Green Fashion: 10 New Zealand Sustainable Designers You Need to Know

Untouched World New Zealand Mens and Womens Summer 2009 Clothing Photo

Image via: Untouched World

Ah New Zealand, the land down under. Or, is that Australia? Seems there is more to learn about this island with more sheep than people than we thought. Think the locals just wear wool, wool, and well, more wool? Think again--three out of every four garments are made in China and very little cloth is produced locally. Green designers are working hard to change all of that by supporting local farmers and manufacturing on-island. With sleek, flattering lines functionality and durability, Kiwis want their fashion to be both cutting-edge stylish and able to go the distance. Here are 10 hot eco-fashion designers from New Zealand putting their special Kiwi spin on clothing, accessories and all things style related.

1. Untouched World

With clothing for both men and women, Untouched World (parent company Snowy Peak Ltd) boasts the title of first fashion company to be recognized by the UN for their efforts to educate others on the issue of sustainability. Collections are slim--done on purpose so customers choose pieces that last for years--but big on durability and likability. The company is working to streamline styles as well as manufacturing operations by eliminating as many items that have a negative impact on the environment as possible. Merino wool and organic cotton are used, as well as Organic mountainsilk (Merino fibers) and oddly enough, Ecopossum (the fibers trap air and add extra warmth to clothing), apparently a known pest in New Zealand. The symbol for Untouched World comes from a Maori kite--which represents the ideal relationship between man and nature.

2. Starfish

Image via: Starfish

Each collection is better than the last with Starfish, delivering mix and match pieces that are "a fusion of progressive style with an understated elegance." Previous collections include "Heirloom" and "Garden of Perfect Happiness," and the clothing is all very whimsical, fun and feminine. Pieces utilize natural and eco-friendly fabrics, as well as recycled buttons and belts. All items are made locally on-shore in New Zealand using non-toxic washes and dyes. Laurie Foon, owner of Starfish, recently shut down her Laurie Foon label to focus full time on the sustainable Starfish label, which won a New Zealand Sustainable Business Award in 2007 for lowering its environmental footprint. If you visit them in person, rest assured that all labels carried in Starfish stores are eco-friendly.

3. Miranda Brown

Miranda Brown Cream Cape Photo
Tired of only buying plain, eco-friendly basics? No problem. Miranda Brown specializes in making NZ wool, organic cotton, and natural fiber clothing with prints and patterns in beautiful colors. If you're looking to jazz up your work routine, the pieces from Miranda Brown will do just that--classic enough for the work environment yet fun enough to wear out on the town.

Image via: Cream Cape on

Skirts, jackets, shirts, pants, and other exciting pieces can all be found here in fun as well as neutral colors. There's also babywear and housewares in organic cotton fabrics and beautiful patterns.

4. Descendant Denim

Descendant Denim White Dove Tee Black Jean Shorts Photo
Descendant Denim Black Jeans Hip Pocket View Photo
Image via: Descendant Denim

What would a fashion article be without a trusty pair of jeans? These jeans are organic, but they don't look it--or as Descendant Denim says, "Descendant is all about the organic, but don't get us wrong; we are not about to don Hessian sacks an roll around in the ashes. Descendant is street boutique dialed up for the discerning." The jeans come in different distressed patterns, with multiple buttons and even wide belly bands and very skinny legs. Complementary pieces include organic cotton and bamboo tees for both men and women. The overall impression is rocker-style.

Find More Eco-Fashion Designers From New Zealand You've Never Heard of on Page 2

Related Content on