Local Threads leading sustainable fashion with their foresight in Australia
Written by Zenda Nel
Sustainability Fashion Writer
Are you also bored with the homogenization of retail, seeing the same brands with not much difference between them in every retail shop and on all the websites you visit online? Would you, like most people, be unable to say exactly what the fashion trend is this season? Why, there is none. Nothing that stands out.
Do you long to wear clothing that is unique and individual but don’t know where to find it? Look no further. Local Threads, Australia’s very own e-marketplace for Australian-made ethical and sustainable clothes, is where you will find what you’re looking for. The platform showcases more than 3,000 products from 150+ top ethical and sustainable Australian brands.
Products featured on Local Threads carry a badge of honor
There are a number of strict criteria for brands that want to sell on Local Threads. They must be
- 100% Australian born and bred
- Ethical and sustainable
- Committed to not using animal fur or exotic skins in their garments
- Committed to delivering high-quality products that last
Local Threads doesn’t sell products by brands that don’t comply with these requirements.
With its insistence on these standards, Local Threads is at the cutting edge of emerging trends in the fashion industry worldwide: supporting local, sustainable and ethical fashion.
Being local is important to Local Threads. The platform’s target market is fashion buyers who prefer to buy from local brands that are ethical and sustainable. This is in line with current trends that see the popularity of mainstream brands waning.
The shift to conscious consumerism is providing a great opportunity for small local brands to create unique products that don’t harm the environment. Conscious consumerism is a choice to buy from brands that produce sustainable products through ethical choices and business practices.
Small local brands are seen as more environmentally responsible and are consequently attracting conscious consumers. Some observers predict that conscious consumerism is not a passing fad and is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
A McKinsey report notes that there has been an explosion of small brands. Small and medium brands are outperforming leading brands across industries. According to the report, small and medium-sized brands captured 45% of growth from 2016 - 2020, and private-label products captured 30 percent.
An increasing number of individual small-scale brands promote conscious consumption by producing and selling eco-friendly products. Local Threads sells fashion items from more than 150 sustainable and ethical local fashion brands.
Proudly Australian to meet Australian needs
By supporting Australian companies, Local Threads illustrates its own pride in being Australian and reiterates that position by supporting Australian companies that center their business around meeting the needs of Australians.
Consumer spending directly influences local employment, local economic stability and prosperity. In short, when you buy Australian, you boost your own local economy. Local Threads wants Australians to make it possible for Australians to buy products designed for them by local designers.
More people buying locally creates more opportunities for local designers to craft unique apparel and accessories that consumers can buy to express their individuality and stop looking like everyone else on the streets. The one-of-a-kind products by local brands have proven to be very alluring for trendy, eco-conscious fashion consumers.
Local designers, business owners, and manufacturers understand what’s important to the Australian consumer. They go out of their way to meet their requirements with unique and high-quality products, Local Threads being at the forefront of helping to provide what discerning consumers in Australia want.
What is meant by sustainable fashion? Sustainable fashion is the principle that every level of garment creation should be done in an eco-friendly manner, so no aspect of the environment or resources are in danger of degradation or depletion. Clearly, this is not the case with the fashion industry as it stands today.
The fashion industry’s appalling carbon footprint expressed in figures
- produces 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions
- depletes the world’s most scarce resource: water – 7,500 liters of water is used to produce a pair of jeans
- is responsible for 20% of all industrial water pollution worldwide
- produces waste: up to 85% of textiles go straight to landfills each year
- releases the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles in the form of microfibers into the oceans every year
- produces 35% of all microplastics which never biodegrade
As consumers have become aware of these appalling realities, there has been a growing backlash against mainstream fashion. Growing numbers of people are deciding to support sustainable fashion. Most people are very aware of the realities of climate change and see a link between unsustainable practices, environmental degradation and global warming. Already worried about climate change, consumers don’t want to do anything to exacerbate the situation. With the help of the Local Threads platform, consumers can support businesses that take their responsibility to the environment seriously.
According to Statista figures, all age groups are supportive of sustainable fashion. Half of 18 – 24-year-olds are very supportive of sustainable fashion. For the 25-34-year-olds, the figure is 39%, for 45-54-year-olds it’s 30%, and 25% for Baby Boomers.
Australians feel strongly about eco-friendly products
In 2019 research by Salmat and ACRS found that a third of Australian consumers will buy sustainable products, and almost a third (31 %) don’t buy from brands that don’t adhere to their values, ethics or sustainability practices. Climate change and the environment were the top concerns that influenced these buying decisions.
The latest research shows that those sentiments have escalated. Now, 90% of Australian consumers are more likely to purchase ethical and sustainable products, and 85% of them insist on more transparency from brands and retailers. They want to be able to trace the manufacturing history of garments before buying them.
Many Australians are even prepared to fork out more money for eco-friendly products. The research on behalf of parcel delivery service CouriersPlease found that 40% of Australians would pay more for ethical and sustainable products.
These findings show a rise in conscious consumerism in Australia and retailers, and brands will have to take notice. This is where Local Threads and the sustainable brands that it promotes are on trend with growing consumer awareness and preference for sustainably and ethically produced merchandise.
Brands that want to sell on Local Threads have to follow ethical practices. What does that mean for fashion? Ethical fashion is the human aspect of the designing and manufacturing process. It focuses on the social impact of fashion, aiming to improve the working conditions of laborers working in textile creation and manufacturing.
The world has woken up to the horrific conditions that textile workers are subjected to so models can strut their stuff on the red carpets of the world, and for ordinary citizens to clothe themselves. Women who comprise the majority of workers in the industry have suffered ambient toxic fumes, poverty-perpetuating wages, inhuman deadlines, and physical violence to support their families. Ethical fashion seeks to put an end to these injustices.
Local Threads only supports brands that can prove their adherence to the highest ethical standards, so when you buy an item on the platform, you are assured that everyone involved in creating the garment enjoyed fair treatment and worked in hygienic conditions.
Ethical and sustainable – two sides of the same coin
Fashion must be both ethical and sustainable – you can’t have one without the other and claim that you are doing any good. What’s the use of paying proper wages when you are polluting the river outside? And no one wants to buy vegan leather if the dying process still involves toxic chemicals.
For the fashion industry to rebuild its reputation, the whole supply chain, from resource materials, harvesting, weaving and knitting, manufacturing, and transport needs to be ethical and sustainable.
Conscious consumerism is the one factor that could permanently change the fashion industry’s social, economic, and environmental aspects. When consumers choose where to spend their money, companies’ bottom line is impacted directly, and nothing speaks louder than that.
Conscious consumerism is showing that it can have an impact on profitability. WARC, part of data and analytics company Ascential, has brought out a report that incorporated information gleaned from 80% of Forbes' most valuable brands and 80% of the world's top agencies. According to the report, conscious consumerism and sustainability are predicted to impact marketing strategies across industries in the future. More than of 75% brands agreed that they need to take a stand on social issues. The report highlights that the top 40 Unilever brands focused on sustainability are growing 50% faster than other Unilever brands and are responsible for 60% of Unilever’s growth.
Today’s consumers are informed about the need for ethical and sustainable fashion, and many of them are choosing to support brands that adhere to these values. Companies like Local Threads play a critical role in advancing sustainable fashion by promoting the craft of Australian fashion professionals committed to treating their workers well and not damaging the environment.