Not so fast fashion

Just a decade ago, people would associate sustainable fashion with dowdy prints, modest cuts and unfashionable brands. But as climate consciousness has moved to the forefront of a consumer’s agenda, more and more people want to reduce the amount of waste they produce, and more consumers want to buy clothes that have been sourced responsibly and sustainably. (Extra reading: our guide to the charities and services where you can recycle your clothes here; our guide to eco-fabrics here.)

Some big brands have been early pioneers, while other new upstarts are coming up with new innovative ways to turn waste into new products, reducing the amount that goes to landfill. At ICON we offer a range of materials for those looking to be more sustainable, including organic cotton, recycled cotton and bamboo, and can advise anyone about options for how they print their merch. Here are some of the brands at the forefront of making forward-thinking, sustainable fashion.

R Collective

The R Collective is a high-end upcycled fashion brand making clothes using waste materials from clothing waste NGO Redress. Featuring silk, polyester and modal fabrics, the highly sought after brand curate their clothes through the use of exclusively rescued waste materials. 

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🤩Model and environmentalist @arizona_muse was spotted at last month's Youth Climate Strike wearing a quilted bomber jacket by @thercollective in collaboration with #RedressDesignAward Alumnus @lia_kassif. 👏🏻⠀ #Regram @GetRedressed ⠀ ⠀ 💚Limited pieces of the 'Military' collection is available at⠀⠀ ⠀ #RescueReuseReimagine #CircularFashionRevolution #TheRCollective⠀

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It’s hard to find an urban street in the Western hemisphere where someone isn’t wearing an item from Patagonia. The American brand, named after the mountain region bordering Argentina and Chile, belongs to the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, and has pinned its colours to the mast by voicing its support and activism as part of the Global Climate Strike. Now, Patagonia wearers can mail in their used gear for store credit, or can have their clothing repaired by the store. CEO Rose Marcario is also aiming to make the brand carbon neutral by 2025. 

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This is Kanishka. This pack has been on quite the journey before he brought it in for repair, around the world actually. From visiting his grandparents in India, to the Mediterranean, Istanbul, London, to summers stateside kayaking — this pack carries a long list of memories for Kanishka as well as the essentials.⁠ ⁠ @wornwear is heading back to school – check out the colleges #wornwear is visiting this fall through the link in bio.⁠ ⁠ Photo: @kernducote⁠

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Girlfriend Collective

Girlfriend Collective make leggings, shorts and bras out of old water bottles and fishing nets, and produces its clothing in a factory in Vietnam that pays living wages to its workers. Sourcing the bottles that go into their clothing from Taiwan’s “garbage island,” their inclusion in the clothing is overseen by Taiwainese authorities. As well as leading the fight against fast fashion, the brand prides itself on being size inclusive and catering for all body shapes. 

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LITE bras and Seamless leggings are finally back in stock. Made from recycled fishing nets and other waste, LITE feels like nothing so you can do anything. And doesn't that sound nice?

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To date, Batoko have recycled the equivalent weight of 220,000 plastic bottles into swimwear. Using the tag line “they’re rubbish – literally” the company based in the north west of England said they intend to keep their supply chain and output small and simple, to ensure their items are sustainably sourced all the way. For any fashion brand, there is one upside using this mantra: exclusivity heightens demand. 

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What’s that? 👀 Did you hear?👂A biiiiig restock just hit the site. All sizes are back in stock & available now. 🙌🌈 #batokoswimwear #recycledplastic #trashtotreasure #swimswimswim

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Reformation began its fashion journey in 2016, and it has been making waves since. The brand, designing everything from bridal gowns to underwear, using up to 75 per cent renewable or sustainable fibres in their clothing, as well as offsetting their energy sources and opting for renewable fibre Tencel over cotton in their design. The brand believe that a four-week design process is the key to sustainability – and their outlook has paid off. Reformation boasts a broad spectrum of a-list clientele: Meghan Markle and Emily Ratajkowski have been spotted wearing pieces from the statement brand.

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It’s time for corduroy things. Look like you’re either late to class or teaching the class.

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People Tree

Created in Tokyo, People Tree has been a pioneer in fair trade, sustainable fashion since 1991. Using recycled material to make everything from dresses to jewellery, the brand has been at the forefront of the fight against fast fashion, becoming the first company to be awarded a World Fair Trade Organisation product label.

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Sixties styling by @starr_clare featuring our V&A Cosmic Print Shirt and matching mini skirt. A co-ord that makes a real statement #lovepeopletree #vaminspired #organiccotton

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One of the world’s biggest sports brands is incorporating upcycled materials into its new shoes. Now, 71% of Nike’s products are created from what they’ve dubbed Grind materials, whether it’s trim sourced from an old running trainer or Los Angeles Rams shirts created from old Nike products. It includes the much talked about Nigeria football kit, below.

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This is Nigeria 🦅🇳🇬 @ng_supereagles ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The Nigeria National Team Collection launches today on ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🌍: 9am CET 🇺🇸: 7am PST — #Nike #Football #Soccer #NikeFootball #NikeSoccer #Nigeria #Naija #SoarSuperEagles #SuperEagles

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Everlane’s ethos is to make every part of its production process transparent to its customers. Their approach has won them hundreds of thousands of fans and millions in investment. As their collection evolves, so are the brand’s ethical commitments. Aside from producing 100% recyclable clothing, they have recently announced a ReNew recycled outerwear range. 

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More blazers please. Tomorrow, meet the Oversized Blazer—2.0.

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Want to print on recycled or organic cotton apparel? ICON Printing offer a range of recycled and organic cotton blanks for printing. Our clients include Boiler Room, WeWork, the Tate and Niketown. Get a quote in 2 minutes online.