Stella McCartney writes on her website that ‘eco’ shouldn’t be a word “that immediately conjures up images of oatmeal-coloured fashion or garments that are oversized or lacking in any sort of luxury or beauty, detailing or desirability”. Of course, any stereotype can be hard to banish but to help change your mind, here are some of our favourite sustainable fashion brands that produce high-quality, eco-friendly collections. Enjoy shopping with a clear conscience.
House of Sunny only produces small sustainable runs of collection in a bid to act against fast fashion. By producing just two seasonal collections a year, this allows the design team to spend more time researching and sourcing sustainable fabrics and manufacturing methods. The label frequently visits their production partners overseas to ensure that the process is always ethical. House of Sunny doesn’t use fur, leather, skins or silk – and only uses wool from producers with good animal husbandry. As well as selecting only the most sustainable materials, the ones that are leftover are used again to create accessorises, care labels and swing tags to reduce wastage.
Launching only last year, Cinta The Label is already a favourite among influencers. Behind each design there is a story to tell about the founder and the brand’s journey. The label is well known for it’s Taurus print, which is based on the founder’s star sign and inspired by her favourite musicians, Florence Welch and Stevie Nicks. Cinta The Label uses surplus mateirals to dye and print the fabric, and always tries to be as eco friendly as possible through all processes.
Zena Presley takes inspiration from art in her designs, which result in effortless silhouettes and a colourful approach. The Syrian-born designer keeps versatility key, so her pieces can be styled differently and worn repeatedly – and all the pieces are made to order. Nothing is mass produced to eliminate any waste, she treats her employees fairly and avoids major store chains by only selling online. Her pieces celebrate the feminine figure through her capsule collections and will never go out of style, so her customers can avoid fast-fashion each season.
Misha Nonoo started her eponymous line to stop the stress of dressing, so the modern women can spend more time pursuing her passions. Her best-selling ‘Easy 8’ collection shows just that, with eight pieces that come together to create 22 different looks. Recently, two cashmere designs expanded her collection, with can be personalised for the perfect gift. Sustainability is at the core everything. Her clothes have a long and valuable life, as she uses innovative production and distribution to avoid unnecessary waste and only works with one seasoned factory for ethical practices.
BITE (an acronym for By Independent Thinkers for Environmental Progress) was born in Stockholm by four co-founders with a combined passion for sustainability. The minimalist, collection, made using certified organic fabrics, comprises 20 fixed styles which are updated seasonally, promoting the idea of timeless clothes that are made to last. The results are elegant, well-cut pieces in shades of navy, oatmeal and grey with pops of orange thrown in for good measure.
Ex denim director at cult label Reformation Jordan Nodarse has launched his own denim sustainable brand, and – unsurprisingly given his credentials – you’ll want everything. Boyish uses sustainable fabrics and ethical practices to create its vintage-inspired styles that come in classic colourways – he’s even mastered the perfect white wide-leg. These are jeans you’ll turn to time and time again.
Bethany Williams is the deserving winner of the 2019 Queen Elizabeth II Prize for Design, working with foodbanks, women’s rehab centres and refuges to create original streetwear that has a strong social conscience and top level sustainability credentials. She is reinventing the typical production process by turning it into a virtuous cycle and the fashion world has taken note with cult stockists including The Library and 50m in London, Odd 92 in New York, Galeries Lafeyette in Paris, Nid in Tokyo and Rare Market in Seoul.
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From parkas made using recycled PET bottles and consumer plastics and jackets created from discarded fishing nets to eco-friendly trainers constructed with locally sourced canvas, heritage Scandi brand Tretorn is serious about making sustainable, functional pieces with longevity. The company’s eco essentials initiative aims to create environmentally-friendly contemporary rainwear designed to last.
Sustainable footwear brand Allbirds has sold over a million trainers in the US, and, thankfully, it’s finally available in the UK with a store in Covent Garden. Time described the label’s offering as “the world’s most comfortable shoe”, and while we’re inclined to agree, the brand also puts understated style at the forefront – if you want fuss-free, versatile trainers that you can style with just about everything, Allbirds is your new go-to. The brand is serious about its sustainable ethos – its soles are made from sugarcane and its upper fabrics from either eucalyptus trees or naturally-made merino wool.
Having worked at Paul Smith, Sophie Hulme and Preen, London-based designer Alice Early knows what women really want to wear. Her work is characterised by minimalist utilitarianism – these are clothes that will work hard for you season after season. Sustainable design is a key focus – all her cotton is Global Organic Textile Standard Certified, which means it is grown without the use of synthetic fertilisers or toxic pesticides and means that it also meets the social criteria based on the International Labor Organisation, so working conditions are above par. All buttons are made using Corozo, which is derived from the nut of the Tagua Palm found in the Ecuadorian rainforest – a sustainable alternative to polyester.
Kit Willow’s brand Kitx, that works with artisans in India, is built on a belief of ethical, sustainable fashion. One of Emma Watson’s edgiest red-carpet looks of recent times came courtesy of Kitx. The brand holds the simple mantra of wanting to make women feel good, without harming our planet.
Reformation creates effortless feminine silhouettes from sustainable fabrics, such as rescued old stock materials and repurposed vintage clothing. It’s not just the environment that the brand really cares about, it also provides health benefits, so you know it’s money well spent when purchasing one of its garments. The company recently branched out to include plus-size clothing.
Emma Watson is also a big fan of Gabriela Hearst, a brand based on a passion for quality. The designer creates a conscious capsule wardrobe with luxury price tags, but the brand’s attention to detail is what truly makes each piece worth investing in.
The vivid prints and sharp tailoring of Amur’s designs prove that fashion can be both organic and stylish. What makes the label different is that its website allows shoppers to tailor buys according to preferred materials. We’ve fallen for the vibrant green pieces from the spring/summer 2018 collection.
Ninety Percent – which offers relaxed daywear in dreamy fabrics – works upon a unique premise. It shares 90 per cent of its distributed profits between charitable causes and those who make their collections happen. Shoppers are also given the choice of which charity they would most like the proceeds to go towards.
Few would argue against the allure of diamonds, but sourcing these precious stones are blighted with ethical issues – from environmental devastation to the exploitation of workers. Lark & Berry offers sustainably-sourced, cultured diamonds, which are grown using lab technology. They’re of the same quality as mined diamonds (if not better), but with the added bonus of sustainable credentials.
This vegan leather shoe brand was founded on a simple thought; that there is no need to kill animals to wear beautiful shoes. Since starting in 2014, the luxury label has always followed traditional processes that the Italian shoe industry is famous for, resulting in a classic but cruelty-free product.
Bottletop is a sustainable brand that has luxury fashion at its core. It was launched in 2002 by Cameron Saul, along with his father, Mulberry founder Roger Saul. Its store, situated in a prime location on Regent Street alongside fashion greats like Burberry and Tommy Hilfiger, proves that sustainable accessories are well and truly desirable.
Tome has been going for five years and continually delivers striking ready-to-wear. Not only do its designs keep evolving, the label is always working to improve the company, from reducing waste to looking after its female-focused workforce. Its pieces are a hit with celebrities too, having been worn by everyone from Kate Bosworth and Amber Heard to Solange Knowles.
People Tree was among the first sustainable fashion brands, realising that creating ethical, eco-friendly clothes was important long before being woke became fashionable. Nearly three decades on, the company is still the only brand credited by the World Fair Trade Organisation. Shop there for versatile, colourful dresses that you’ll wear for seasons to come.
London-based brand Good News focuses on baseball-style trainers, made using sustainable materials including recycled rubber soles, organic cotton uppers and straw, as well as recycled eco-lite footbed. It also adopts a circular production process, as opposed to traditional linear versions, with the aim of eradicating waste. The brand offers high-tops and classic sneaker styles in timeless shades of white, navy and black, in addition to summer-ready colours of yellow and baby pink.
Simon Miller is a big name in the world of sustainability and its bags are frequently spotted on the arm of the most fashionable influencers. The brand reduces impact and conserves water by using organic mills and ozone technology in its production, and we’re big fans of its colourful bucket styles.
Edun is further proof that sustainable fashion doesn’t mean boring. The brand believes that eco initiatives are key for today’s consumer and that we all need to be mindful of our global environment. It’s no wonder that Edun is one of the most popular fashion-forward brands, creating trend-led pieces with the environment in mind.
Veja was established in 2004, and counts impeccable attention to detail as a signature and is known for using sustainable replacements. Veja also partners with Atelier Sans Frontières, an organisation that helps people who have been incarcerated or are otherwise struggling to find work, to employ workers to prepare orders.
Swedish-born Elina Faurschou swapped her hectic life as a corporate lawyer to become a jewellery designer specialising in minimalist Scandi-inspired styles made with environmentally-friendly materials. Each of the sustainably sourced pieces are made using recycled silver or fair trade gold – including its Feminist collection which also raises money for girls from disadvantaged backgrounds. What more of an incentive could you need to buy?
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