Ethical Fashion

10 Australian Ethical Activewear Brands You’ll Want to Get Behind

The_Upside, Instagram
Written by Jae Rustia

Living green and making ethical choices is a responsibility more people are beginning to take on, to counteract a world where consumerism and fast fashion reign.

Admittedly, it is a challenge to stay on top of the green game, as a lot of research and attention must be given to anything we approach.

Thankfully there are a lot of tips and tricks to living green these days that make it easier for us to feel like we are not battling against tough currents.

One area where choosing to go ethical was of extreme importance to me was in the sports wear choices I made. A search for activewear online will bear a slew of results but it takes a little bit more digging to find Australian brands that heed to the mantra of ethical wear.

After a bit of research, it was refreshing to find that there were a number of ethical activewear brands and so, to make your lives somewhat easier when it comes to ethical living, here is a list of 10 Australian ethical brands you'd be proud to support.

Choclo Project

When Roland Wimbush visited a South American orphanage in 2008, his whole life changed. As he met children who had been abandoned, some even left in rubbish bins, Wimbush was struck by the happy drawings pinned to the wall despite the children’s poverty state. With the help of some friends, Wimbush started creating graphics out of the children’s drawings and today Choclo Project “donate 5% of the sale price” of all of their [yoga and activewear] products to the various centres they support.”

Choclo Project Australian ethical activewear ethical yoga wear

Image via @chocloproject, Instagram

Dragonfly Active

With over 20 years of experience producing sportswear for women, Dragonfly “are proud to be 100% sustainably Australian made.” Focusing on ethical wear as well as on “high performance basics that offer moisture wicking technology,” the fashion pieces were “made to provide great freedom of movement and shape retention.”

From bras, pants, singlets and more, the green fabric is “100% regenerated polyamide yarn.” Breathable, offering UV protection and tested for any harmful substances, Dragonfly offers high quality fashion for high performance athletes.

Pink Punk Active

“Bored with regular mass produced fitness clothing,” Tarah started designing her own sports and swimwear from scratch. When people started placing orders, her hobby soon turned into a “bustling little label with a loyal following” in search of her unique style. All of the Pink Punk Active wear are hand produced by Tarah at her studio, “using only Australiana source and printed textiles.”

Pink Punk Active Austrlalia yoga wear activewear

Image via @pinkpunk.active, Instagram

Dharma Bums

When it comes to yoga clothing online, the choices are endless for any body shape and at Dharma Bums, every body shape and lifestyle is celebrated. Being ecofriendly is important to the company, as they explain – “We only use recycled paper for all of our stationary, packaging and promotional material. We do not use any harsh chemicals in the dying of our garments. By working closely with our supply base and having it close to home we are able to make to order thus we have extinguished the need for excess stock which creates unnecessary waste and landfill.”

Woolerina

Passionate about woolen clothing, Woolerina are “committed to building and maintaining relationships within all aspects of the production line from the early processing of the raw wool, right through to spinning, knitting (yes, this still happens!) and dying, through to garment construction.” Accredited with Ethical Clothing Australia, they sre “proud licensees to the Australian Made logo.”

Wilderness Wear

“The only Australian company that designs and self-manufactures premium level outdoor clothing at internationally recognised standards – for ecological conscience, material content, functionality and style,” Wildnerness Wear is a force to be reckoned with. Producing products that are 100% Australian made, the brand started as an old hosiery company and developed into producing wilderness wear that care for the one thing their clothes are made for ? the wild.

Surrender Apparel

With degrees in sustainable fashion and international development, Julie Belic, the designer of Surrender Apparel, created a brand that is “modern, earthy and comfortable.” Each design piece “mindfully balances three elements – wearability, sustainability and style.” Whether you choose to work out or run errands, Surrender Apparel’s “soft fabrics and ease of movement allow you to dwell in the present moment.”

surrender apparel ethical activewear yogawear

Image credit: Surrender Apparel

Hatha Clothing

Based in Australia but born in Rio de Janeiro, Paula Magrani first moved to the sunshine state as an Exercise Physiologist, Yoga and Pilates teacher. With Hatha Clothing, Magrani created a brand that was not only known for its vibrant colors but also ethically made in Rio de Janeiro. As Magrani explains, “we believe that ethically sourcing and manufacturing our clothing is of great benefit to the local community in Rio and helps families to improve their quality of life.”

Mont

Founded by Andrew Montgomery in 1981, at Mont, the producers “are serious users of gear – not bean counters, so you know quality won’t be compromised just to save a few cents.” Producing “premium outdoor equipment” Mont has been “trusted in the wild for over thirty years.”

Fire and Shine

A fun loving space, Fire and Shine was founded by yoga teacher Jac who turned her anxieties into a journey to empower all women. “Fire and Shine means staying true to yourself, having the courage to be vulnerable, present and having conscious awareness so that love, gratitude and contentment shine from within.”

The online store houses activewear, yogawear and loungewear that all come from ethically made brands. Jac says how “serious” they are about the stock and manufacturing process of all of their fashion pieces ? “we only have brands on the site that manufacture garments using factories that care for their workers and pay them a living wage. We believe that quality is everything. Our garments are expertly made to flatter your shape and look great for all your activities, while doing good for the workers who make our beautiful brands.”

Are there any brands you absolutely love? Have we missed any Australian ethical yoga wear and activewear brands? Please let us know by leaving a comment below.

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About the author

Jae Rustia

Jae Rustia is a fashion junkie by day and a reader by night. She's usually on Youtube watching makeup video tutorials or browsing The Upside Sport Shop for the latest fashion trend. Find her on Twitter here @JaeRustia

17 Comments

  • Thank you so much for sharing this.
    I have an eco-friendly yoga wear and swimwear label, Think Love Live.
    The yoga wear is made from lyocell, one of the most eco-friendly fabrics in the world (yes, much more than bamboo which uses toxic chemicals in it’s processing), and the swimwear is made from recycled plastic bottles.
    Please check out my website: thinklovelive.com
    I have just finished a gorgeous photo shoot for the yoga wear and will have it on the site in a week

    • Hi Pip! Thanks for letting us know. Where abouts are you based and where do you manufacture? We will definitely keep in mind the next time we publish a piece on activewear 🙂

  • Great list! I haven’t done too much research into this, but my cousin who is vegan says that sheep farms can be quite brutal and dangerous, causing harm to the sheep. There is a type of practice called “mulesing” which is done to protect them from flies, but is very painful to the sheep because it removed their skin (& is unethical in my opinion). With brands like Wilderness Wear & Woolerina, do they know where their wool is coming from? Do they only deal with the wool from the processing stage or are they informed about how the sheep are treated on the farms as well as how they are sheared? Just curious! Thanks for putting together a great list. If I find any other ethical brands, I’ll let you know about them.

    • Hi Lara, thanks for your comment and yes I am familiar with vegans being friends with many myself. A disclaimer: I am not a vegan I’m vegetarian, and some readers are not, some eat meat. Now I am familiar with it as my partner and I had talked about possibly having one sheep on our property (we purchased a farm in Queensland and moved up from Melbourne) but decided against it due to that very issue of mulesing. Plus we would have needed to find a breed of sheep that would be able to withstand our farm environment and how does one really know until you purchase a sheep and see how it goes? So we abandoned the idea. Now to answer your questions and from basic searches: Woolerina get their wool from a sheep farming family who’ve been in business for over 100 years. They stopped mulesing in 2005 as they continued to evolve and embrace holistic farm management. As for Wilderness Wear, they are certified with ECA but their website doesn’t specifically state although it goes on about the position of the Australian Wool Innovation who are responsible for setting standards. Their view point is that people on the board all want to see an end to it but can only occur if there are viable alternatives, one of which is genetic selection.

      • I really appreciate your in-depth reply! Thank you very much! I’m also vegetarian, not vegan… but I’m trying to transition into veganism and as I do more research, I’m finding more and more sad facts about the ways in which multinationals do business that are harming our environment as well as animals. Thanks again for your post, because it means a lot to people like me, who are trying to figure out the most current ethical buying options! xo

        • No worries at all. It’s really tough for some people to try and make the right ethical choices. Time and money are huge issues for the bulk of people. It’s one of the blessings of living a simpler life and choosing to have a smaller family. People think it’s a “luxury” to have the time to research and make more ethical choices but it’s all about priorities isn’t it? I choose to spend zero time raising a family so I spend more time on the things that matter to me, one of which is helping people make more conscious choices. Glad you appreciate all my – and the team’s – hard work! x

  • Hi team at Eco Warrior. Take a look at sustainable activewear and sportwear company Kusaga Athletic. They have developed plant-based fabrics that are massively better for the planet than cotton and polyester. Their Greenest T-shirt on the Planet (successfully funded on Kickstarter) is made from their ECOLITE fabric and uses less than 1% of the water needed for a regular cotton tee. Their performance run tee is made from ECODRY which has extremely high moisture wicking, is biodegradable and recyclable and retains no odour. Kusaga is bCorp certified (very high bar) and an all-Australian company. They started from scratch to find a better solution and are already having an impact on the outdated production methods and planet-damaging fabrics that dominate the global textile industry. Worth including next time! Take a look at their site https://www.kusagaathletic.com/ for more information, or email me and I can put you in touch with Graham Ross, the CEO and founder.

    • Hi Jane, thanks so much for sharing this brand with us. It is a brand that fits in with our values. We may need to write another post about the new activewear brands that have launched since we posted this piece. I think I have actually seen Kusaga Athletic around in the online communities but will look into it in more detail perhaps when we write a follow up piece. Thanks again!

  • This is such an inspiring list, thanks Jennifer. I’m from Brisbane and have just started on my journey to make some beautiful clothing that people feel good about wearing. I’ve gone with a great company in Canada who manufactures with EcoPoly fabrics and am looking into other ways I can get beautiful results in the right way. This is what I’m up to: https://daly-x-active.myshopify.com/

    Hopefully by the time you are thinking about your next active wear article, Daly X Active might be moving along quite nicely. Right now, it is all of 7 days old with our first international sale on the weekend! (Yay!)

    • Hi Sarah, thanks for getting in touch about your business. Sounds interesting. What makes your business different? Always interested to learn why people start brands given how competitive the fashion marketplace is, and particularly our ‘niche’ space 🙂

      • Good question. It is a competitive marketplace, yes. That makes it interesting for me really. I think it is growing and moving – the kinds of customers that seem to enjoy what we are doing are more conscious of their choices and are more informed. They also want something different. I didn’t start as a designer, I started as an artist. Which means I’m more focused on colour and form, especially for the female figure. When I design pieces, I deliberately contour the patterns and shapes to accentuate a woman’s figure, rather than just covering it. Think of how makeup contours our faces – it’s the same theory. It means I’m making some wonderfully bright and fun fabrics, that are placed in just the right way to make our figures look excellent. So far, it seems to be different enough to make a difference. To be honest, I’m looking forward to seeing how the niche and market develops. Exciting times ahead!

        • Thanks for sharing Sarah, I am always so fascinated with what triggers the start of a new creation, whether it be art, music, film, book or in your case, a fashion label. I’m a writer and naturally curious too 🙂 Feel free to email us (via contact page) if you have any press releases and kits. I share this with the team and they have choice of whether they feel a brand’s mission and product offerings are ‘notable’ enough to then write about and share with our audience 🙂

          • Thanks so much Jen, that’s lovely of you to suggest. I’ll send more when we get the ball rolling. On starting something new: I think its a combination of being brave, clever and stupid. Brave enough to back yourself and take the risk; clever enough to find and test a commercial niche; and stupid enough to understand how it could fail, but still run with it. Let’s see how it works out eh?

            Curious people are our saviours in my book. The right questions can make ‘creatives’ really think. It’s so important. Nice that you are a combo of both!

            S x

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