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New Zealand designers talk sustainable fashion

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There has been a large shift in conversation around sustainability and the way we are consuming, especially in the fashion industry. Ruby Hamilton caught up with some of Newmarket’s designers to get their take on why it is important to be a part of this conversation and how kiwi brands are navigating the evolution of the fashion and retail landscape.

"I think it’s always been important to think about our consumption in fashion, retail and beyond. Reckless, thoughtless consumption is something that’s always harmful and distasteful and always shall be." - KAREN WALKER

“Being socially and environmentally responsible has always been an important part of the way we do business. Our taylor garments are sustainably and ethically made from the highest quality fabrics sourced from the world’s best mills, they are made to last a lifetime not just a season. By creating awareness around the negative effects of mass-consumerism on our planet and providing a product that is made with longevity in mind, we are helping create positive change in the way people consume.” – VICKI TAYLOR, DIRECTOR, TAYLOR

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"At Juliette Hogan, we focus on longevity through our garment and manufacture process by creating timeless products. We offer repair services on all our clothes and encourage customers to pass on / resell at the end of their life. All of these measures have positive environmental implications when taken across the full life cycle of the garments." – JULIETTE HOGAN

"Barkers has a purpose that goes beyond profit: we want to be a brand that makes a positive impact on the world. Everything we do centres around the journey to improve the impact we have on both the environment and the people our business touches." – ANDY SMITH, HEAD OF PRODUCT, BARKERS

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"It is the future of fashion, and collectively we need to take a more mindful, considered approach to the production and consumption of clothing. We want our customers to love our garments for a lifetime not a season. In response to these challenges we have co-founded Mindful Fashion New Zealand, an initiative that aims to collectively strengthen the New Zealand fashion industry by promoting long term sustainable growth through responsible business practice and industry investment." – KATE SYLVESTER

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“We feel excited by the shift - it has been great to see this conversation become more and more mainstream each year we’ve been in business. This is a space we are proud to already occupy – sustainability and transparency are core values for us, and that’s something our customers are seeking out when they choose to wear twenty-seven names.” – RACHEL EASTING & ANJALI BURNETT, DESIGNERS, TWENTY-SEVEN NAMES

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The world is yours, and it’s our responsibility to care for it. We aspire to leave it a better place than when we arrived. " - HUFFER

"For the most part clothing is something that we all interact with everyday, and the reality is that people do want to update their wardrobes, no matter what sector of the clothing industry they are purchasing from. What this means is that as designers, it is important that we are offering our customers pieces that have been made responsibly and with longevity in mind." – EMILY MILLER-SHARMA, GENERAL MANAGER, RUBY

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" We are proud to be making our products to last. Our shoes are made by hand using boutique production houses of 40-100 staff in Asia and Europe who all meet our agreed standards of practice and expectations for their staff workplace conditions and manufacturing quality. These relationships with our suppliers are long-standing and are very personal to us being a small NZ business - it is vital to have manufacturing partners that we are proud to work with." – KATHRYN WILSON