Acquiring and styling ethical fashion can require some thought and prep. Less is more is the general rule – work with what you already own and only buy quality, long-lasting pieces with decent ethical cred. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun…
There are no hard and fast ‘rules’ when it comes to fashion, but for conscious dressing these maxims will set you on the right track.
Ethical fashion is often one colour extreme or the other, from the neutral, natural aesthetic of organic labels like Kow Tow to the bright clashing prints of Stella Jean. There is nothing wrong with wearing black, but ethical fashion offers amazing an array of brands with a vibrant and colourful aesthetic. Our handwoven Banago clutch bag, Mar Y Sol beach tote, and Sunday Tracker sandals adorned with pom poms all prove the more colour the better!
WEAR A HAT
Hats are an easy win for ethical style, (not to mention sun-protection). A genuine, handwoven Panama hat will never go out of fashion. For added fun, this season has seen the addition of pom poms to the classic panama. In colder months a knitted beanie or felt fedora are great practical options with a range of great ethical makers to choose from.
Thanks to Australian-made Nobody Denim and their cult skinny jeans there is no compromise between ethics and style. Every fashion blogger seems to own a pair. And when you consider all the possibilities denim offers – cut-off shorts, skirts, black jeans, white jeans, boyfriend jeans, jackets – that’s half of your wardrobe covered.
INVEST IN COATS AND JUMPERS
The initial outlay for a decent woolen coat can be painful, but boy is it worth it. You can’t put a price on not being cold in winter. US ethical label Reformation do a great line in reasonably-priced classic navy, black and camel coats. For more outdoorsy outerwear check out Patagonia. With transparent supply chains, environment programs and a promise to repair all clothing for life, Patagonia is miles ahead of other outdoor clothing brands.
BORROW, BUY SECOND-HAND OR SWAP
An obvious rule for ethical style, pre-loved is always preferred. It’s not easy though, pulling off second-hand requires time and a certain je ne sais quoi. Australia lacks great vintage shops and the US consignment store system, so for decent gear e-bay is your best bet. If there’s something specific you need or a brand you love set an alert. There are also facebook groups you can join dedicated to buying and selling second-hand clothing by popular labels (eg. Gorman, Spell).
Layers of jewellery, oversize earrings, chokers and statement cuffs are all hallmarks of ethical style. For a statement bag, go for classic styles that aren’t cliché, like Matt&Nat's elegant vegan handbags. Or funk it up with a pom pom woven basket. It’s either muted or really fun. Most bags you can wear in different ways – it can be a handbag or a clutch or a shoulder bag.