Is fashion your passion? Or do you just throw on whatever clothes happen to be clean? Whatever your sartorial choices, they can make a big difference when it comes to sustainability – according to various reports, the clothing industry is one of the world’s worst environmental offenders, with textile dyeing often listed as the second largest global polluter after oil. Entire ecosystems have been destroyed in the quest to produce cotton, a particularly thirsty crop whose cultivation has been responsible for toxic chemicals from the use of fertilisers and pesticides running off into waterways and devastating rivers and lakes, as well as bankrupting farmers as they take out ever larger loans to meet crop orders. If you consider that it takes 2700 litres of water to grow the cotton for just one T-shirt, it’s not much of a stretch to calculate the impact our thirst for cheap, “throwaway” fashion is having on the planet.
It can all sound overwhelming, but these days, for just about every problem the fashion industry has created, there’s some stylish solutions, and many of them are right here at the Market. These are just a few of our stallholders who are passionate about sustainable style.
Frankie’s Story stocks a super-colourful selection of sustainable clothing and accessories for kids and adults. Owner Hadassah Jordan says she is constantly inspired by Mini Rodini, which she describes as the world’s most sustainable children’s fashion brand.
“They’ve shifted into using Lyocell [an eco-friendly cellulose fibre] for their basics and all their swimwear is made from upcycled fishing nets. They really lead with their sustainability initiatives and I get excited seeing their continual evolution.” Hadassah says she also greatly respects the work ethic of AS Colour, a basics brand that “put their practices before profit”.
At Merchants of Change, the motto is People, Planet, Purpose, with a wide selection of clothing, accessory and toy brands that work to improve the quality of life for various disadvantaged communities as well as treading lightly on the earth. While the packaging used by most of the brands in store is minimal, any that remains is reused in store or donated to childcare centres for use in craft projects.
Longstanding stallholder Gianna Molinaro designs women’s clothing in largely natural fibres with low environmental impact that can be worn across the seasons, such as silk, linen, wool and tencel. The focus on quality and timeless styles means her pieces will be worn and loved for many years to come.
La Sierra‘s range of alpaca fibre clothing and homewares is the result of direct collaboration with artisans in Ecuador and Peru and is guided by fair trade principles.
Directly across from La Sierra, Lost in Seasons stocks a range of denim jeans made in LA by a factory whose sustainable practices include using recycled water in production.
Both La Sierra and Lost in Seasons are located in SO:ME Space, which is a great place to find fashion and accessories by eco-conscious brands, including emerging local Melbourne designers and makers who love to share their sustainability stories. So if you’re curious about how to make clothing choices that help the planet, drop in for a chat!