above COURTESY OF ETHICAL CLOTHING AUSTRALIA
As any conscious consumer will tell you, what we wear matters. Our clothing and shopping choices not only impact the planet and the economy – every time we add to cart, the reality is we’re also affecting the life and livelihood of the person who made the clothes.
In Australia alone, nearly half a million skilled garment workers – 77% of them women – are employed in factories and as outworkers (working from their homes) to make the clothes we wear. This huge population exists in an industry that’s at times unregulated with workers facing issues of exploitation, unsafe conditions, isolation, long hours and unstable employment – problems that can be exacerbated when workers have English as an additional language or find it difficult to access information about their rights.
Ethical Clothing Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that, for the last 20 years, has focused on protecting workers’ rights in the textile, clothing and footwear (TCF) industry. Its comprehensive accreditation process assesses all parts of a business’s local supply chain: from the operations of their head office through to “on the ground” design, pattern making, cutting, sewing, outsourced work and more – all with the goal of ensuring that every worker in the chain is treated and compensated fairly.
As you might imagine, it’s a huge undertaking for the organisation and a true commitment to ethical production – something Ethical Clothing Australia aims to recognise and celebrate during its upcoming ECA Week 2023 from 9–15 October.
We want the Australian public to also know about their commitment, and for the public to champion these businesses by buying locally and ethically.
“We are so proud of the commitment ECA-accredited brands and manufacturers make to producing locally, and to protecting and upholding the rights of their workers throughout their entire local supply chain,” says ECA National Manager, Rachel Reilly.
“We want the Australian public to also know about their commitment, and for the public to champion these businesses by buying locally and ethically.”
Now in its third year, ECA Week is a national celebration of ethical fashion and the people behind it, offering both in-person events across Victoria and New South Wales, plus a vibrant digital program from brands like The Social Studio, Cue and Clothing the Gaps.
Peppermint is very proud to be the official media partner of Ethical Clothing Australia and we can’t wait to get amongst all the events of ECA Week! Below you’ll find a round-up of some of the amazing events on offer including factory tours, specialty shopping nights, panels and more!
All of these events are free and open to the public, so if you’ve ever been interested in learning more about some of Australia’s most well-known and beloved ethical brands, check out the full program here and book tickets!
ECA WEEK 2023
Denimsmith VIP Night – Fitzroy, Victoria
Tuesday 10 October | 6.00pm – 8.00pm
Shop after-hours with the jean geniuses at Denimsmith! The family-owned business is opening its doors for an exclusive VIP shopping experience that includes fit and styling sessions, plus a Q&A with Denimismith’s team and ECA’s national manager Rachel Reilly.
Vince Clothing Factory Tour – Brunswick East, Victoria
Wednesday 11 October | 5.00pm – 6.30pm
Go behind the scenes with a tour of the Vince Clothing factory. Featuring an introduction by ECA’s accreditation program advisor Emma Conos, and the chance to meet the team from Vince Clothing, this is a unique opportunity to see a working garment factory.
Next State Factory Tour and Demonstration – Thornbury, Victoria
Wednesday 11 October 2023 | 10.00am – 11.00am
Ever wanted to print your own fabric? Learn all about digital printing with Next State founder Chole Kerr. Chole will share essential tips on how to get the best possible outcome for your print, including software options, file preparation and fabric selection. Best of all, your ticket gives you the chance to bring in your own digital file and watch it be printed on the spot!
Remuse Virtual Tour – Online
Saturday 14 October 2023 | 12.00pm – 1.00pm
Peppermint alum Remuse (we featured their contemporary designs in Issue 53) will take you on a virtual tour of their studio, where they design, manufacture and dye their “plant-based cosmic earthwear”. All attendees will also receive 10% off their next online purchase!
Knovus Knit Studio Tour – Carlton, Victoria
Tuesday 10 October 2023 and Thursday 12 October 2023 | 10.00am – 11.00am
Knitters unite! Get an intimate look at knitwear manufacturing with a studio tour of Knovus Knit‘s Carlton studio, including a peek at the revolutionary Shima Seiki Wholegarment Knitting Machine which produces the world’s first seam-free knitwear. Your ticket also gives you an exclusive 15% discount on workshop bookings.
Flatiron Exclusive Release
Designed by sisters Sam Scally and Penny Duggan and manufactured in Melbourne, Flatiron is well-loved for its understated and utterly cool pieces and commitment to ethical production. During ECA week, Flatiron will release their best-selling Parks Top, with each unique piece made using the founder’s picks of their favourite fabrics from past seasons. Available exclusively from 9–15 October.
KEEP AN EYE ON ECA’S SOCIALS FOR MORE INFORMATION!
Melco Fabrics Warehouse Tour – Charmhaven, New South Wales
Thursday 12 October 2023 | 9.00am – 4.30pm
Enjoy a “day in the life” with a visit to Melco Fabrics. The female-founded business – which proudly mills and prints all its fabrics in Australia – will open its doors for a full day so you can tour its facilities, meet the team and learn more about what it means to make a commitment to ethical and sustainable practices.
What You Need to Know About ECA Accreditation: Information Session for TCF Businesses – Online
Wednesday 11 October 2023 | 2.00pm
Thinking about your own business and ECA accreditation? This online event is a perfect opportunity for any designer or business to meet the team behind Ethical Clothing Australia and learn more about the process of accreditation and how to apply.