09/05/2016 6:35 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:52 PM AEST

Ethical Australian Fashion: The Brands That Deserve A High Five

Literal feel good threads.

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Get to know NYC-based label, Tome.

Like most things Emma Watson touches, the world bows down to watch as it turns to gold -- or, in the case of last week's Met Ball Gala -- really, really beautiful plastic.

Yes, we're talking about how the 26-year-old arrived at the prestigious event in a gown made from recycled bottles.

Sure, it may have been designed by Calvin Klein, but its materials might as well have been plucked straight from the ocean.

Anyway, in regular Watson style it got people talking -- "Recycled plastic, gon' get me some of that!" -- but on a deeper level, where our clothes come from and the ethics around how they are produced.

Sigrid McCarthy from Ethical Clothing Australia explains there is a shift taking place in the industry whereby being recognised as an ethical brand is no longer an add-on or way to sway consumers -- but at the core of the business's model.

"Awareness is increasing and more people are mindful of where their clothing is coming from, though we still have a long way to go," McCarthy told The Huffington Post Australia.

McCarthy said there are varying degrees of how savvy businesses are in terms of their manufacturing and production obligations, which isn't helped by the misinformation that exists.

"In order to be a sustainable business model, you need to take steps to ensure you are operating in an ethical manner and ensuring workers are being treated fairly. The reality is, when you put ethics first, not only are you producing an aesthetically pleasing product, that's made well and made locally, but you are doing so with integrity," McCarthy said.

"On the consumer side, it can be quite overwhelming, especially when brands are making claims that aren't necessarily backed up by a third party," McCarthy said.

A major part of raising awareness? Elevating the brands that are doing good.


New York-based label Tome came to life when designers Ramon Martin and Ryan Lobo met in Sydney more than a decade ago. They place sustainability at the forefront of their brand ethos.

Vege Threads

An Australian label specialising in basics, Vege Threads products are produced locally and made from 100 percent organic and natural materials.

Dharma Bums

A yoga and activewear label based in Sydney's Northern beaches, founded by Debbie Lawson and produced locally.


The Twill Button-Front Coat is yours for the taking. #CueClothing

A photo posted by Cue (@cueclothingco) on

The 100 percent Australian-owned business is the largest womenswear manufacturer in Australia, with its designs predominantly made locally.

RM Williams

The perfect festival boots! 📷: @brooketestoni's wears vintage top & shorts with her Adelaide Boots to Coachella.

A photo posted by R.M.WILLIAMS OFFICIAL (@r.m.williams_official) on

The South Australian footwear label known for its handcrafted designs is fully ECA accredited for all of its Australian designs.

For the full list of ECA accredited businesses head to