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On Our Radar 12 May 2021

The High Street Brands Taking on Sustainable Fashion

Five affordable brands making ethical products budget friendly for the conscious consumer.

The shift in consumer expectations and values from fast fashion to sustainable, ethical and conscious consumption has seen the industry do somewhat of a backflip. Fast fashion brands that took the four seasons and turned them into at least 52 have jumped on the sustainability bandwagon. While you could call out many brands for greenwashing, the push from consumers to embrace authentic sustainability is stronger than ever and once disingenuous attempts at sustainability won’t cut it anymore. The industry is changing and if we continue down this path, sustainability should become so entrenched in the fashion industry that transparency and conscious practices throughout the supply chain become second nature. But for now, it is you, the consumer that remains responsible for purchasing not only consciously, but beyond trends to ensure the longevity of our wardrobe.

Words By Eliza Sears


Glassons Made with Care pledge is designed to ensure the iconic New Zealand basics label brings both affordable and sustainable products to their customers.

Last year, Glassons achieved their 2020 target of sustainably sourcing 30 per cent of their range and now hopes to achieve the ambitious goal of 50 per cent in 2021.

In an effort to improve transparency, the company also published their 2020 Sustainability Report that discusses numerous smaller goals like reducing plastic waste, designing pieces made to last, and the importance of transparency along the supply chain.

Perhaps most notable, however, is Glassons’ commitment to ensuring items on their racks are ethically sourced, with labels such as planet conscious, upcycled fabric and recycled fibres.

Glassons is adapting its business model to satisfy the 2021 consumer, with an ongoing commitment to improving its practices well into the future.

Relaxed Straight Leg Jean, $59.99, Glassons


In 2020, ASOS CEO Nick Beighton said, “by working together, we believe we can deliver a systemic shift in the way our industry addresses key ethical trade and sustainability challenges and proactively design a future we all believe in.”

In recent years we’ve seen the fast-fashion empire begin to incorporate more ethical practices and take its social responsibility more seriously.

ASOS is a member of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), a not-for-profit organisation founded to improve cotton farming standards and ensure accountability along the supply chain.

They’ve also developed a range of products made from post-consumer fibres, committed to cutting carbon production, helped make fashion more accessible and committed to transparency.

While there is evidence of change and the adoption of some sustainable practices, unfortunately, as long as ASOS operates under the ever-changing trend cycle born out of the fast-fashion model it was built on, it’s impossible to label the ASOS brand as truly sustainable.

Longline Trench Coat in Khaki, $110, ASOS


Sustainability and transparency are at the centre of everything bamboo basics brand Boody does.

Boody’s collection of affordable staple pieces include everything from underwear and bras to PJs and activewear, available in sizes XS-XL.

Made from 100 per cent organic bamboo are designed with longevity in mind; the moisture-wicking, temperature regulating fibre is one of the most environmentally friendly cotton alternatives on the market.

Not only is bamboo one of the fastest-growing plants it’s also one of the most sustainable it only needs rainwater to grow and absorbs more carbon and greenhouse gases and releases 30 per cent more oxygen into the atmosphere than any alternative.

While bamboo has many environmental advantages, Boody products are also some of the highest quality and softest basics you’ll try.

Boody’s buttery soft bamboo is an absolute dream to wear and only becomes softer with each wash.

Ribbed Seamless Bra,$39.95, Boody Eco Wear

Cotton On

Australia’s largest retail group, Cotton On, is tearing down the curtain on their production and allowing consumers to see where our clothes come from.

The company’s Doing Good initiative designed to positively impact the planet and the people that inhabit it has seen the retail giant change some of its practices to be more environmentally friendly and socially responsible.

From switching to organic cotton to incorporating recycled fibres in puffer jackets

Cotton On has well and truly begun the arduous task of meeting the demands of the ethically-minded consumer.

The latest switch has seen the introduction of vegan-friendly ranges.

Answering customers’ calls, Cotton On now stocks PETA-approved vegan products, including clothing, bags, sneakers, slides and flip flops, so you can look good and feel even better.

Vegan Leather Os Biker, $89.99, Cotton On

Girlfriend Collective

Made from recycled post-consumer plastic bottles, waste left by the cotton industry, recycled nylon and spandex, eco-friendly athletics brand Girlfriend Collective stands out from the crowd.

Self-described as the earth’s number one fan, the team at Girlfriend Collective take sustainability seriously.

Using best practice procedures from start to finish, you can be sure that your purchase contributes to reducing waste from the garment industry and doing the earth some good.

But Girlfriend Collective doesn’t stop there; GF garments are size-inclusive (XXS-6XL) and boast a gender-neutral range, ensuring everyone is welcome to join the Collective.

Moss Simone Bra, $48, Girlfriend Collective