Four Ethical Fashion Brands You Need to Know About

Sustainability has become a buzzword in the fashion industry in recent years and for good reason. With the rise of fast fashion and its environmental and social impact, consumers are increasingly looking for ways to shop ethically and sustainably. Welcome Merchant is proud to support fashion brands Akos Creative, Second Stitch, Social Studio, and The Social Outfit, which all prioritise sustainability in their business practices. Whether you’re a seasoned sustainable fashion advocate or just starting to dip your toes into ethical fashion, we hope this article will provide you with some inspiration and insight into the world of sustainable fashion.

The Social Outfit

In a world where fashion is often associated with fast-paced trends and disposable clothing, The Social Outfit is a testament to purpose-driven design and responsible production. This social enterprise charity is on a mission to provide employment and training to individuals from refugee and new migrant communities, all while promoting ethical manufacturing and sustainability. Through their ethical manufacturing studio and retail store in Sydney, The Social Outfit builds skills and creates opportunities for those in need, offering them what is often their first Australian job, and a supportive environment to thrive.

Purchasing the gorgeous garments and accessories created by The Social Outfit, directly contributes to their mission of supporting, employing, and upskilling individuals from refugee and new migrant backgrounds. Each purchase from The Social Outfit, helps them expand their reach and positively impact the lives of more women, as well as the wider refugee and new migrant communities they engage with.

The Social Outfit is not merely a charity or a fashion brand—it is a movement. By creating ethical and sustainable clothing collections that celebrate diversity and showcase the skills, creativity, and strengths of refugee and new migrant women, they participate in the circular economy and reduce the environmental impact of their collections. Using remnant and deadstock fabrics, they save tonnes of fabric from ending up in landfills.

In today’s fashion scene, where brands can perpetuate inequality and environmental harm, The Social Outfit stands out as an example of positive change. Through their commitment to ethical manufacturing, sustainability, and empowerment, their unique approach to creating social impact through fashion is transforming lives, one stitch at a time.

By supporting The Social Outfit and its stylish creations, you become part of a movement that celebrates diversity, equality, and the potential for a brighter future.

Akos Creative

Step into the world of Akos Creative and immerse yourself in a stunning collection of handcrafted jewellery and gifts that blend the vibrancy of Ghanaian fashion with the subtlety of Australian fashion. As a self-taught fashion designer, Akos brings a fresh perspective to the fashion space, repositioning Ghana’s iconic print kente fabric in Australia and infusing it with bold colours and striking geometric prints. At Akos Creative, the goal is to create accessories that exude joy, fun, and confidence, while also embodying the principles of slow fashion, sustainability and environmental responsibility.

With a deep appreciation for West African Ghanaian arts and culture, Akos embarked on a creative journey to share her heritage with the world. The result is an extraordinary collection of ethically crafted jewellery that captivates with its unique materials, captivating colours, and distinctive shapes.

What sets Akos Creative apart is the fusion of cultural influences and the emphasis on craftsmanship. Akos meticulously handcrafts each piece with a focus on detail, ensuring that every item is a work of art. Symbols and meanings deeply rooted in Ghanaian culture find their way into her jewellery designs, creating an exclusive yet inclusive collection that speaks to diverse individuals. By embracing the ethos of diversity, community, and wellness, Akos Creative aims to empower people worldwide to express their unique voices and embrace self-love.

Akos approaches her craft with a deep commitment to recycling and repurposing materials, aligning with the values instilled in her African culture and upbringing. The African print fabrics and Krobo beads used in her designs are sourced directly from Ghana, while other materials are rescued or donated, minimising waste and environmental impact. Akos’ dedication to sustainability extends beyond her creations to her packaging. By using minimal printing and plain brown card stock, she reduces her carbon footprint while still presenting her handcrafted jewellery with thoughtfulness.

Join Akos on her journey of creativity, culture, and community and experience the joy of wearing fashion that celebrates the unique beauty in all of us.

Second Stitch

Second Stitch is dedicated to economically and socially empowering women from diverse backgrounds through the art of textiles. With a strong focus on local and sustainable production, Second Stitch has created an ecosystem that supports women, encourages education, and nurtures connections.

Ethical production lies at the heart of Second Stitch’s mission. Their team of skilled seamstresses creates high-quality products and mends your most beloved garments. Each seamstress brings their unique stories and perspectives to every piece they create.

Second Stitch’s studio space in Melbourne serves as a vibrant training centre, production house, and community centre. At the studio’s entrance, you’ll find a storefront where their products and alteration services are offered.

Choosing to repair your clothes at Second Stitch is an opportunity to preserve your cherished items while having a positive environmental impact. By opting for alterations and repairs, you help reduce fabric waste in landfills while providing employment and training opportunities for the Second Stitch seamstresses. Whether breathing new life into old favourites or customising new pieces to your liking, their skilled team ensures that your garments receive personalised attention and care.

Second Stitch extends its expertise to assist in bringing your own designs to life, whether for your brand or a special event. Second Stitch’s talented team will work with your provided materials and patterns to skillfully cut, stitch, and construct the required components, bringing your vision to reality.

Second Stitch is an organisation that champions inclusivity, sustainability, and the power of women. By supporting their work, you contribute to a community that values the stories behind our clothing, honours the skills of talented seamstresses, and creates opportunities for women to thrive.

The Social Studio

Creativity. Opportunity. Community. These three pillars define The Social Studio, a remarkable not-for-profit social enterprise located in Melbourne. Blending fashion and creativity, this organisation provides work and learning opportunities for the city’s refugee and new migrant communities.

The Social Studio is part educational institution, part sustainable retail store, and part social enterprise. Their unique retail platform exclusively showcases labels owned and/or designed by culturally diverse creatives. By shopping at The Social Studio, customers directly contribute to the organisation’s education and training programs, making a tangible difference to the community with every purchase.

At the heart of The Social Studio lies a genuine dedication to people and positive social change. Through their TAFE-accredited training programs, education initiatives, production studio, and in-house label, they have empowered countless individuals.

Beyond their commitment to people, The Social Studio has a deep concern for the planet. By using upcycled fabrics and focusing on well-made, trans-seasonal garments that stand the test of time, they help to reduce waste and promote sustainable practices. Remarkably, The Social Studio has saved over 20 tonnes of fabric and textile waste from ending up in landfill.

The Social Studio retail shop stocks emerging and value-aligned labels, supporting the work of local designers. Collaboration is a cornerstone of their approach, as they work with established and emerging designers and artists to create connections and foster cultural exchange.

The Social Studio demonstrates the power of fashion and the potential within every individual to thrive when given the right opportunities and support.

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