ESG stands for environmental, social, and governance. It’s a way of measuring how sustainable and ethical a business is. In the fashion industry, this means looking at things like how environmentally friendly the production and transportation of clothing is, how fair the working conditions are for people involved in the supply chain, and how transparent and responsible the leadership of the company is.
For Australian fashion designers and brands that import clothing and footwear from other countries, it’s important to consider these ESG factors. Consumers and investors are increasingly interested in companies that prioritize sustainability and ethics, and choosing suppliers and partners who align with your values can help you build a positive reputation and differentiate your brand.
Here are four examples of clothing and footwear brands that are already doing a good job of prioritizing ESG:
  1. Veja: This French sneaker company is committed to sustainability and fair labour practices. They use organic cotton and wild rubber in their shoes, and they work with small-scale farmers and cooperatives in Brazil to source their materials. Veja also pays their worker’s fair wages and provides them with good working conditions.
  2. Everlane: This clothing and accessories brand is transparent about its supply chain and manufacturing processes. They use eco-friendly materials like organic cotton and recycled polyester, and they visit their factories regularly to ensure that workers are treated fairly. Everlane also offsets its carbon emissions and gives back to the community through initiatives like its Clean Water Project, which helps provide clean water to people in need.
  3. Australian label Matilda and Clancy are producing in Cambodia with factories that actively rescue and support women and children in need. Using regenerated fibres from plastic bottles, the children’s swimwear brand designs the products in a way that is built to outlast many other swimwear brands’ products, saving parents the financial outlay of relentless swimsuit buying for their kids.
  4. Environmentally conscious Australian brand Juliette et Felicity. Applying traditional artisan techniques to fashion design and manufacturing is a key element for founder Peggy who appeals to a thriving customer base that wants to change the world by purchasing products that promote environmental sustainability and ethical work conditions
Now, let’s look at some of the problems and statistics surrounding ESG in the fashion industry:
  • The fashion industry is a major contributor to environmental problems like water pollution and waste. According to the United Nations, the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions, and it’s the second-largest polluter of clean water after agriculture.
  • Many fashion companies have been criticised for poor labor practices, including low wages, unsafe working conditions, and child labor. A report by the Clean Clothes Campaign estimated that 1,000 garment workers die in factory fires and building collapses each year, and millions more suffer from poor working conditions.
  • There is often a lack of transparency in the fashion supply chain, which makes it difficult for consumers to know where their clothes are coming from and how they were made. This can lead to issues like environmental degradation and labor abuses going unnoticed.

By considering ESG factors and supporting brands that prioritize sustainability and ethics, Australian fashion designers and brands can help address these problems and build a more responsible and sustainable industry.


A guide to set the foundations for Considered Design: 

If you’ve ever wondered how the world’s most popular fashion brands do their work, snap up Start Up and Stand Out. It’s a great read based on the 7 five years of in-house process, drawn from big company protocols and adapted to start-up foundations to help you grow. It’s a fascinating look inside the complexities of creativity and how to commercialise your vision.

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Remember, speed or perfection straight out of the gate shouldn’t even make it onto the list of things that matter. But do you know what should?

Your voice. Your cashflow. And most importantly — Your actions.

Aim to take small steps forward every day. Because if you don’t work every day to develop your unique brand, the world won’t have the ability to take note of your efforts.


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