Meet the future of ethical fashion

Fast fashion? So last century. The future is regenerative. And it’s being paved by conscious companies who reuse, recycle and focus on materials that won’t cost the earth – like deadstock.

From exploiting workers to harming our environment, fast fashion costs us so much more than our money. It also turns us into shopping-zombies, sucked into an endless cycle of consumption. This is thanks to companies like Zara who produce 20 collections a year. Luckily, with the new dawn, the industry is waking up – and there are an increasing number of ethical options emerging every day. Part of this is thanks to eco-friendly materials like deadstock.

Deadstock fabric

Dead, what?

While the name seems rather grim, its potential is far from it.

Deadstock refers to materials that fashion houses no longer want. Maybe the colour wasn’t right, they’ve stopped production runs, or they changed their minds. It simply didn’t make the cut. Because of mass consumption, this perfectly good stuff has become ‘waste’. But now, forward-thinking brands are finally hopping on board and sending these materials on a different path by up-cycling them instead.

While it may seem like reusing these fabrics is giving them a second life, they’re actually getting the one they deserved to begin with. And the end products are nothing short of spectacular.

So what makes deadstock so great ¬– and where can you buy clothes made from these awesome recycled materials?

To help you navigate this fashion-fraught world, we’re sharing the scoop on these special sustainable fabrics.

What makes deadstock the dream material?

Did you know: it takes 2,700L of water to produce one cotton t-shirt? That’s enough to keep you and your partner hydrated for about a year.

And to make matters worse, Aussies dispose of 6,000kg of fashion and textile waste every 10 minutes. That’s about the weight of one elephant in fabrics every 10 minutes.

Shocking, right? It’s this kind of madness that makes a material like deadstock somewhat of a game-changer. Brands that choose to make their products from deadstock have a few good things they can brag about, like:

  • Reducing textile waste
  • Conserving energy
  • Decreasing their (and our) carbon footprint

Besides the environmental benefits, deadstock also promotes creativity and is an inexpensive fabric for manufacturers.

So why aren’t more brands using deadstock?

For most, it’s because of consistency – or a lack thereof. Using deadstock means that you get what you’re given. It can’t be reproduced identically, creating barriers to mass production. That’s why some large companies hesitate to jump on board. But we think they’re missing out, as there’s nothing like having a unique piece these days.

Also, sourcing deadstock requires a lot of time to find and test the fabrics. Much more so than working with mainstream materials. Even so, the real leaders in fashion are right onto it. One only has to look to popular outdoor clothing company, Patagonia – or sustainable women’s clothing line, Reformation to witness its potential.

Local heroes

As we’ve said, some awesome innovative brands are already breathing fresh life into deadstock. Here’s a handful we love:

The Ahimsa Collective

If you’re looking for luxury accessories that are ethical and elegant, The Ahimsa Collective has you covered. This sustainable company produces gorgeous clutches, totes and calico bags from a mix of pineapple leaves, ‘would be waste’ and washable paper. Find Ahisma Collective’s online store now.


Ahimsa Collective

The Possibility Project

Sourcing their overrun fabrics from large factories is The Possibility Project’s way of reducing textile waste. These perfectly good materials would otherwise find themselves in the bin. Instead, they are transformed into beautiful clothes, bags, and accessories by artisans in slum communities from Jaipur. Shop their collection here.

Possibility Project

The Social Outfit

The Social Outfit provides employment and training in the fashion industry to people from refugee and new migrant communities. Their collections feature deadstock fabrics, quality materials beautifully designed into gorgeous pieces. In total, they’ve saved over 5 tonnes of fabric and textile waste from landfill thanks to their fashion community supporters including Cue, Romance was BornSeafollyCarla ZampattiGinger & SmartAlice McCall and more.  The Social Outfit

This article first appeared in our monthly newsletter The Gazette. Sign up here and never again miss your monthly dose of good stuff.