One of our guiding values as a business is "conscious consuming". Conscious consuming actually means buying less, and when you do buy, looking for quality and sustainably produced items.
One way you can practice conscious consuming is by buying products made here in Australia. Not only does this help reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry, it also has economic and social benefits as well.
Here are 5 reasons to buy Australian made clothing:
1/ You get what you pay for.
While Australian made clothes tend to be more expensive, the products are usually of a higher quality. Large scale clothing manufacturers have a reputation of cutting corners by using cheap fabric and cheap labour overseas. Clothes made here in Australia must meet the high Australian mandatory standard which ensures a higher quality in comparison with clothes manufactured in a factory in China or India for example.
2/ Australian made means less carbon footprint.
It has become common for clothes to do a lot of travel before landing in the hands of the consumer. Often, the fabric is printed in one part of the world, assembled in another, and then sent to yet another to be sold. All this travel time requires shipping which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and uses a lot of resources. Through buying Australian made clothes, you are cutting out the middle man and reducing the impact your clothes have on the environment.
3/ You are voting with your dollar.
It's no secret that consumers are driven by the price tag. As consumers, we seek out the best deal and generally conform to the idea that getting more for your dollar is good shopping. This way of thinking has instilled an ideology of quantity over quality which keeps the demand for products high and keeps manufacturers producing at a rapid pace. By buying Australian made products, you are making a statement that as a consumer, you want quality over quantity. Basic economics teaches us that supply and demand are directly correlated which means that if there is a demand for Australian made products, the market will shift to support that demand.
4/ You are supporting the Australian economy.
This goes back to the power of the consumer. When we buy Australian made clothing, we are supporting economic growth within Australia. This also opens up employment opportunities for Australians because manufacturing jobs aren't being shipped overseas, where employment is often unethical.
5/ And finally, Australian made more often means ethically made.
The reason the fashion industry has shipped their manufacturing overseas is so that they can take advantage of the cheap labour. Countries in Asia or South America for example have limited to no regulations on working conditions and as a result, factory workers often risk their health and face abuse with limited to no legal standing. Australia has strict standards for working environments which protect the health and safety of the workers. With the help of accrediting organisations like Ethical Clothing Australia, we can more easily find Australian made clothes and take pride in knowing that they were made ethically.
The above article was taken from the blog www.1millionwomen.com.au
After the election of the Hawke government in 1983, Australia, in its wisdom, began dismantling the trade barriers which protected Australian clothing and textile manufacturers from competition overseas.
Indeed, in 1991 the government unexpectedly accelerated the pace of trade barrier liberalisation by reducing import duty rates on clothing. This was undertaken well ahead of the trade liberalisation schedules of the World Trade Organisation’s Agreement on Textiles and Clothing.
The reasoning behind this was that the clothing and related manufacturing industries were perceived by our government, as low skill and low productivity sectors, which were better suited to the economies of developing nations with "abundant", less skilled labour.
This all resulted in a high and increasing proportion of garments sold in the Australian market originating from China and elsewhere, while Australian volume producers were decimated.
This has left our clothing production sector as a large number of very small firms. In fact, a quarter of all employees including working owners, work in businesses with fewer than five staff.
And a lot of these employees work at home, as "outworkers". They often have limited English and get their extended families to help meet deadlines. To quote from the report "Ethical Threads" compiled by the Brotherhood of St Laurence, outworkers’ average pay was $3.60 per hour with most working 12 hours per day and seven days per week when the work was there, and often it was not.
The rates of pay and working conditions overseas are far worse, as evidenced by the recent tragedy of factory collapse and tragic deaths in Bangladesh.
Today, all but a handful of local the big Australian design houses have sent production offshore to compete with cheap imports. Without big changes a local manufacturing industry may not exist in as little as a decade.
More than 200,000 women formed the backbone of the garment industry in the 80s, but there are now only 4,400 textile, clothing and footwear businesses manufacturing here, according to 2009 Australian Bureau of Statistics figures.
So, if ever there was a time to support the ethical production of clothing in Australia, encompassing design and manufacture, then it is now!
This is the philosophy at the heart of CharlieBoy, a philosophy which drives everything we do and seek to achieve.
With CharlieBoy, you can be sure we source everything locally (although the fabric is imported as a result of almost zero production in Australia), we pay better than minimum wage rates, and we see our business as leading a mutually supportive group of Australian suppliers and subcontractors, all of us determined to survive and prosper in our Roller-Coaster-Industry, and in so doing, maximising the benefits we can deliver to our like-minded followers and customers.