The Return of Arnsdorf and Rise of Ethical Fashion

In an age where so many Australian fashion brands are closing (David Lawrence and Marcs are in administration while Willow has ceased operations) the return of a much-loved Oz label is reason to celebrate.

The pressure of fast fashion and competing with international brands and super-sites such as ASOS is something that can’t be ignored. There’s also the change in mindset — a bigger emphasis on where clothes are made, who is making them and how much the workers are getting paid. The desire for investment in timeless pieces is also increasing.

Cut to Australian brand Arnsdorf. The Australian label was created by designer Jade Sarita Arnott in 2006 — just two years after graduating from RMIT. From the initial launch, fashion fans reveled in the international feel of the collections. The most memorable showing was the 2010 spring/summer collection at the then Rosemount Australian Fashion Week where the collection was lauded for its clean lines, contemporary yet simple prints and feminine sculptural cuts. The future was looking promising for the fastgrowing brand. Not long after that, Arnott took a break in 2012. She put the label on hold, and ended up studying photography and industrial design in New York. Later she was working for womenswear brand Apiece Apart.


Cut to 2017, and after a (long!) five year hiatus, we welcome back Arnsdorf to the Australian fashion landscape. With a new philosophy that is most definitely refreshing (and needed!) the reborn brand brings a new standard of transparency.

This new chapter for Arnsdorf is a holistic one. The purpose and direction is clear. For each item of clothing for sale on its website, the cost is broken down into labour, design, materials, retailing, operations and logistics. You can see why a pair of trousers is priced at $295.

Cost breakdowns as above can be found for each and every piece available on the Arnsdorf website

The reason? This level of transparency takes consumers one step closer towards understanding the real cost of clothing. The new focus on ethics, quality and local manufacturing is a big change as well. The fabrics used are based on their transparency and sustainability, with the lowest possible environmental and human impact. Think organic cottons and linens, bamboo, hemp, wool and silks. The brand also avoids using non-biodegradable materials.

For manufacturing, and now based back in Melbourne, Arnott has built a factory in Collingwood where design and production of all garments are managed in-house. There are no stockists for the brand, with a sole online store and showroom. There will be a travelling series of trunk shows visiting Australian capital cities, Los Angeles and New York.


Instead of releasing collections every season, Arnott will instead release smaller ranges of up to 15 items every eight to 10 weeks. The first release was inspired by pioneering women — including Eileen Gary (an architect, furniture designer and pioneer of the modernist movement). The collection features the same tailoring and femininity that was present in 2006 — silk jackets, white shirts, tailored trousers and timeless pieces — that will outlast any trend. Items are priced between $99 and $435 — a worthy investment for knowing exactly who the talented folk are behind the garments you wear every day.

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