Whether you relish picking out an outfit and take pride in the smallest details, or prefer not to think about it, putting on clothes every day is a universal experience.
Unfortunately, the fashion industry has a terrible habit of making clothes for a limited part of the population. Even though the average Australian woman is a size 14 to 16, many designers don’t make clothes in those sizes or larger – and when they do, they order them sparingly. Sizing is even more limited in the sustainable fashion space, which means looking good and feeling comfortable about your impact on the planet isn’t always possible for everybody.
But there are designers and businesses working to change this. Here, fashion industry professionals share their favourite inclusive, sustainable brands.
Amy Ludvik established her pattern design business, Amy of Melbourne, because she was frustrated by the lack of stylish, size-inclusive, accessible fashion. As a skilled sewer, she makes a lot of clothes for herself: everything from T-shirts to formalwear.
When she shops off the rack she seeks out designers who go beyond an expanded size range and really think about the fit of the clothes. Ludvik looks for “fashion that can move and support the body across life and all of the wearer’s adventures”.
Her favourite inclusive and sustainable designers are August and Eve, Miskonduct, Chasing Springtime, Embracing Bella, Made590 and Donna Donna.
“I also really love the dedication shown by August and Eve to upcycle textiles and reduce textile waste, through their beautiful bespoke garments.”
For jeans and trousers, she turns to SÜK Workwear and Cotton On. For size-inclusive underwear and bras, she recommends Curvy for their customer service – “it’s incredible” – and Playful Promises because they have a really fantastic range of sizes and styles available for all.
Clean, simple and sophisticated
Chelsea Bonner, the CEO of Bella Management, loves comfort and versatility in her wardrobe. She loves anything she can wear both heels and trainers with so it’s easy to change the mood of a look from day to night.
She opts for local designers like Bassike who are known for their local manufacturing and Elk who are champions of responsible materials. Bonner preferences them for their comfortable fits and clean lines. “No florals or loud colours for me,” she says.
When she has to dress up, she turns to the Sydney-based label KitX. “I’m not a shiny, glam feminine type of dresser for any occasion and I love the simple beauty of the fabrics and cuts,” she says. “Clean lines and colourways with a twist in the design or print. I like fashion with a little quirk … but in a subtle or unique way.”
For underwear she loves brands that opt for natural materials, such as The Very Good Bra who are committed to using no plastic in their clothes and Boody who work with organically grown bamboo.
Design with an edge
Lacey-Jade Christie, social editor for LadBible Australia, has several size-inclusive brands she swears by and she says We Are Golden Hour is a plus-size brand to watch. “The owner, Rhiannon Heritage, has her finger on the pulse of what’s edgy and on trend and isn’t afraid to provide the fat community with designs that most brands shy away from,” she says. “My current favourites are their mesh tops and their matching sets.”
The Melbourne label 17 Sundays is her go-to for denim. “The team specialise in basics with a bit of an edge,” she says. “I have their jeans in every colour.” And the New Zealand brand Friday Flamingo is her favourite for “bright blazers, sequins and stunning dresses in a bold print”.
For workwear and neutrals made from natural fibres, Christie recommends Ecclestone. “These are ethical designs made with fat people in mind,” she says. “My favourite item from Ecclestone has to be their tapered trousers in olive.”