Another week, another digital travel guide to find the best brands around the globe. Today we want to virtually travel to – or let’s say daydream ourselves to – New Zealand, the country of Hobbits, yummy kiwi fruits and the traditional haka dance. Here is our ultimate list of sustainable brands from New Zealand.
Despite New Zealand being very far from us here in Berlin we wanted to have a look at all the amazing sustainable brands it has to offer. Especially since sustainability seems to be a normal thing there which is probably why we were able to accumulate an amazing list of sustainable brands from New Zealand for you. For our European readers, 100 NZD are around 60 EUR. So, let’s dive in!
KOWTOW is probably one of the most known sustainable brands from New Zealand. The brand promises three main things: that clothes are ethically made, that sustainable fabrics are being used and that circular design is being kept in mind. KOWTOW supports fair wages and workers’ rights and all of the brand’s cotton is Fairtrade certified. Further, the brand uses certified organic cotton, mohair, alpaca fleece and wool, ECONYL®, Lenzing® tencel and other organic, natural, renewable and biodegradable fibres. Even the buttons are made from natural sources like agoya shells, corozo nuts or recycled hemp. KOWTOW sources mulesing free mohair, alpaca fleece and wool locally in New Zealand. The brand also uses entirely recyclable packaging and environmentally friendly dyes approved by GOTS.
Price range: 29 – 649NZD
The Japanese word masami translates to gracious beauty, true self and becoming beautiful. Founder Julie Puddick decided to create a brand for elegant and independent women who want to enhance their sophisticated wardrobes. The textiles and trims come from secondhand retailers, fabric specialists and vintage boutiques all around the world. Most MASAMI garments are made of natural fabrics like cotton, linen and silk. You can also order made-to-measure garments.
Price range: 145 – 895NZD
RACHEL MILLS is a sustainable brand from Mount Eden where the entire process is done, from receiving the order, to cutting the garment, sewing and shipping. Everything happens in-house and is made to order. Additionally, the brand does not follow the traditional markup on price since all garments are made in one location. To not produce too much RACHEL MILLS follows a non-seasonal structure instead of releasing entire collections. The brand uses organic and OEKO-TEX certified fabrics like cotton and merino or synthetic fibres that were sourced via deadstock like elastane and nylon.
Price range: 25 – 389NZD
LITTLE YELLOW BIRD only sources organic and rain-fed cotton which is traceable right back to the farms since the brand supports small scale farmers. Therefore promoting sustainable agricultural practices. The brand only works with GOTS or Fairtrade certified factories and sets the working minimum age at 18. The LYB team visits the factories at least once a year, but usually way more than that to ensure the highest standards of safety for the garment workers. On top of that, the brand ships as many products as possible by sea freight. LYB seeks to make new products from old and is currently working on reusing and recycling. The brand acknowledges that many people don’t have access to clean water and therefore does not want to contribute to polluting water by using harmful dyes. This is why LYB only uses non-toxic GOTS certified dyes.
Price range: 10 – 200NZD
MAGGIE MARILYN was founded by Maggie Hewitt in New Zealand to create a brand that is transparent and empowers people and ensures the health of our environment. The goal is to transform the fashion industry to be more transparent, circular, regenerative and inclusive. MAGGIE MARILYN uses organic cotton, post-consumer waste recycled polyester, ethical non-mulesed wool, ECONYL® regenerated nylon, organic linen, Tencel™ and deadstock fabrics. The organic cotton is now also GOTS certified and most of the virgin sourced fabrics are OEKO-TEX certified. The wool is mulesing free and Responsible Wool Standard certified. Since finding a supplier of high-quality recycled natural fibres MAGGIE MARILYN aims to work more with recycled natural materials too.
Price range: 75 – 1.795NZD
RECREATE aims to craft ethical and sustainable garments that also transform the lives of their makers through fair employment, training and empowerment. The idea was not to create a clothing brand but rather provide employment for women in the marginalised community of Dey Tmey in Cambodia after founder Erica Gadsby saw this need while volunteering there. Thus, RECREATE was born to sustainably support these women long term. The brand mainly uses GOTS certified organic cotton and denim that is sourced from a mill in Thailand using recycled water and AZO free dyes. On top of that, RECREATE uses handwoven cotton made by the garment workers in Cambodia themselves.
Price range: 80 – 250NZD
The brand OUTLIV was created out of the concern for the planet. Producing new leather and denim fabrics is harmful to the environment which is why OUTLIV decided to recycle these types of fabrics in a circular design process. This way the leftover fabrics do not land up in landfills and get a new life instead. By using these fabrics OUTLIV avoids an immense amount of pollution and waste. Each bag from OUTLIV has been designed with the aim of maximum consumption of recycled fabrics with low to zero waste. On top of that, every bag is produced locally in New Zealand. Last but not least, the brand donates parts of the profits to the environmental organisation ‘Sea Cleaners’ and the local New Zealand foundation ‘Women’s Fund’.
Price range: 23 – 345NZD
Founder Elisha Watson created NISA in 2017 when she was working as a lawyer and volunteering with the Red Cross’ refugee resettlement programme. Sharing a love of sewing with many women of the former refugee community the idea of NISA was born. The undergarment brand produces briefs mostly made with GOTS certified organic cotton knitted in Melbourne. The swimwear is made with ECONYLⓇ – regenerated nylon from fishing nets and waste. NISA wants to create high-quality undergarments that you will love and wear for a long time. The Wellington workshop is open to the public so customers can see the small garment production facility and even has a shop inside. NISA is open about using elastane which is why the undergarments can’t be fully composed. However, the brand is working on a solution and will keep customers updated! Plus, NISA dends all garments in paper packaging that is recycled and recyclable.
Price range: 10 – 129NZD
OVNA OVICH was created to celebrate compassionate and strong women. The brand was founded in 2012 and pays homage to the Russian heritage of designer and director Marina Davis. Ovna means feminine and ovich masculine in Russian. The brand is devoted to making environmentally friendly and socially responsible clothing through local production in Aotearoa New Zealand using natural materials and sustainable practices. OVNA OVICH’s garments are made locally within a 15km radius of their Auckland studio. On top, the brand mostly uses materials that are naturally renewable and biodegradable. Examples are Tencel, linen, certified merino wool, cupro, GOTS certified organic cotton and viscose. Even the buttons are made from sustainably farmed shells and nuts from palm trees.
Price range: 59 – 550NZD
The brand MANE PROJECT is an ethical street fashion brand formerly known as Arc & Bow and Bare Bones. MANE – Made At No Expense – PROJECT designs all garments in Mount Maunganui and manufactures them in India across multiple factories the brand has built close relationships with. All factories are regularly audited. Since MANE PROJECT used to work with factories in China that started to refuse visits, starting relations with transparent and trustworthy manufacturers was really important to the team. The brand aims to work with only organic cotton and uses traditional print methods like hand screen-printing and block-printing using AZO free dyes. All manufacturers use GOTS certified organic cotton. All in all, ethical manufacturing processes, fair trade and sustainability from an environmental, social and economic perspective are at the heart of the brand.
Price range: 22 – 219NZD
UNTOUCHED WORLD’s goal is to create beautiful easy wear that is easily taken care of and lasts a long time. Quality and sustainability are non-negotiable to the brand. Further, UNTOUCHED WORLD is the first lifestyle fashion brand that is recognised by the UN for sustainability. The brand has created the UNTOUCHED WORLD FOUNDATION that delivers programmes for students across New Zealand focused on leadership towards a sustainable future. A percentage of every purchase goes directly to the foundation. The brand also has a sustainability report with more details and uses the following materials: Airewool™, Cassum™, Ecodown®, linen, merino tencel, organic cotton, soybean and many other innovative fabrics.
Price range: 10 – 849NZD
The next sustainable brand from New Zealand we want to present to you is SUNDAY PROJECTS. The brand’s work centers around the desire to create simple, ethically made goods that make you feel good and the world a slightly better place. It is important to the brand to choose natural and organic materials and ensure fair trade conditions. On top of that, SUNDAY PROJECTS ensures that no harmful pesticides or chemicals are being used. The brand only stocks small batches to avoid waste. All garments are handmade in Wellington, New Zealand by a group of women and are coloured with OEKO-TEX certified dyes. What we love the most is that everything is made from linen. Unfortunately, SUNDAY PROJECTS only offers one size fits all as of now. We hope this will change once the small brand gets bigger and more recognition!
Price range: 12 – 275NZD
ALLBIRDS creates sustainable shoes and apparel with the goal to replace petroleum-based synthetic materials with natural alternatives as much as possible. Whenever ALLBIRDS had not found suitable materials the brand decided to invent its own new alternatives like SweetFoam®. The brand offers carefully curated seasonless products. Further, ALLBIRDS has close relationships with all manufacturers that are located in North Carolina, Peru, China, Vietnam, South Korea and Indonesia. What materials does ALLBIRDS use, you ask? Wool, trees, sugar and Trino®. Merino wool, TENCEL™ Lyocell that comes from trees, sugarcane that is used for the SweetFoam® shoe sole and Trino® which is a mix of tree fibres and merino wool. Other materials are recycled plastic, castor bean oil for the insoles and recycled cardboard.
Price range: 17 – 450NZD
LOVE WINTER is a boutique jewellery store and brand located in Auckland, New Zealand. Founder Delwynne Winter created her brand with the goal to make pretty jewellery pieces for everyday wear starting her journey in her home. Now LOVE WINTER has moved into a shared maker space and showroom in Takapuna, Auckland. All pieces are handcrafted using 100% sterling silver, 9ct gold, brass, copper and handpicked semi precious stones to create high-quality jewellery that will last you a long time.
Price range: 40 – 305NZD
AROWM is a small jewellery and décor brand from New Zealand. All items are hand made in Aotearoa by founder Tiffany Clayton. Tiffany creates all earrings and candles at home in her studio making our cute aesthetically pleasing décor dreams come alive. AROWM aims to make customers feel comfortable with who they are and is – as the brand itself says – for the bright, the bold, the soft and the passionate. We love supporting small businesses and can’t wait for more from AROWM!
Price range: 25 – 115NZD
RECA’s mission is to connect its customers with ethically sourced products that empower women and strengthen independent businesses. The brand aims to challenge fast fashion with a better, more sustainable alternative. Founder Myint Aung grew up in Myanmar with a strong conservative and stereotypical gender role for women. However, her mother taught her to be independent and arriving in New Zealand has shown her how many opportunities women are receiving there. This inspired her to give back and support independent businesses that pay fair wages to women who don’t have those same opportunities. RECA works with former refugees to create the beautiful jewellery you receive at home. All items are handcrafted and chosen with care for the planet and the people right in New Zealand. Further, all packaging is 100% recyclable.
Price range: 35 – 199NZD
Founder Ash Hilton has been making jewellery since 2003 and is now working alongside his sister Siggy, his wife Laurel, who found her way from Texas to the deep South of New Zealand, and illustrator and designer Tasmin. The small team of four people creates jewellery made from responsibly sourced metals and stones. These materials are New Zealand alluvial gold, New Zealand beach gold, recycled sterling silver, palladium and platinum, titanium as well as coloured gemstones. The gemstones come from a supplier in the US that sources all gemstones ethically. Plus they are all traceable. The brand ASH HILTON acknowledges that the mining methods still have an impact, but in no way compare to the harm of traditional hard-rock mining. The small business is also a true family business with Ash and Laurel’s two sons growing up alongside the team working.
Price range: 51 – 8.000NZD