Sustainable fashion in Brisbane City - Visit Brisbane

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Where to shop sustainable fashion in Brisbane City

The ABC’s War On Waste series revealed that Australians dispose of an estimated six tonnes of clothing every 10 minutes, and a report from the University of Queensland shows 80 billion pieces of new clothing are consumed globally each year. Those numbers are astronomical but unless you live on a deserted island, buying clothes is part of being human. When it comes to purchasing new threads considering which brands are doing the right thing is important and you as the shopper have the power to vote with your hard-earned dollars.

Queen Street Mall by Mitchell Talbot

“Shoppers looking to navigate the confusing landscape of sustainable fashion should consider their own values first. The fashion industry has a serious impact on people, the planet and animals, so that's a good place to start,” says Brittanie Dreghorn of sustainable fashion site Britt’s List. “Brands that communicate their values in the areas that align with their customers' should get a big tick.”

The Brisbane-based sustainable fashion writer and speaker says if you're not sure about the brands ethical values to simply ask them. “Ideally every brand would make their clothes ethically from natural fibres that are sustainably sourced and break down easily in landfill, but there's a price tag that comes along with that and it's not accessible to everyone. A good and affordable alternative is shopping secondhand,” says Brittanie. 

This article will guide you to shop Queen Street Mall and surrounds in Brisbane City with sustainability in mind. We’ve broken this guide into three segments – shopping locally made clothing, shopping second hand threads, and finally the A+/- rated brands from the 2019 Ethical Fashion Report

Find clothing made in Brisbane or Australia

Who made you clothes? It’s a simple question with a complex answer for brands with large supply chains. One of the best ways to ensure you top, skirt or pants were made under ethical conditions is to keep it local.

Made in Australia

Cue & Veronika Maine
Being designed here is not enough, look especially for labels that explicitly say “Made in Australia”. Two great stores to start with are Cue and sister brand Veronika Maine. The first Cue opened in 1968 in Sydney’s Strand Arcade. Now Cue is the largest local manufacturer of fashion in Australia, accredited with Ethical Clothing Australia. Find Cue on the mall near Wintergarden, and Veronika Maine within the centre. 

Myer
You can also find Cue and Veronika Maine within the Myer department store. Myer stocks a number of other Australian-made brands including White Suede, Patagonia, Nobody Denim, Stella McCartney and Misha.



QueensPlaza & David Jones
Level 1 of QueensPlaza is dedicated to Australian fashion brands. Here seek out boutiques for Viktoria & Woods (known for signature merino wool and effortless staple pieces) and one of Australia’s most influential designers, Carla Zampatti. Also in the QueensPlaza centre, dive into department store David Jones for Bianca Spender, Manning Cartell and Bec & Bridge, which all manufacture in Australia. For swimwear David Jones also stocks locally made Bondi Bather.

Biome
The best place to seek out sustainable fashion in Brisbane City is at eco store Biome. On Adelaide St the boutique stocks a curated hand-picked selection slow fashion brands for men, women and kids, including shoes, accessories, socks and hosiery. 

Made in Brisbane

Brisbane Arcade
Go one better than Australian made and seek out fashion sewn right here in Brisbane. Make a B-line for the historic Brisbane Arcade where the majority of our top local designers have a storefront. From Tengdahl’s pieces inspired by designer Julie’s travels, to Irma J’s signature bow shirt and bright power suits. We’ve dived deep on the Arcade’s designers with this feature here.

Museum of Brisbane 
Another supporter of Brisbane made goods is the Museum of Brisbane gift shop. Here you can find all things artisan or Australiana made in this fine city. Think stunning earrings from Concrete Jellyfish, Queenslander silk scarves and badges by Debra Hood, makeup from Dunkle, ceramics from Rose Jensen-Holm and candles from Ivy & Wood. It’s a true treasure trove.

BrisStyle Indie Twilight Market
Once every month or two this gem of a market pops up in King George Square on Friday night. To participate in this market the stallholders have to be makers and artisans who produce their clothing, accessories, homewares and more here in Brisbane.

Reduce, reuse and recycle with preloved stores and second hand clothing

There’s no feeling quite like finding that perfect secondhand score, Maybe you found the ultimate denim jacket, a mint condition leather skirt, chic designer dress at a steal or proper winter coat for a winter trip south. Try these vintage, secondhand and thrift stores in Brisbane City.

SWOP

SWOP
SWOP ‘til you drop at this vintage and quality labels secondhand store. On Adelaide St this clothing exchange is a place for customers to buy, SWOP and sell preloved clothing, shoes and accessories. They accept mens and womens vintage from the ‘50s to ‘00s, plus buy quality labels and on trend high fashion pieces. If you drop in Thursday to Saturday, you can bring a bag of clothes from your wardrobe to swap or sell.

Arkive Vintage
With cool music and good vibes, Arkive Vintage is a proper vintage haunt and the spot to go for unique finds with a story. Arkive’s story starts in London’s East End with a pop up at the Brick Lane vintage market. The Brisbane City store holds original vintage pieces dating from the 1930s to the 1990s – most in their original state and some updated with clever customisation. All pieces are sourced from the UK, Europe & USA. 

Revamp
Nearby on Adelaide St in the tiny Blocksidge Arcade is a small, super packed vintage and labels store – this is the spot you might find second hand luxury labels, silk shirts, sequined gowns and more. Jimmy Choo shoes, Glomesh bags, Chloe bags, Zimmermann clothes…. It’s worth a dig!

Lifeline Labels
Opposite Revamp in the Blocksidge Arcade is op shop Lifeline’s upmarket “Labels” store. In here you’ll notice the pricetags are more likely to have two digits than one, but the quality and labels stocked make the difference. Expect to find the odd luxury piece, but mostly quality high street brands like Country Road, Cue, Veronika Maine, Seed, Witchery and chic brands you might find in Myer or David Jones.

Vinnies
On Mary St, this super organised thrift store has a huge range of high quality fashion well organised into various sections and sizes. The prices are higher than op shops in the suburbs, but the quality is too!

2019 Ethical Fashion Guide

The most sustainable fashion is what’s already in your wardrobe and the next best is hunting for preloved gems. But ah, no one really wants second hand underwear, right? 

Every year Baptist World Aid release the Ethical Fashion Report, giving a school grade to various brands based on 44 specific criteria. While it’s not a perfect system (it relies on brands' capacity to respond to extensive surveys and paperwork) it considers environmental and human impacts, including mitigating the risks of forced or child labour and worker exploitation, and examines the whole supply chain from raw material to final stage manufacturing.

Higher grades are given to companies with ethical sourcing systems and while brands with A grades are worth paying attention to, be aware of what can be called greenwashing by big brands. 

Underwear & Hosiery

We promised you brand new underpants, and here’s where to buy them. Bras ‘n’ Things (Myer Centre), Bonds (Target, Big W, Best ‘n’ Less), Berlei (Myer), Barely There (Myer), Hestia (Big W), Jockey (Target), Kayser (Big W) and Rio (Big W) all received an A rating in the 2019 guide. If you’re in need of stockings, hosiery brands Razza Matazz and VooDoo received an A.

Sports and outdoor gear

New Zealand brand Icebreaker, known for its merino wool outdoor and natural fibres outdoor gear received the only A+ in this category. You can shop the brand at Snowbiz Sports on Elizabeth St. Other outdoor clothing and adventure gear brands that received an A include Patagonia (find it in Snowbiz, Myer and Dropouts) and Kathmandu (Albert St). Lululemon

For sneakers, activewear and sports clothing both Adidas and Reebok received an A grade. Check for Adidas in Hype DC, Athlete’s Foot and Culture Kings, and find Reebok in Hype DC, Rebel Sport and Laced. Yoga and activewear store Lululemon scored an A-. You can find Lululemon on the mall outside Wintergarden.

Homewares and linens

Good news for lovers of soft, luxurious sheets, bedding and towels – Sheridan Australia received an A grade. Pair those 1000 thread count sheets a luxury latex pillow from Dunlopillo who also received an A. Find both brands in Myer and David Jones. 

Fashion

Top of the pile is New Zealand brand Kowtow who use organic, renewable, biodegradable and regenerated fibres, have committed to fair trade production, and design garments with longevity in mind. No wonder the label received an A+. Find Kowtow in Biome on Adelaide St. 

Right behind them coming in with an A grade is fast fashion giant Zara. Yes, this global brand has secured a high score but if you are shopping in big, fast fashion stores like Zara take a deeper sustainable mindset with you. Check the label for natural fibres, like the range of wool coats using Italian Manteco wool, and look for quality pieces that will last. 

If you’re looking for denim, Nobody Denim are committed to making their jeans in Melbourne. They received an A- and you can find them in Myer, David Jones and Universal Store.  

Much loved Australians brands Country Road, Trenery, Witchery, Sportscraft, Saba, Jag and Mimco also all received an A-, as did French-Australian label Kookai who produce the majority of its collections at owned factories in Fiji and Sri Lanka.

For cotton basics, AS Colour received an A- and you find them in Culture Kings and Universal Store. Big national stores Cotton On, Cotton On Kids, Rubi and Typo all received an A- as well, and Cotton On Group has detailed a sustainability vision and commitment to paying living wages. Another youth brand Factorie also received an A-.

Three menswear brands – Politix, Rodd n Gun and Industrie – all received an A- and should cover men for everything from formalwear to casual weekend looks. 

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