Published on 01/07/19

Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA®) works to solve non-compliance issues within the Australian textile, clothing and footwear manufacturing industry. As a third-party accreditation body, ECA audits TCF businesses’ supply chains to ensure they are meeting their legal obligations with respect to their workers’ rights, wages, entitlements and conditions. ADA are a longstanding member of the ECA accreditation program and are committed to manufacturing ethically in Australia. ECA spoke to their CEO Chris Dixon to uncover their history.


ADA has an extensive history of garment manufacturing that spans more than a century. ADA has been at the frontline of combat forces for more than 100 years, supplying high-grade bespoke uniforms, body armour and ceremonial dress to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and military personnel around the world. ADA have outfitted Australia’s fighting forces through two world wars and many other conflicts, playing an instrumental role in creating what has become the iconic visual image of the Australian ‘digger’.


Today, ADA is not only a designer and manufacturer of defence apparel, it is also a leading supplier of uniform solutions to industries across the board. From surgical scrubs and firefighting coveralls, to industrial work wear and corporate wear. The ADF remains a major customer of ADA’s to this day.


ADA owns Australia’s largest dedicated uniform manufacturing facility, which is based in Bendigo, Victoria and employs more than 100 people. Its capabilities allow ADA to manufacture a diverse range of garments, including certified firefighting ensembles and technically complex garments for the ADF.


ADA’s state of the art manufacturing facility in Bendigo utilises extensive computerised equipment and practises the world’s best manufacturing operations. ADA’s skilled and flexible workforce manufacture up to 50,000 garments per month to strict national and international standards.


Chris identified several benefits of local manufacturing including having close working relationships with local makers; reduced supplier lead-times; no significant allowances for shipping; flexible and nimble supply parameters. As such, maintaining a local manufacturing base remains a strategic advantage over many of their competitors. He noted that, “ADA’s Operations Team are constantly networking with Government and industry bodies to ensure that they are fully aware of all of the supply options that exist in the markets that ADA operates within.”


As an Australian based organisation that was established in 1913 as a division of the Commonwealth Government and the largest remaining uniform manufacturer in Australia, ADA is acutely aware of the need to support local industry. Chris notes that the ADF procurement requirements demanding the local manufacturing of Standard Combat Uniforms, as a crucial factor in supporting the ongoing viability of ADA’s domestic production.


Ethical Clothing Australia commends ADA on its long-standing commitment to local and ethical production. As the first business to sign the “No Sweat Shop” label agreement – a predecessor to the current Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA®) accreditation – ADA has been a leader in ethical and social compliance.