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Tag Archives | Clothing

Fast fashion – can you keep up with global trends sustainably and ethically?

The stream of fast fashion hitting Australian shores is about to become a deluge. How do these mega brands stack up when it comes to fair working conditions and sustainable practices?


Photo: Gratisography


The international fashion brands are coming  are here!

Last Saturday, 5 April, international clothing mega-retailer H&M launched a huge store in Melbourne, it’s first in Australia. They’re not alone among the international fast and affordable clothing retailers to take aim at Australia. Japanese brand Uniqlo’s first Australia store is set to open, also in Melbourne, on 14 April, with reports that they have a total of 25 stores on the way. Zara and Top Shop opened stores in Sydney and Melbourne last year, and Forever 21 has announced plans for its first Australian store for Brisbane in mid 2014.

Last year, Otter published a quick review of the environmental and social sustainability of global fashion retailers. With all these new developments it’s a great time to look again at the performance of the major international clothing brands recently (or soon to be) available in Australia. Of course no one has to shop at these brands, so we’ve also ranked one of the most online sites, ASOS, and thrown in some fashion alternatives with good rankings for sustainability. Continue Reading →

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The lowdown on leather (part 1)

Buenos Aires Vintage (Flickr:Robert)

Photo: Buenos Aires Vintage (Flickr/RobertSheile) Copyright. Creative Commons license.


Leather. It’s something we all associate with high-end luxury, comfortable seats and the shoes on our feet, but do we pay enough attention to the environmental, human and animal impacts of leather production? In the first of a two part series, Ruth Hatten looks at the environmental consequences of leather production and manufacture, and what we can do to reduce them. In the next issue she will review leather’s impact on human welfare and animal suffering. Continue Reading →

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Cream of the crop: our eight most popular articles


Sea Otter (Dave Menke/WikiMedia)

Otter is eight moths old today (12 Feb 2014)! To celebrate, we’ve collected our eight most popular posts – its a short cut to the content our readers have loved. The articles and links cover key ethical issues from undies and jewellery to toxic sunscreens, sustainable food and the power of consumers to make change. But our most popular article to date (as a percentage of Otter readers at the time) was mainly about paper …

1. Our interview with EcoBuy’s Stephen Reardon

Stephen speaks to Otter about the power consumers have to make a difference in the world, how to choose sustainable printer paper and the value of owning a keep-cup. Continue Reading →

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Death, Taxes and Underwear

gold underpants

Pants in the Park (Flickr/Conerwithonen)


We wear them every day, they don’t last forever, and they’re not something you can easily buy second hand or make yourself.

When it comes to unavoidable purchases, socks and undies are at the top of the list! While it can seem like there are few ethical options out there for basics like socks and undies, a number of local and international companies are working hard to provide fair and green underwear options for lads and ladies alike. As we approach the silly season (where socks and undies are stocking-filler staples), what better time than now to check out a few ethical options? Continue Reading →

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What’s under your shirt? Otter Speaks with Fair Wear Australia

sweatshop workers

Tell us about Fair wear

FairWear is a grassroots campaign made up of individuals and organisations working to stop the exploitation of outworkers and sweatshop workers in the textile, clothing and footwear industries. Importantly, outworkers and sweatshop workers themselves have been involved in the campaign, challenging companies and politicians (in their own gentle way) to take action in response to the daily realities they face of below award wages, long hours of work, work injury, unrealistic deadlines and stressful working conditions. Continue Reading →

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