Where to Shop Ethical and Sustainable Dresses for Spring

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After a full season of being cooped up and wrapped in cosy layers, the coming of spring breathes new life and hope. The warmer temperatures and flowering plants awaken our spirits and compels us to go out and marvel at nature’s beauty. We also update our wardrobes, welcoming the bold-colored frocks, eye-catching ensembles and happier shades that represent the loveliness of the season.

Meanwhile, Paris Fashion Week has just ended, displaying what we can expect for Spring-Summer, naturally an assortment of sassy and vibrant collections from some of the world’s leading fashion designers and design houses including Miu Miu, Louis Vuitton and Chanel. The highlight of the event, however, was when climate activists, Extinction Rebellion, managed to sneak in to the train of models and strutted the stretch of the runway holding a banner that says OVERCONSUMPTION = EXTINCTION before getting whisked away by security.

A couple of years before that, Extinction Rebellion organized a ‘death march’ during the end of London Fashion Week as a big f*ck you to the clothing industry for being a major climate crisis offender. Their main goal for staging this bold move? To have fashion week cancelled.

With social collapse, climate breakdown and a sixth mass extinction seemingly imminent without a complete overhaul to business-as-usual, fashion – being one of the top polluting industries on the planet with a carbon footprint to boot – has become synonymous with ecocide.

So how do we rebel against human extinction while staying true to our sense of expression through clothing this spring? Be a part of the fashion revolution and consume wisely and responsibly, that’s how.

If you *must* add to your wardrobe and are seeking an ethically-made or eco-friendly dress for spring, we’ve rounded up a list of places you can find sustainable and ethical fashion brands to support – with zero guilt.

Spell & the Gypsy Collective

When you want to bloom in sync with the season, donning a lovely flowy dress is just the right get-up for this period. And Spell & the Gypsy Collective is the perfect boutique for romantic finds.

Founded by Australian sisters, Elizabeth and Isabella, most of Spell’s designs are inspired by dreamy wonderlands, vintage finds and shared memories so you’ll find gorgeous pieces that seem to free the hidden gypsy in you. Browsing through their selection is like stumbling inside Stevie Nick’s eclectic closet – wonderfully anachronistic, whimsical yet always stylish.

Spell Farrah Kerchief Sun Dress in lilac $269 AUD
Spell Joni Gown $340 AUD.

TAMGA Designs

If you want less rock’n’roll and more beach-and-picnic babe, TAMGA Designs is just what you are looking for this season. They have an endless range of romantic, chic and versatile pieces that go well with any pair of shoes, be it a pair of cute sneakers, high-heeled pumps or even a great pair of boots – which makes any lovely design perfect for either date night or a relaxing day at the beach or park. We’re loving the ‘Fiona’ maxi dress and ‘Daphne’ dress from the brand’s current Folklore range.

TAMGA Designs ‘Fiona’ Maxi Dress $189 CAD
TAMGA Designs ‘Daphne’ dress $159 CAD

Elk the Label

Elk the Label offers a dress range that is elegant and bold, stylish yet comfy, vivacious and vibrant, gorgeous, gorgeous and gorgeous. This Australian clothing brand was founded by husband and wife, Marnie Goding and Adam Koniaras, whose goal is to produce a line that is kind to the earth and at the same time, treats their makers as family and are made in factories that have been visited and adhere to the company’s high labour standards. Elk’s designs focus on simple cuts that are aesthetically pleasing. Take one look at their collection and you immediately experience love at first sight.

ELK the label Mostro Dress $199 AUD.
Elk the Label Ivar Long Dress $249 AUD.

Made Trade

A conscious e-commerce store based in the USA that is women-owned, people of color-owned, sustainably sourced and ethical. Made Trade doesn’t just make you feel good for putting together a stylish outfit, it also makes you feel good for knowing that you shopped at a place that creates a positive impact on the planet and helped to improve the lives of the artisans and makers.

Made Trade sources and stocks fashion and homewares that are exceptionally-made, ethically-made, handmade and made to last. We’re loving the feminine dresses by Grammar NYC, each are beautifully-designed and embodies the modern conscious woman.

Grammar NYC Quotation Dress available at Made Trade.
Grammar NYC feminine dress available at Made Trade.

Biome

Australia’s leading eco store Biome has an entire slow fashion section where you can browse a wide selection of in-season pieces from Australian and New Zealand sustainable brands such as Seagrass, Arnhem Clothing and Kowtow as well as international eco brands including Thought Clothing and Passion Lilie.

From flirty skirts that hug your curves to cute two-piece outfits that swoop around your body making you want to sashay down the street as if strutting down the catwalk, you’ll find the right Spring dress for you.

Arnhem Stella Midi dress from Biome.
Arnhem Stella Maxi Dress from Biome.

Shop second-hand

For a sustainable choice that also saves you loads of money, we also recommend shopping pre-loved spring dresses online. Check out eBay for second-hand and new near dresses, for true vintage romantic dresses we love Etsy, and Facebook Marketplace if you want to source second-hand dresses locally. For a comprehensive list of where to shop secondhand fashion, read our post “The Ultimate Guide to Online Fashion Stores for Second-Hand and Vintage Clothing“.

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Cover image via TAMGA Designs.

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