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Why is Ethical Fashion More Expensive?

This is a question I get asked alot and have heard alot of people say they buy fast fashion as they can’t afford ethical fashion. 

I’ve also heard a lot of businesses who make their clothing overseas claim their clothing is made ethically. But it is important to ask these brands are their garment workers actually being paid living wages? Also how did they calculate a living wage? A living wage should be enough for their workers to afford food, rent, healthcare, education, clothing, transportation and savings.

I strongly believe the garment workers overseas work just as hard as they do here so why shouldn’t they be paid the same? When I initially looked into manufacturing, I wanted to have my items made ethically overseas however when doing more research it didn’t sit right with me that women making clothes ‘ethically’ overseas are only paid a fraction of what they are paid to make them ethically in Australia.

I do know that living in Australia is a lot more expensive but when we look at the work they are doing it’s the same, so for me I do believe they deserve the same rights and pay as we are lucky enough to have in Australia. I’m not saying that anything made overseas can’t be ethical, but I do believe we should ask companies if they are paying their workers living wages and how they calculated this as unfortunately there is a lot of greenwashing out there.


Here’s an average breakdown of what our costs are to make our items ethically in Australia (with a manufacturer accredited with Ethical Clothing Australia):

Fabric -

100% Linen with Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Certification and digitally printed
$22 metre (AUD)

100% Linen with no print and with Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification
$14 metre (AUD)

Elastic - Biodegradeable, Eco-friendly elastic
Approx $179 (AUD) for 100 metres
Approx $3 per an item

Packaging - Hero-packaging, No-Issue paper, Swing-tags, Hemp tape, Thank you card and Tote Bag

No Issue- $1.20 per item
Hero-Packaging - $0.70 per item
Bags- $10 per item
Swing Tags- $0.20 per item
Thank you cards- $0.25 per item

Pattern-making -
With an Ethical Clothing Australia accredited Pattern-maker
$70 an hour (AUD)

Samples costs -
$120 per a sample (AUD)

The Production cost -
With an Ethical Clothing Australia accredited Manufacturer
Approx $25- $50 per item (AUD)

Transaction Fees (can vary from 1.75%-6%)

On average our items cost anywhere from $100 - $170 to make and on top of this we also have marketing costs.  We then add on our retail mark-up which is 2 times the total cost (on average the standard mark-up in retail can range from 3 times to 10 times the total cost and sometimes even more). 

We want to be as transparent as possible with you about these costs so you understand why our items are the prices they are.  

If you have any questions or would like to know more please feel free to email me at hello@lunaandsun.com

Teshani xx

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