-chain transparency to issues surrounding leather and pesticides, the fashion industry has come under increasing scrutiny. More and more people are questioning where their clothes come from, and the impact they have on the environment, workers and society.
And while more brands are committing to ethical, sustainable practices, it’s still largely on customers to do the research and find businesses worth supporting.
A new online directory is making it a bit easier. Not-for-profit organisation Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA) has launched a digital shopping map, with pins for more than 300 accredited clothing stores around Australia (and 120 in Victoria alone).
“People are looking to buy ethical fashion and so we’re pleased to be able to give Victorians and shoppers around the country an easy way to map out their shopping via the brands selling local, ethically accredited fashion,” manager Angela Bell says in a statement.
The organisation accredits each brand independently, auditing its operations from design and manufacture down to dispatch. Its main focus is labour: brands must demonstrate that workers across textile, clothing and footwear are paid fairly, receive all their legal entitlements and have safe working conditions.
A recent ECA survey of manufacturers in the fashion industry (including in textiles, clothing and footwear) shows that 70 per cent of respondents are being asked questions by their customers about labour practices.
Accredited companies include Melbourne fashion label Arnsdorf, Indigenous-owned-and-run Clothing the Gap, handmade operation Nobody Denim, basics-focused brand Vege Threads, womenswear designer Bianca Spender, social enterprise The Social Studio and more.