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With the massively negative environmental impact the fast fashion industry has inflicted from the process of creating clothes to the waste created when these clothes are thrown away, the need for positive change within the industry’s supply chain is needed now more than ever.
Luckily, one fashion trend that has been steadily rising in the past decade and is sure to stay is that of sustainable fashion.
Sustainable and ethical brands — also known as “slow fashion” — have been on the rise in recent years thanks to the public’s growing knowledge of the major consequences fast fashion has had on the environment, textile workers, and even public health.
While 100% eco-friendly clothing cannot truly be made, as all clothing has at least some negative environmental impact, many sustainable and ethical fashion brands are still working towards doing everything they can to minimise their carbon footprint and highlight sustainable and ethical practices through the use of organic and recycled materials and fair trade, sustainable processes throughout the entire supply chain, and creating safe and fair work environments.
If you’ve been looking to make the switch from fast fashion to sustainable and ethical clothing, we’ve collected just a few of our favourite brands that make sustainable shopping online easier and that create clothing for women, men, and children that promote positive change and show us that slow fashion is the future of clothing.
While there is no one fashion brand or ethical clothing line that can be labelled as being the most sustainable, there are certainly clothing brands in the fashion industry that have more sustainable processes than others. Large high street fashion brands like Shein, Forever 21, H&M, Zara, and others like them are top examples of fast fashion brands that continue to have questionable practices that are detrimental to the environment and garment workers.
The best sustainable and ethical brands to buy from are those that don’t just state that they’re eco-friendly or ethical through advertising and campaigns, but those that have a transparent supply chain wherein we can actually see their sustainability efforts, from missions to reduce waste through exclusively seasonal and durable made-to-order products to providing garment workers and local communities with liveable conditions.
London-based brand Birdsong is an industry leader in the ethical and sustainability movement within the fashion industry, dedicated to providing women with quality alternative apparel made by women who are being paid above the living wage in London.
The sustainable and ethical clothing brand also makes its annual impact report available and regularly updated on its website for all consumers to read through.
UK brand The Level Collective creates organic clothing and backpacks using sustainable materials and recycled fabrics. The Level Collective is also one of many ethical fashion brands based within the country that prioritise a positive relationship for those that work with them.
The brand focuses on collaborating with artists and makers that create durable and well-designed products that are meant to last for years.
Noctu creates ethical luxury womenswear made with GOTS certified organic fabrics. The sustainable fashion brand creates their nightwear and loungewear using Global Organic Textile Standard certified organic cotton which ensures the sustainable fabrics are genuinely eco-friendly thanks to being chemical and pesticide-free.
Srict guidelines ensure fair trade, workers rights and unions, absolutely zero child labour, fair wages, and good working conditions.
Finding sustainable brands that sell swimwear can be tough, and we’re glad sustainable and ethical fashion brands like Hunza G provide quality suits and clothing for women and children. Brought to prominence through one of their dresses being worn by Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, the brand continues to create made-to-order items to this day that are knit and dyed locally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Created by Bert Van Son in 2012, MUD Jeans is a pioneer in circular fashion in its supply chains, with every pair of MUD jeans being recycled into a new pair, leaving no waste, and using 92% less water than average jeans.
MUD Jeans only uses organic cotton and recycled materials for its products, and the ethical brand also solely works with manufacturers that provide fair working conditions for workers.
Alighieri is a luxury jewellery brand inspired by Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. The ethical fashion brand uses eco-friendly materials regularly to create its unique pieces, with each one being handmade by artisans in and around their London studio.
Pop My Way is a GOTS-certified brand that creates versatile pieces for babies using sustainably sourced materials like organic cotton that’s kind to the environment and little ones’ skin. The brand also focuses on social responsibility through providing a living wage for workers, with its in Peru also being GOTS-certified.
Cult brand for fashion and luxury footwear label Stella McCartney has set excellent standards for sustainable fashion brands in the luxury sector. The brand has the sustainable credentials of being a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative, uses eco-friendly recycled and organic materials like organic cotton, recycled polyester, and recycled nylon to produce clothes, and utilises a strategy to reduce waste across its entire supply chain.
MaisonCléo is a brand created by Marie Dewet and her mother. The brand’s sustainable practices arise from their use of deadstock fabric like organic cotton, satin, and silk, with each item being completely handmade and made-to-order.
Sustainable clothing and ethical brand ROZENBROEK was founded by former luxury designer Jade Rozenbroek after she couldn’t ignore the environmental impacts of fashion and the lack of options for conscious consumers. ROZENBROEK utilises solar power in its warehouse for all of its machines, lighting, and heat to create its clothing.
For great quality active and athleisure wear that’s just as great for the environment, TALA provides shoppers with affordable pieces that compete with fast fashion prices while promoting sustainability through its use of upcycled and innovative materials and uses compostable mailing bags for its packaging.
Bower is one of a few sustainable fashion brands that create swimwear and resort wear using luxury natural fabrics. The brand values transparency with consumers and discloses any details about its supply chain to requests for information.
Along with the brand’s commitment to the Earth, Bower has dedicated 1% of all orders to be donated to the Healthy Seas initiative.
Sustainable brands are always coming up with ingenious ways to make sustainable and ethical clothing, and Rapanui is one of them. The award-winning sustainable fashion brand uses innovative tech to create their surf-inspired clothing, using raw materials and renewable energy through their wind-powered factory.
Brothers We Stand is one of a few rising sustainable clothing brands that focus on creating 100% vegan and ethical clothing for men. The brand’s founder and creative director, Jonathan Mitchell, prioritises transparency by having their standards and social and environmental impact available on their website and clothing tabs.
UK brand Mother of Pearl creates sustainable and ethical womenswear and accessories that use a high proportion of eco-friendly materials such as organic cotton and recycled polyester.
Mother of Pearl also provides transparency for consumers via its websites with tabs dedicated to their impact on the environment, animal welfare, social responsibility, and circularity.
Stay Wild is a London-based brand that creates swimwear made out of fishing nets pulled out of the ocean and other scrapped fabrics from the industry. The use of repurposed fishing nets and nylon in their ECONYL® material helps reduce the global warming impact of nylon by up to 90% compared with the material from oil.
BEEN London is an East London-based sustainable brand that upcycles waste like recycled plastic bottles and leather offcuts to create timeless and durable fashion and accessories instead of using virgin materials.
Their products are handcrafted locally in East London by skilled craftsmen whose skills were passed down through generations.
People Tree is an environmentally and socially conscious brand that creates sustainable and ethical clothing that benefits all involved. The sustainable fashion brand uses eco-friendly materials and addresses labour risks by adopting the Fairtrade International – Small Producers Organisations Code of Conduct.
While fast fashion is currently dominating the industry right now, a sustainable future is still possible thanks to a changing outlook from consumers and innovators making changes from the inside out.
By helping change how people view and create fashion, sustainable fashion brands are doing a lot of good for the environment and communities around the world. By supporting sustainable brands and taking care of your clothing, you can lessen your footprint and help support those who are trying to make a difference.
Zara is one of the most popular brands in the globe, with thousands of stores found in various countries. However, Zara practices an unsustainably high turnover rate that contributes to textile waste and ethical violations.
While the brand has taken steps towards good supply chain management through its Closing the Loop program, there is no current evidence to suggest that the brand is making any improvements regarding its labour practices, textile waste management, and animal welfare policy.