Ethical Living: Back to Basics

From socks to T-shirts, sustainable fashion basics can be hard to find - but these designers are making it a little easier

Ophelia Mikkelson socks. Picture / @opheliaafm

SOCKS: Ophelia Mikkelson
Produced in New Zealand on a vintage Japanese sock knitting machine, Mikkelson’s selection of socks are offered in an organic linen cotton yarn or wool, merino and alpaca blend and available in a range of muted colours.
• $55 each, from Everyday Needs.

KNITS: Harry Were
Snug, warm and made-to-last, each one-off sweater by Harry Were is hand knitted in NZ using merino hand-spun by Callie in the Marlborough sounds.
• Prices vary, see

CAMISOLES & SLIPS: Organic by John Patrick
John Patrick’s dreamy selection of camisoles and slips are made even more desirable by the fact he uses organic materials, fair labour practices and has ecological awareness, with a transparent supply chain to boot. Think floaty off-white, charcoal, midnight and plum creations with adjustable straps and raw-edged hems made in New York.
• Starting from $145, from Fabric.

UNDERWEAR: Thunderpants
Ethically made underwear can be tricky to track down – but Thunderpants is ticking all our boxes with fabric knitted in Levin, printed in Auckland and Martinborough then sewn in Carterton using 100 per cent organic cotton. The small, family-owned company based in the Wairarapa creates all sorts of ethically made underwear as well as a selection of swimwear, activewear and children’s clothing.

SHOES: Minnie Cooper
Made in New Zealand using a variety of leather sourced largely from Tasman Tanning in Wanganui, Minnie Cooper’s classic selection of sandals, boots, shoes and bags will last for years.
• Prices vary,

T-SHIRTS: Kowtow
This 100 per cent Fair Trade certified organic, ethical and sustainable brand creates a stylish range of skirts, dresses, coats and cardigans void of the hippie aesthetic that usually defines such ethically minded efforts. “We don’t believe anyone who is truly aware of what is going on in the world would want to turn their heads and support a slave trade economy,” Gosia explained to us earlier this year.
• See

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