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As more and more people become aware of the massively negative environmental impact of the fast fashion industry, a sweeping desire for change within fashion as a whole is bringing sustainability and ethical fashion into the limelight.
This sustainable and ethical fashion revolution has been pushing designers and large labels to effect change, and we’ve been happy to see companies and designers all over the world support the movement and tackle environmental issues the fashion industry has contributed to through their own brands.
Whether it’s through transitioning to fair trade, creating programs that recycle and reduce their carbon footprint and waste production, or simply encouraging customers to give old garments new life, here are some of our favourite sustainable fashion campaigns by big brands that pay it forward.
The current fast fashion business model has changed the way consumers view the value of their clothing. Rather than seeing clothes as quality investments that we should wear until they’ve worn out, various brands and companies create the illusion that clothes can be discarded at the end of every trend cycle. This mentality and change in values have created millions of tonnes of clothing waste that has wreaked havoc on the planet.
According to Nick Spensley of Togetherband and Bottletop, sustainable marketing is the “marketing of sustainable products in a sustainable way,” he states. “We’re not printing hundreds of flyers and throwing them around the streets; we’re educating consumers so they can make more informed decisions about which products to buy when they need them.”
Fashion Revolution is a non-profit organisation and movement that was founded after the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013 that works to mobilise citizens and policymakers alike to instigate positive and sustainable change within the industry, aiming to restore the focus to environmental and community values over profit and fleeting trends.
The #whomademyclothes hashtag begun by Fashion Revolution shines a light on the real garment workers that create our clothes all over the world. The hashtag has opened up a conversation online among an increasing number of everyday people who are not wholly aware of where their clothing comes from.
Not only does the year-round movement by Fashion Revolution let us be more aware of what we purchase, but it also pressures large companies to acknowledge and own up to the conditions in which their products are made.
British brand Jigsaw is one large fashion company that’s switching its tune to sustainability. The brand launched its “For Life, Not Landfill” campaign in 2015, which featured stories of longtime Jigsaw fans wearing their favourite pieces from the brand that they bought decades prior alongside clothes from the brand’s latest collection.
Given how unwanted clothes that end up as waste in landfills are often the result of modern microtrends, this sustainability campaign from one of many influential brands is key in supporting clothing circularity and timelessness in the clothing we have in our wardrobe.
Punk designer Vivienne Westwood has always been vocal about ethical and sustainable fashion, and her “Handmade with Love” collection was an excellent example of how big-name brands can lift up marginalised communities through ethical practices. The unisex bags in the collection were handmade by local artisans in Nairobi.
It’s a hugely important thing to see big and well-established brands push sustainable fashion and an eco-friendly mindset towards clothing to everyday customers. Outdoor clothing brand Patagonia has done a lot in terms of creating sustainable clothing with sustainable materials and creating campaign after campaign that encourage sustainable practices and caring for the environment.
The Global Organic Textile Standard certified brand launched their latest campaign, “Buy Less, Demand More”, which gives customers the ability to shop for used pieces and accessories alongside new collections, something we haven’t seen from a retail giant before.
Urging buyers to save their money and shop secondhand is another example of Patagonia’s commitment to sustainability in the fashion industry.
Stella McCartney is a leader in sustainability, having championed the sustainable clothing and ethical fashion revolution for years and proving time and time again that luxury doesn’t have to be wasteful.
The designer’s company often uses eco-friendly and recycled materials for various collections, and for Autumn/Winter 2019, McCartney partnered with members of the environmental movement and fashion revolution, Extinction Rebellion, to promote sustainability and to shop consciously.
Spanish fashion label Adolfo Dominguez has been known for its “affordable luxury” collection of clothing, but they are also one of many designer brands that are pushing sustainable ideas through design and community.
At the beginning of last year, the sustainable fashion brand rolled out its Ropa Vieja campaign. Meaning “old clothes” in Spanish, the campaign shows dresses, t-shirts, shoes, accessories, and the like bought from the brand decades ago that are still being worn by its owners today, proving that timeless fashion is more than just a concept but a better direction for fashion.
In 2018, London Fashion Week was officially declared fur-free, a celebratory moment for every sustainable fashion shopper and anti-fur campaign. That year opened up conversations about sustainable fashion in LFW, which also serves as a platform that doesn’t just influence style, but how clothes are being made as well.
“Behind the Brands: Deconstructing Slow Fashion” premiered at the event, showing fashion lovers a behind the scenes glimpse at how designer brands painstakingly create the things that find their way into your wardrobe.
The sustainable fashion movement is one that we need now more than ever, and we’re happy to see larger brands and designers embrace the lifestyle, encouraging people to purchase timeless and durable items rather than buy into the throw-away culture of fast fashion.
Not only does the movement teach us to savour our clothing, but it also shows us the monumental impact fashion has when it comes to helping save the state of the environment.