Look good, feel good at Westfield Warringah Mall

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Look good, feel good at Westfield Warringah Mall

In the age of the socially conscious consumer, it is increasingly important for retail brands to be taking honest steps toward delivering ethical fashion to their customers. It is no longer enough for brands to consider only the environment; customers are looking at the quality of working conditions, the effect on local communities and the sustainability of the products they purchase.

With the release of its sixth Ethical Fashion Report, Baptist World Aid has graded 130 apparel companies on their ethical foundations. Companies are graded from A+ to F, taking in to account the strength of their labour rights to ensure workers are paid a fair living wage, as well as the environmental management systems in place to help keep our waterways, the earth and the atmosphere healthy.

This summer why not feel just as good as you look by choosing to shop ethical fashion. Here, we share some of our highest graded stores and the initiatives that set them apart from the crowd:

KOOKAI

KOOKAÏ is a family owned women’s fashion label and is vertically integrated, owning its own factories in Fiji and Sri Lanka, where the majority of its clothes are made.

Owning and operating its own factories allows KOOKAÏ to ensure production is carried out in an ethical and sustainable way. As a business KOOKAÏ has full transparency of the working environment of those who produce its beautiful garments. In 2018, KOOKAÏ established an ethics and sustainability committee with representatives from all departments from supply chain management, design and production, legal, retail, marketing and IT. KOOKAÏ now has sustainability champions in each of its Australian and New Zealand stores, as well as in its factories. The focus of the committee and sustainability champions is to ensure sustainability initiatives are at the core of everything the business does - from head office right through the supply chain and retail stores.

KOOKAÏ’s founders also established a charity in 2012, the KATALYST FOUNDATION, which currently operates in Fiji and Australia. Katalyst is embedded in the DNA of the KOOKAÏ business, with a commitment to create self-sustainable change.

Katalyst projects in Fiji are centred on the pillars of education and health and some of the current projects include: a medical outreach program to provide medical services to those in regional areas who do not otherwise have access to health care services, operating a hostel in Suva for tertiary students who have moved from remote areas of Fiji to provide them with a safe and positive environment in which to study, scholarship programs for tertiary education students, support of kindergartens, schools and universities through the provision of school supplies, equipment and furniture, donation of medical equipment, and education to communities on financial literacy. Donations to the Katalyst Foundation can be made in any KOOKAÏ store, or for more details see www.katalystfoundation.org

Kookai makes way for sun-filled days spent styled with a feminine charm and youthful abandon. Bonita, the brand’s SS19 collection is just as ethical as it is colourful, carefree, and oh so pretty.

Seafolly

Iconic Australian swimwear brand, Seafolly, has built its brand BDA on a commitment to both fashion and fit; giving women the freedom and confidence of looking good because they first feel good in their swimwear.

Seafolly makes it easy to fall in love with its high-quality fabric, by designing a collection using sustainable fabrics like MIPAN® regen™ each season. Famous for its eco-friendly by-products, the MIPAN® regen™ fibres help conserve our natural resources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce waste to landfill.

“We know a small change can make a huge difference. By finding ways to use sustainable fabrics without compromising on the lasting quality, fit and cutting-edge design we are known for, we are ultimately reducing waste on our land and in our seas,” says Head of Design, Genelle Walkom.

The brand has just released its must-have summer collection, Safari Spot. Made from upcycled sustainable fabric called MIPAN® regen™, the range of swimwear and apparel is an exciting take on animal print. Modernising the classic polka dot into an organic design, Safari Spot is perfect for mixing and matching with apparel accessories from the limited-edition Australian artist collaboration with Gemma O’Brien.

Cotton On

The Cotton On Group is committed to creating positive change for their customers, community and for the planet. They call this ‘The Good’.

Cotton On Foundation is the Cotton On Group’s philanthropic arm, dedicated to empowering youth globally through quality education. Through a unique partnership with customers and team members, the Foundation is focused on empowering youth globally through the delivery of education projects in Uganda, South Africa, Thailand and Australia.

Cotton On commits to ethical sourcing and transparency across all business operations. In 2016, Cotton On started publicly disclosing the supplier base and actively pursuing a goal of end-to-end mapping of all suppliers, including raw materials. The responsibility to how their products are made, the people who make them and the materials used extends across the 1,900 factories used and the 170,000 workers employed at them.

In all Cotton on Group stores globally, customers can purchase a range of everyday, incidental items like water, tissues, mints, bracelets and tote bags, at an accessible $2 price point. Above and beyond the group’s own purpose to make a positive difference in people’s lives, they believe it’s important to bring their customers on this journey too, so they can easily participate with just $2, which they can track to a tangible outcome.

The child-centric model focuses on delivering quality education, removing the barriers to education that children currently face, ensuring they have a brighter future full of opportunities and possibility.

Cotton On released their ‘Holiday Edit’, giving you everything you need to chase the endless summer. Featuring swim for body shapes of all kinds, cover-ups and light, bright dresses, you’ll be rolling from the beach to the bar with ease.

H&M

From the beginning, H&M group’s role has been to democratise fashion. Today, that means making it sustainable; it is the only way the company will keep making great fashion and design available today, tomorrow and for generations to come.

The vision is to use the groups size for good, and with the help of technology and innovation, lead the change towards circular and renewable fashion while being a fair and equal company. To achieve this, an ambitious strategy was developed with the help of a broad range of external and internal experts. The strategy follows a science-based approach, wherever possible.

In 2019, H&M and H&M Home rolled out a new transparency tool, enabling customers to trace most of their products to the factory they have been made in, and find further information to make more conscious choices.

Since 2013, H&M has been offering a garment recycling service in all stores. The H&M Garment Collecting Programme is a global initiative that works to prevent customers unwanted clothes from going to landfill. H&M accept unwanted clothes by any brand, in any condition, at any of their stores, every single day of the year. •

And just as trends change, so too do our preferences for ethical alternatives in fashion retail. Shop these brands this summer to feel just as good as you look:

Cotton On, Cotton On Kids, Cotton On Body, Country Road, David Jones, Forever New, General Pants Co, H&M, Icebreaker, Kathmandu, Kookai, lululemon athletica, Macpac, Myer, Nike, R.M. Williams, Rodd & Gunn, Seafolly, Sportscraft, Sportsgirl, Target, Zimmermann.

Click here to find the Baptist World Aid Ethical Fashion Report.

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