The brands making sustainability look good
What is eco-friendly fashion? Once the term conjured images of a woman bravely shrugging on a shapeless brown sack, sacrificing style for the environmental crusade. As discussion of the global climate emergency grows more urgent, fashion labels are responding, and this stereotype is being rapidly left behind.
The textile industry is responsible for almost 10% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, a fact which is increasingly important to consumers: in a study published by KPMG in 2019, 82% of Londoners said they were concerned about the environment, with 54% specifically in support of sustainable fashion.
Sustainable fashion means clothing that is created ethically, from design to sourcing to production, and which is made to last. (Head here for more on sustainable packaging; and here for tips on sustainable merch printing.) Here are some inspiring examples of fashion brands focusing on both style and a sustainable agenda.
This eco-friendly footwear brand has sold more than a million trainers in America. Their success is partly down to simplicity: for their first year of operation, they only had a single shoe available: the Wool Runner, comfortable and versatile, with soles made from sugarcane and upper fabrics from sustainable eucalyptus or merino wool.
It’s all in the name with this new online clothes store. With every purchase, 90% of the profits go to charitable causes, with the rest going back to the brand. Better yet, shoppers can choose which charity they want their proceeds to go towards. Based in Camden and launched in 2018, Ninety Percent deals in luxury basics, for those who want clothes for everyday use without skimping on comfort or quality.
A favourite for yogis and athletes, this brand sells workout clothing for men and women alongside yoga mats and other accessories. Their sustainable fabrics are not just ethical and flattering, they are also functional, made for sweating and perfecting your vinyasa flow.
This Parisian brand’s distinctive V-branded sneakers are ubiquitous at the moment, thanks to their simple design and their genuine eco-credentials. Working with small producers in Brazil, Veja soles are made from wild rubber which only grows in the Amazon alongside waterproof mesh which is made from recycled plastic bottles collected from the streets of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. If that’s not enough, Veja also partners with Ateliers Sans Frontières, an organisation which helps the formerly incarcerated find work.
These pioneers of ethical fashion have been in action since 1988, back when the word “sustainability” was consigned to academic textbooks. Using only organic and natural fibres, this brand offers the perfect antidote to fast fashion, offering relaxed everyday looks in seasonal collections from their London home.
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This coat is trash! Using recycled plastic that would otherwise be thrown away to stay on the planet unable to decompose for 1000’s of years. We’ve used a recycled PU membrane making it waterproof and a lining made from used plastic bottles. The PEABODY parka is the vegan and sustainable piece that your wardrobe is missing. . . . . . #parka #trash #recycledpet #recycledplastic #greencoat #parkacoat #ethicalfashion #innovative #innovation #innovativefashion #sustainablefashion #veganfashion
NAK stands for ‘No Animal Killed’, a bold statement from the luxury shoe brand which is intent on tackling the material which has the most harmful environmental impact: leather. Using only vegan leather, NAK follows the painstaking processes of the Italian shoe industry but without any animal cruelty along the way.
What’s the point in wearing sustainable shoes and jackets if the underwear and pyjamas you wear every day and night are made from unsustainable fabrics? Pact provides soft, comfortable cotton basics completely certified by Fair Trade and the Global Organic Textile Standard group, which scrutinises every inch of the supply chain to assure sustainability.
No brand can be said to have harnessed the image of sustainable clothing more successfully than Patagonia. Not only does the outdoor brand constantly revise its supply chain to make its clothes as ethical as possible, it uses sustainable materials and offers shoppers tips to repair their clothing to make them last as long as possible. Patagonia also buy and resell their own styles, because ultimately no new item of clothing is as sustainable as buying one second-hand.
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This is Joe. He purchased this hat sometime around 2011… He can't remember exactly, but wore it every day thereafter for 5 years. Bill worn through by intimate interactions climbing sandstone. Navy blue faded white by salt and the mother star. His original lucky cap. Here’s to all the lucky #wornwear caps out there. Photo: @kernducote
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