How to shop ethically in Australia's capital
Have you ever thought about how your clothes are made, or what they’re made of? Many labels not only use questionable materials to create those garments, but produce them in unethical ways. After all, how else can a shirt cost $8 and still be profitable? Probably because someone in Bangladesh or Vietnam made it and was paid next to nothing. Considering that we are quite active consumers, it makes sense to be more conscious about what we support when we shop. Here, learn everything you need to know about shopping ethically in Australia’s capital.
There are many things you can do to become an ethical shopper. First of all, consider buying clothes you intend to keep for a long time — think timeless instead of timely. You can keep up with fashion, but instead of renewing your wardrobe every season, buy one or two pieces to give your outfit that fashion flare. And of course, cut down the shopping-related spending! Try to buy fewer things overall.
Caring for your clothes will also help them last longer. Trends come and go, so if you look after your clothes properly, you’ll find you actually don’t need to buy as many garments as you thought.
Another options is vintage fashion. Think a trip to the local markets or to Vinnies to find a unique, hidden gem.
Last but not least, purchase from sustainable and ethical labels. While it is true that the garments will be a bit more expensive than the ones you could get from a fast retailer, you’ll be getting a high-quality, conflict-free piece of clothing.
Good on you app
The Good On You app helps you find out how your favorite brands rate, and then discover similar brands (according to your style) that do better. It also helps you find deals on the top-rated brands. With the Good On You app, it is quite easy to make a difference when you shop!
Oz Fair Trade
Oz Fair Trade is a registered charity that sells an array of fair trade products online — and it started right here in Canberra. Owner Qinnie Wang launched the organisation after a trip to Asia, where she experienced mass poverty for the first time. That trip made her realise that she could be doing a lot more from her privileged position as an Australian.
The great thing about Oz Fair Trade and the products they sell is that many are handcrafted by women, offering them an opportunity to earn income from handicrafts without leaving their children to work in a factory for little pay. It promotes gender equality, discourages child labour and fosters long term relationships between buyers and sellers. Additionally, it encourages producers to get on board with eco-friendly methods and materials. Rather than just giving these communities money, Oz Fair Trade helps them help themselves.
Ethical clothing label: Pure Pod
If you’re looking for a fashionable, Canberra-based label, then look no further: Pure Pod is here! Founded in 2007 by Kelli Donovan and entirely Australian-made, Pure Pod uses a range of sustainable and biodegradable fibres to create their clothing, such as hemp, organic cotton and bamboo.
Many of Pure Pod’s collections are made by skilled Aussie artisans, and by supporting Australian production, Pure Pod is giving them the chance to pass on their skills to the next generation. The label’s mission is to educate consumers through fashion, and also to enlighten the fashion industry about ethical practises, such as not exploiting workers, supporting Australian industries, using organic and sustainable fabrics, minimising chemical use and reducing landfill.
Fresh food markets
You can also shop ethically for food, and supporting local farmers is a step in the right direction when it comes to becoming more environmentally-conscious. We recommend heading to the Fyshwick markets, which has the feel of a larger retail outlet and provides a wide range of goods with that unique, handmade touch. Fyshwick markets has several stores selling fruit and veggies, meats, seafood, as well as delicatessens, bakeries and cafes. You’ll also find a great range of unique and exotic Asian grocery items and products. The markets remain well-stocked throughout the day, and they usually get busier on Sundays for lunch.
Make the commitment
Whether it’s clothes, toys or food, shopping ethically is a commitment every wealthy country, such as Australia, should make. We live in a privileged society, and giving back to the ones who need it by supporting their businesses and fair working conditions is a step in the right direction for a more equal world. If you’re in the ACT and looking for an extensive range of stores to browse ethically-sourced items, visit the Marketplace Gungahlin and you’ll find what need.