Local fashion businesses leading the way in sustainable practices

From upcycling materials to using eco-friendly fabrics, South Africa’s fashion industry is leading the way in sustainable practices, especially in the Mother City.

Some businesses are not only reducing their own environmental impact but are also committed to ethical production practices and supporting local communities.

Here are some local fashion businesses prioritising sustainability:

1. Sitting Pretty

Sitting Pretty is a fashion brand that blends different styles and genres to create original designs. Its collections mix boho chic and urban sophistication, creating a cosmopolitan feel that is characterised by light, loose cuts and nonchalance.

The brand is committed to using natural fabrics and avoiding synthetic materials such as polyester. It sources high-quality materials that are biodegradable and promote ethical trading.

Sitting Pretty works with leather, rayon or viscose, cotton, linen, hemp, wool, and bamboo, and their clothes are easy to care for. The label believes that the future of fashion is one where synthetic fabrics are a thing of the past, fair wages are the norm and fashion pollution is a real problem.

The brand was founded in April 2009 by Emma Longden, and her design ethos is inspired by the desire to create beautiful, timeless pieces while being mindful of the environment and people involved in the process.

Shop Sitting Pretty online at sittingpretty.co.za

Picture: Sitting Pretty / Facebook

2. Ballo

Ballo is a unique and authentic brand that prioritises sustainability and the preservation of the environment over profit. It makes handmade sunglasses and goods from sustainable materials.

As a B Corporation member, Ballo is committed to using its business as a force for good. The brand plants a tree for every sale and have pledged 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment.

Ballo’s products are made using recycled and upcycled materials, and it employs and empowers people in an area with high levels of unemployment.

The brand supports various causes, including gender equality and education, and its hope is that every customer feels good about their purchase and the impact they are making on the planet.

Shop Ballo glasses online at ballo.co.za

Picture: ballo / Facebook

Also read: First fashion masterclass for emerging designers in Cape Town

3. The Joinery

The Joinery is a sustainable and ethical product design brand that believes in being kind to the planet and fair to its people, one plastic bottle at a time.

The company creates luxury products made from recycled plastic bottles to find solutions to environmental and community issues through design.

The plastic bottles used in the products are collected from around South Africa, with half a million bottles saved from landfills and oceans to date. The Joinery partners with local sewing co-operatives, up-skilled artisans and sustainable production houses to create job opportunities and economic independence for the community.

The brand’s sustainable practices extend from its recycled fabrics and vegetable-tanned leather to its recyclable packaging and carbon offset programmes. The company is committed to empowering people and the planet and invites others to join them in creating change.

Shop The Joinery products online at thejoinery.co.za

Picture: The Joinery / Facebook


SELFI is a Cape Town-based clothing brand that caters to the modern woman, founded by Celeste Lee Arendse after her graduation from the Cape University of Technology.

SELFI prides itself on creating bespoke, ethical apparel and accessories using sustainable materials. The brand’s name derives from the word ‘self,’ which is intended to promote the ideas of self-empowerment, self-care and well-being.

Each collection incorporates elements of South African culture and identity while advocating for sustainability and wellness.

SELFI’s focus on sustainability and ethical production sets it apart from many other fashion brands, making it a perfect choice for conscious consumers who want to support ethical practices while still looking stylish.

Shop SELFI clothes online at selfi.co.za

Picture: S E L F I / Facebook


ERRE is a women’s clothing brand founded in 2013 by Carina Louw and Natasha Jaume. The brand is recognised for its well-made, trans-seasonal pieces that cater to the needs of the modern lifestyle.

ERRE’s signature lies in powerful silhouettes and classic, figure-flattering styles, which is why it has a clientele of highly empowered women such as Terry Pheto and Princess Charlene of Monaco.

The brand also prides itself on being an ambassador for locally sourced Mohair, an essential element of their seasonal offerings, which creates more local jobs and supports the fashion industry and the economy.

The label has a diverse team of dedicated women who design and manufacture all garments locally, supplying boutiques and online stores across Southern Africa.

Shop ERRE clothes online at erre-fashion.com

Picture: ERRE / Facebook

Also read:

City and UCT launch an app that encourages sustainable lifestyle changes

Picture: Sitting Pretty / Facebook

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