Sustainable Fashion Brands in South Africa | 9Lives
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I have a keen interest in fashion and I love visually expressing myself through the clothes I wear. However, the awkward moment of walking past people wearing the same item of clothing as me does tend to crimp my style. (My style should be unique, right?!) To avoid this, I generally trawl vintage stores in search of quality pieces, which I then mix and match with basic items sourced from local clothing stores. I’m just tired of buying clothes that wash out of shape too easily, and buying second-hand clothing can be somewhat risky. I am now at a point where I would like one-of-a-kind clothing, something made for me, something classically timeless. 

All I can say is thank the gods for “sustainable fashion”; a “slow fashion” concept created in an environmentally and ethically-friendly manner. There’s something so magical about wearing hand-stitched clothing. It’s almost as if you can count the very threads that went into its creation!  Here are a bunch of inspiring sustainable fashion brands right here in South Africa, whose garments conjure a story sewed from the very fabric in which they were imagined.


Captivating the fashion industry with its elegant approach to ethnic and eco-inspired clothing, Fundudzi is a sustainable fashion brand that looks to weave the organic threads of a rich African aesthetic from its very roots, in a forward-focused modern setting. To create “clothing with a conscience”, Fundudzi sources local organic fabrics such as cashmere, bamboo, soy and corn, as well as organic cotton from Lesotho. All Fundudzi pieces are also made in Africa, employing communities in South Africa, Mozambique and Kenya. Wearing Fundudzi is like a pure expression.  It is as if I am embodying the very essence of nature and the very souls of those integral to the creative process. 

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Digital Nature

Drawing inspiration from 3-D printing technologies, Digital Nature is a sustainable fashion brand that juxtaposes sheer innovation with effective design. By assimilating 3-D printed components with fabric pieces, these garments are shaped to evoke a sense of symmetry. I admire how the creative concept of Digital Nature is forward thinking and dares to be different.

For more, click here.

Spirit Girl

Born from the bubbling spirits of two Capetonian “spirit sisters”, Spirit Girl is a sustainable active-wear brand that epitomises their “passion for design, nurture for nature and love of active lifestyle”. Offering custom-designed yoga pants made from recycled PET (post-consumer plastic bottles), they showcase their small efforts to help our precious environment. This recycled plastic (with a similar performance to virgin polyester fabrics) are woven with spandex to create a COOLMAX® performance fabric, creating ‘feel good’ activewear that is comfy, breathable, moisture wicking and quick drying.

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The Joinery

For those looking for sustainable clothing with a timeless design element, The Joinery is a sustainable fashion brand that offers a bespoke service from conception to design. Here I will truly find clothing made for me. This clothing concept essentially emulates their effort to join a rich craft tradition with a sustainable solution. I was truly happy to hear they spin their clothing designs from organic cotton, hemp, recycled plastic bottles and other quality responsible fabrics, and employ local artisans and Cape Town-based sewing corporations in the construction thereof.

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Naked Ape

Where comfort meets tailored elegance, Naked Ape is a sustainable fashion brand that epitomises an “evolutionary approach to fine attire”. This clothing concept, stitched together from ecological and economic fabrics (cotton, wool, linen, hemp, bamboo, silk and leather) presents accessible attire and accessories for those “seeking a unique style with an air of opulence”.

For more, visit

Sitting Pretty

An expression of effortless chic, the Sitting Pretty aesthetic integrates ethnic design, masculine lines and sportswear with a sensual feminine touch.  I must say I was charmed by this eclectic fusion of urban chic that beckons a sense of the bohemian. Sitting Pretty embraces sustainability with open arms; using only natural and environmentally-friendly fibres, their clothing is locally and ethically crafted.

For more, visit

Real + Simple Denim

For the love of all things comfy and timeless, I feel that Real + Simple Denim is my perfect fit. Denim jeans are an essential part of my wardrobe. I feel that wearing denim is like having a best friend I can’t live without! Real + Simple Denim has a great story behind their brand.  They create a sustainable imprint by employing local communities to carefully stitch their denim attire.  By wearing Real + Simple denim I can truly live the threads that went into its construction. 

For more, visit


If you know of other cool sustainable fashion brands South Africa has to offer, feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to hear your feedback!



  1. Love this article! More coverage and exposure for these brands is so necessary, especially with the terrible impacts which Fast Fashion have on our environment. Hannah Lavery is also an amazing local, sustainable and ethical brand.

    • Liezel Malherbe Reply

      Oh yes I adore Hannah Lavery! I discovered her after I wrote this. I think I’ll have to compile an updated list asap! Which are your favourites?

  2. Pingback: Thrifting and thriving: 'Shopping' your friends' closets | 9Lives

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