Apr 19, 2017 | By Jennifer Kettle
April puts the focus firmly on consumer eco-footprint and sustainability, with Earth Day (April 22) and Fashion Revolution Week (24th-30th April 2017) in our midst. We are reminded of the ways our lifestyle choices can impact the world around us, and although it’s unpleasant to think about, our obsession with fashion (and in particular fast fashion) plays a significant role in polluting the environment as well as supporting unsafe living and working conditions for people around the world. We don’t often realise the affect our shopping habits have on the earth and the global community, and when we become aware it can then be a struggle to figure out the best places to shop in order to minimise our carbon footprints and negative impact. To aide you in your store search, here’s a roundup of five transparent and eco-friendly brands to watch.
Created by designer and art director Bruno Pieters, Honest By is the world’s first 100% transparent company. Every aspect (and we mean EVERY aspect) of each garment’s creation is written up on the website for everyone to see. From the origin of the raw material to the number of employees at the factory the trimming came from, nothing is hidden from the consumer. In addition to transparency, Honest By does extensive research to ensure the materials used are environmentally friendly and safe for the wearer’s skin. The only animal by-products they use are silk and wool that’s certified organic, recycled or sourced from British farms. They also carry an extensive collection of vegan friendly products, keeping human, animal and environmental welfare in mind.
Based in Los Angeles, Reformation has been rising through the ranks of the fashion industry with its cool and clean feminine style. While its trendiness has sparked the interest of many, Reformation has devoted its focus to sustainable practices in all aspects of their business, even in the details. Not only are the production methods more environmentally-friendly than industry standards, but even things like the types of hangers they use and the furniture in their stores and office aim to be more sustainable. Socially, Reformation seeks out local U.S. suppliers first. Over half of their staff is paid above the LA living wage threshold. In celebration of Earth Day, Reformation is offering factory tours to show consumers the faces behind their clothes, and to show that they are unafraid of being transparent. While they admit that they are not yet 100% perfect, zero waste and an entire staff on living wages is their ultimate goal to becoming a better business.
Looking to expand your athleisure wardrobe? Silou Active is a European luxury activewear company made to make the wearer feel good inside and out. Tatiana Kovylina founded the company after working as a high fashion model for 10 years and developing an eye for tailored and classic design. Designed in London and produced in Lithuania, the company keeps a close watch on production to ensure everything is up to standard and sweatshop free. Silou Active refrains from using harsh chemicals or toxic materials that could be harmful to the body. Ethics are key for this brand, and comfortable style is an added bonus.
Slow fashion brand People Tree is a trailblazer, having created ethical and sustainable designs for over 25 years (way before it was cool to care), proving that social awareness doesn’t have to compromise your sense of style. The fundamentals of fair trade are followed in every aspect of their business and was the world’s first clothing company to be given the World Fair Trade Organization Fair Trade product mark. Organic cotton is a staple in their fabric assortment, and fabrics are weaved by hand instead of machine to reduce their footprint. In addition to practicing sustainable methods, People Tree also pioneers sustainable practices in their production chain to continue to find ways to minimize their environmental impact, continually trying to better themselves to better the planet.
Probably one of the most widely recognised brands on this list, Eileen Fisher is a contemporary women’s fashion label that aims to make sustainability the norm in the fashion industry. Company founder Eileen Fisher talked about her business movement, saying “I like the idea that a company can be successful as a business and also as an agent of positive change.” With this in mind, social responsibility and sustainability can be found at the core of her business. Organic fibers, natural dyes and fair trade materials are just a few of the many positive selling points Eileen Fisher has to offer, and labour standards, training initiatives and keeping a close eye on factories are all important components in Eileen Fisher’s values. And beyond the stores, they offer centres where you can drop off, repair and recycle your favourite knits. The brand’s Insta-feed is also full of lust-after items for your grown up wardrobe.
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