At the risk of stating the obvious, the clothes we wear matter. And not just in the sense of sartorial splendour and self-expression, but for those across the supply chain and beyond working towards a more sustainable fashion future. To celebrate these creatives putting people and planet first, we’ve introduced a digital series called Nice Rack! (…get it) so we can go behind the seams with some of our favourite sustainable brands, together.
We’re a little bit obsessed with the dreamy frocks Luna and Sun produces in our hometown of Brisbane. The label uses natural, plant-based fabrics to create a considered range of staples inspired by the earthy tones of founder Teshani McManus’ childhood home in Sri Lanka. Many of the Oeko-Tex-certified garments are pregnancy and breastfeeding friendly and the range is made in Brisbane with the ethos that “loved clothes last”.
above TESHANI, FOUNDER AND DESIGNER OF LUNA AND SUN
Tell us about yourself…
My name is Teshani and I am the founder and designer of Luna and Sun, a slow fashion label that makes items that women can wear throughout every season of their lives.
What does sustainable fashion mean to you?
To me, sustainable fashion is fashion that is good for people, our planet and animals. We need to consider how long items will last, how to mend and repair items and what practices are in place to ensure they don’t end up in landfill. Sustainable fashion isn’t about trends like you see in fast fashion, but more about items you can wear time and time again.
When did you know you wanted to get into fashion?
I’ve always loved fashion and how clothing can make us feel confident and express our personality but I found my true “passion for fashion” after watching The True Cost documentary. Watching it inspired me to study fashion and sustainability and ultimately start my own sustainable fashion label, Luna and Sun.
Why were you inspired to start your label and what continues to inspire you as a designer?
After learning about the negative effects the fashion industry was having on people, animals and the environment, I felt compelled to help make a change. I studied fashion and sustainability and researched every aspect of ethical and sustainable fashion. In late 2019, Luna and Sun was born – a fashion label that did things very differently to fast fashion.
As a slow fashion label, we’re committed to upholding our core values of being kind to animals, the environment and, most importantly, the people who make our clothes.
As a slow fashion label, we’re committed to upholding our core values of being kind to animals, the environment and, most importantly, the people who make our clothes. Not too long after I launched my label, I also found out I was pregnant and becoming a new mum also inspired me as a designer. I now think about every design and if it can be worn throughout every ‘season’ of our lives including pregnancy and motherhood to ensure our items will last.
How do you incorporate sustainability/ethical practices within your brand?
From start to finish we consider the impact we are having on the environment, people and animals. From the patternmaking to the cutting stage, we reduce fabric wastage and keep off-cuts to make other smaller items like scrunchies. We also only work with ethical fabric suppliers as well as our Brisbane manufacturer who is accredited with Ethical Clothing Australia. We ensure our fabrics and materials are sustainable and plastic-free and items are made to last. We are also moving to a made-to-order model to ensure we are only making items when we have orders.
We also offer our customers several options when they can no longer wear, mend, swap or upcycle their items. They can send these items to us and we will upcycle them or send them to Upparel for recycling.
Tell us about any standout moments in your career…
In the first year of launching our business, one of our biggest milestones was having Biome Eco Stores reach out to ask to wholesale our clothing. This was a huge milestone for me as I shopped with Biome for years and they are one of my favourite stores.
We’ve also been the finalist for several awards and I’m so proud to have been a finalist for the 2021 Waste Smart Awards (by Sustainable Brisbane) for the work we are doing to raise awareness and reduce textile and clothing waste.
I was also a finalist for the AusMumpreneur Awards in the category of Multicultural Business Excellence and I spoke to a group of over 50 high school students at an Eco Marines conference last year.
While writing this, I also feel so honoured to have been asked to be interviewed by my favourite magazine – Peppermint.
From start to finish we consider the impact we are having on the environment, people and animals.
What are your favourite pieces to wear?
For day wear, I love to wear our linen button-up shirts as they are great to wear to work or when working from home as they are super comfy. On the weekends, I love wearing our Sirima Dress paired with boots and a cardigan as it’s a great dress to wear in the colder weather.
For special events I’m currently loving our Kalani Wrap Dress; I recently wore it for a family photo shoot and it was the perfect dress for this.
Who are a few of your favourite local designers?
Two of my favourite local brands are Magpie Goose and The Social Outfit. I love that both these brands are sustainable and also use their brands to create change and provide economic and employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and new migrants. I believe fashion can be a force for good and I think both these brands are leading the way in sustainable fashion that also has a social impact.
We need more brands to be transparent and tell consumers the truth about where their items are made, what fabrics they use and what they do to reduce their environmental impact.
What do you think needs to change in the Australian fashion landscape?
I think there is currently so much greenwashing going on which is making it really hard for small businesses that are trying to do the right thing. I see so many brands say they are ‘Australian designed’ but they still have no information on where their items are made. Consumers sometimes see ‘Australian designed’ and think the items are made in Australia or ethically made which isn’t always the case.
I think we’re all so used to seeing fast fashion sold for ridiculously cheap prices that it also makes it hard for sustainable brands as people don’t understand why our prices are higher. We need more brands to be transparent and tell consumers the truth about where their items are made, what fabrics they use and what they do to reduce their environmental impact.