It’s 2020, which means if you’re not shopping sustainably at this point─or aware of its benefits─something is probably wrong.
Whether you are passionate about recycling, opt for paper-bagged groceries, purchase fair-trade products, or source food locally, chances are you’ve engaged in sustainable practices in some way shape or form. And while all of these practices are as commendable as they are beneficial for the environment, there’s one department in which we could all become more sustainable: fashion.
As with many nuances of the 21st century─like eating organically and toting around metal straws─sustainable fashion has recently begun its ascent to fame. More and more shoppers are becoming interested in the supply chain, production process, manufacturing ethics and environmental impacts of production associated with the clothing they buy. If increasing environmental sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint are no-brainers, shopping sustainable fashion brands should be, too.
Unfortunately, though, sustainable fashion has a match that’s tough to beat: fast fashion. Fast fashion, or the mass production of cheap, trendy pieces, offers the clothing we want at the prices we like. There’s just one problem: its environmental impact. While carbon emissions and greenhouse gases pollute the air, clothing dyes contaminate bodies of water and endanger the wildlife residing in them. Though we aren’t necessarily fond of the idea of spending more on sustainably sourced and manufactured products, making the switch from fast fashion brands to sustainable brands is an effort worth making. Plus, you’d be surprised at how undeniably chic sustainable pieces can be.
Besides, what’s a few extra dollars spent on a blouse for a healthy planet? If you’re looking to make the switch to shopping sustainably (why wouldn’t you be??), here are a few of our favorite sustainable brands that offer quality, environmentally-friendly pieces without compromising style and effortless sophistication. Join us in making fast fashion a thing of the past!
First up, we have Theory, AKA the brand your closet absolutely needs to invest in. Since the launch of its sustainable initiative, Theory For Good, in 2017, the NYC-based luxury fashion house has focused its attention on increasing customer awareness on where, how and with what materials their products are made. Theory prides itself on the use of just three sustainably sourced fabrics in its pieces: wool, linen and, most recently, cotton. While its wool and cotton are both fully traceable, all three fabrics are ethically and sustainably sourced. With the high quality fabric and sustainable practices exercised, you can be sure that any piece from this brand will keep you and the environment looking polished for years to come.
Offering contemporary styles and timeless classics, this minimalist brand is the perfect destination to shop closet staples and chic neutrals. Whether you’re on the hunt for a new corporate wardrobe chock-full of pant suits and sophisticated necklines or a new Sunday best uniform comprising a midi linen tank dress and cashmere cardigan, Theory will be your new best friend.
Think: effortlessly feminine pieces for the environmentally-conscious elegante. This brand, self-marketed as a sustainable women’s clothing brand, offers the most serendipitous combination of flirtatious ruffles, puffed sleeves, ’50s inspired florals, double-elastic waists, eco-friendly silks, sweetheart necklines, flirtatious silts, and the perfect amount of show-a-little-middle two piece sets. Dreamy, right? Aside from pampering the elegantly stylish woman, the 100% carbon neutral brand places sustainability at the forefront of its practices. In addition to investing its resources in sustainable infrastructure that minimizes waste and energy footprints, Reformation has publicly displayed its sustainability reports, ensuring full transparency and accountability to its customers. The label has also engaged in valuable programs that replace any resources used in the manufacturing of its products, which has substantially minimized the brand’s environmental footprint.
Not only is Reformation considerably sustainable, but also commendably ethical in an industry unconcerned with ethical trade. Employees comprise women and individuals belonging to typically underrepresented populations, all of which are offered health benefits and public transportation passes for their work commutes. The extent of this company’s sustainable and ethical practices is far too large to encapsulate, so you’ll just have to read up on it for yourself here! Trust us, Reformation should be on the top of your shopping to-do list.
Are you ready to geek out over green jeans? Boyish Jeans is already doing just that. The brand, which flaunts a variety of modern, yet vintage-inspired denim collections, will attract any woman with a tomboy-chic style. Between its ethical factory work, non-toxic and plant-based dyes, cruelty-free and vegan-friendly denim, ethical washing, and recycled cotton (a material that requires no water for jean manufacturing), this brand screams sustainable. At its very core, Boyish Jeans strives to leave as little of an environmental impact as possible while still providing garb that is simply impossible to live (and clothe) without.
Per their website, typically jean manufacturing employs nearly 1,800 gallons of water per pair. For Boyish Jeans, numbers like that were simply unacceptable, especially for a wardrobe staple every closet owns. What’s even better than its sustainable practices is its use of thick Tencel-blended fabric, which ensures that your denim is durable, not disposable. Oh, and did we mention how ridiculously flattering its collections are? Between the utility jumpsuits, unfinished hems, plethora of fits, and undeniable versatility of each piece (skirts and jackets alike), you can guarantee that money spent here is money well spent. Brands like this one make you question why you ever wasted your attention and money to unsustainable brands in the first place.
Though seeming to climb to fame in recent years, Veja dates back to 2005, when founders François-Ghislain Morillion and Sébastien Kopp had the radical idea of redesigning the sneaker in a way that left a positive impact on the environment without compromising practicality, overall style and physical appeal. The idea was phrased as follows: “Standing up with one foot in design and the other in social responsibility.” Veja, Brazilian for “look,” was named for the brand’s dedication to looking not only at the sneakers themselves, but also at how they’re made. The brand can largely be credited as a catalyst for such progressive change, as sustainably sourced food, environmentally conscious auto-motives, and ethical production methods seemed to follow suit just shortly after.
The higher price tags flaunted on each pair of kicks is a product of the fair trade and organic, raw materials used, as well as Veja’s investment in ethical labor practices and Brazilian factories. For reference, manufacturing the same shoe in a Chinese factory would cost more than 3x less than in a Brazilian one.
This French sneaker-touting brand offers 25 different models, and hundreds of styles, crafted with organically-certified cotton and vegetable-tanned, chrome-free leather, and we seriously can’t get enough. If you’re not sold on the brand’s impressive environmentally-conscious initiatives, we’re confident that a peek at their website will have you checking out faster than you can guess how to pronounce “Veja.” Click here to learn more about Project Veja, which comprises the founders’ vision and the overall positive impact the brand has had on the environment.
House of Sunny
If you’re impressed with the brands previously listed, hold on tight. House of Sunny is about to blow your mind. Founded in 2011, this solely e-commerce brand foregoes traditional manufacturing methods, and has proved how innovative sustainability can be. The brand uses e-flow technology to produce its denim products, which minimizes water use by 90% (800 liters of water instead of 8,000 liters of water per 100 garments) in comparison to other brands.
Whereas its zero-waste-aimed production is simple and uncomplicated, the style coined by this brand is anything but ordinary. Bold tones, adventurous textures, geometric-inspired prints, and the most futuristic assortment of colors in each piece make this brand one that challenges both traditional fashion manufacturing as well as trending streetwear. Though we wish the fashion house released its undeniably sensational RTW collections more than just twice a year, we can get behind their slower process of hand-selecting each fabric, carefully considering each manufacturing practice, and crafting timelessly quality garb. Fast fashion, who? Slow fashion is totally where it’s at.
The London-based womenswear brand also prides itself on its ability to offer quality while refusing to sacrifice affordability. Why flaunt an ordinary tote when you could adorn your shoulder with a completely affordable, 100% biodegradable, vegan-leather, plastic-free crafted one? Good luck finding a reasonable answer to that. In the meantime, check out their site and feel free to tune into your subconscious ’70s intergalactic cowgirl self while you shop. Zero waste and zero BS—just what we like to see.
Offering swimwear and activewear at its best, Skatie takes a whole new approach to sustainability. The brand, which was founded on the idea that “sustainability encompasses more than just an environmental responsibility,” believes that sustainability is meaningless if practices forego ethical responsibility. Aside from ensuring that all fabrics are, when possible, completely recyclable, locally-sourced, and pollution-diminishing, Skatie prioritizes fabric printing in which minimal water is used and chemical run-off is limited. While sustainability is a main tenet comprising the label’s overall mission, ethical practices don’t fall far behind.
The Los Angeles-based label was founded on the desire to not only upset traditional clothing manufacturing processes, but to also lay a foundation for ethical business. The company is devoted to providing fair employee compensation and additional benefits. Instead of consulting international factories, all of Skatie’s products are sourced, cut, sewn and packaged for delivery in their home base. In doing so, the brand is effectively reducing carbon emissions, which are unavoidable with worldwide shipping.
So, the next time you’re on the hunt for an irresistibly stylish bikini, just remember: “Responsible is beautiful.”
It’s no secret that sustainable fashion brands tend to advertise high price tags for, what seems to be, simple garb. If the price tags strung on sustainable pieces is slightly unappealing, we recommend purchasing them anyway. Investing in sustainable products will not only relieve fashion’s environmental impact, but also increase the lifetime of your clothing and, at some point in the near future, make shopping sustainably more affordable. How, you might ask?? The more consumers are investing in sustainable brands, the less pricey brands need to market their products. Ever heard of a “win-win?” So, what are you waiting for? Have yourself a (sustainable) shopping field day.