SHOPPING FIX 

The best sustainable fashion brands to bookmark now

Photo: Stella McCartney

From cult midi dresses to the jeans that are changing lives, here are the best brands committed to producing fashion as ethically as possible

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By Hannah Banks-Walker on

REFORMATION

This LA-based brand has amassed a cult following thanks to its lovely midi dresses and commitment to a more sustainable approachAs well as using more sustainable fabrics, Reformation also recycles vintage clothing and old clothes and fabrics via an initiative called Recover. In 2016, Recover upcycled over 2.8 million kilograms of textile waste. The Reformation collections are also now available in petite (for people of 5’2” in height and lower), as well as up to a size 22.

 

Ninety Percent

Launched in early 2018, Ninety Percent operates under a business model that focuses on sustainability at every level. The brand gives 90% of its profits to a number of charitable causes (hence the name), which can be chosen by the customer after they’ve purchased something. The remaining 10% of profits are split evenly between those who make the clothes and those who run the brand. From chunky knits to jersey staples, these are comfy, practical and affordable pieces that all contribute to a positive change in the way we buy things.

 
 

Iden

The London-based denim brand's sustainability focus includes a commitment to using recycled and organic fibres and reducing its water usage. Keeping its supply chain small, Iden uses factories in Turkey and Portugal who work to produce garments in a sustainable way. The rivets and buttons on jeans are made in a Bluesign accredited factory (which ensures production has a low environmental impact) and leather patches are made from recycled off-cuts. 

 

STELLA MCCARTNEY

She launched her eponymous label in 2001, becoming one of the only major fashion designers to champion a sustainable approach to design. The brand famously doesn’t use any leather or fur, while Stella herself has become a trusted voice when it comes to discussing issues around sustainability in the fashion industry. Of course, as a luxury brand the prices are higher, but if you’re looking for an investment that won’t cost the Earth – literally – Stella McCartney is the brand for you.

 

 

 

TOMS

Launched in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie, Toms was originally created to provide shoes for children in an Argentinian village. This is how One for One was born: the initiative now matches every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new ones given to a child in need. There’s also an eyewear line, which helps provide sight to a person in need for every pair of glasses bought. Now operating in over 70 countries, Toms has given 60 million pairs of shoes to those in need, and has restored the sight of more than 400,000 people.

 

Outland

Although it’s still a relatively nascent brand, Outland Denim experienced unprecedented levels of sales last year when the Duchess of Sussex wore a pair of skinny black jeans by the brand, which was co-established by James Bartle after he witnessed the horror of human trafficking in South East Asia. Manufacturing in Cambodia, Outland not only attempts to use the most sustainable production methods possible but also employs local people, ensuring they earn a fair living wage. Since Meghan Markle wore Outland jeans, the brand has been able to employ a further 46 people. “This is a pretty huge opportunity for us to use fashion to change the world,” said Bartle in an interview with The Pool at the end of 2018.

 

Birdsong

Birdsong works exclusively with women’s groups and charities to produce ethical, sustainable clothes, made by people paid the London living wage and with imagery that eschews Photoshop or retouching of any kind. There are some lovely pieces, from undies to dresses and accessories, that are made by women you know are getting a fair deal.

 

VEJA

From transparency to fairtrade, French brand Veja is committed to producing trainers in the most ethical and sustainable way possible. It has become a go-to for the fashion set, as well as celebrities such as Emma Watson, with many dubbing them the new Stan Smiths. There’s also vegan offerings, which the label is looking to expand.

 

Everlane

The US brand has become increasingly popular thanks to its inclusive approach to fashion. But it also takes great care in locating the best factories around the world, all of which must undergo a compliance audit, which assesses factors such as fair wages, working hours and safe working conditions. If a factory does not score 90 or above, Everlane will not work with it if they fail to improve after a few months. There’s everything from cashmere to shoes, as well as several charitable initiatives that see profits given to a range of good causes.

 

Lark & Berry

If you’re in the market for diamonds or fine jewellery that don’t raise a whole lot of ethical questions, Lark & Berry is worth a visit. It only launched in 2018 but already has a loyal following. All of the diamonds are made using cultured stones, which allow for a transparency that’s impossible to obtain with mined diamonds, also reducing the impact that production has on the environment.

 

Beyond Skin

It’s been making vegan shoes for a while now, and Beyond Skin is now focusing on introducing new and improved, eco-friendly materials into its collections. Everything is made in Spain, ensuring that nobody is exploited in the making of the brand’s shoes, while fabrics are sourced as locally as possible to reduce Beyond Skin’s carbon footprint wherever possible.

 

Gung Ho

Founded by London-based designed Sophie Dunster, Gung Ho’s collection are designed locally in the capital using sustainable fabrics. Each print is chosen to highlight a certain environmental issue, with every item sold helping to make a donation to a charity that works with the cause in question. At the moment, the focus is on the importance of insects and the impact that pesticides have on the environment. This is seen in embroidered bee jumpers, for example, for which £5 is donated to a charity for endangered British bees from every purchase made.

 

Tales of Thread

Making some of the most beautiful sleepwear available, Tales of Thread works to empower women with its transparent supply chain, which works with female-owned and -managed factories that pay above-market wages in safe working environments, all the while providing training for vulnerable women and women living in poverty. All pieces are made in Accra, the capital of Ghana, and London, combining English tailoring with Ghanian craftsmanship and textile heritage. It is the first pyjama and nightwear brand to launch a 100% ethically sourced collection.

 

People Tree

One of the original pioneers of fairtrade fashion, People Tree has been going since 1991, when Safia Minney founded the company. Now the brand is enormously successful, often collaborating with the likes of London’s V&A museum on limited-edition ranges. The clothes are well made, affordable and lovely to wear, offering everything from printed midis to comfy trousers and even jewellery, too.

 

Antibad

Founded by London-born Agatha Lintott, Antibad does exactly what it says on the tin – it’s literally anti bad fashion, as the website explains: “We focus on fashion as something to love and last, not throw away after one wear. We are anti bad quality and design, we’re anti fast fashion. Instead, we source pieces you will love now, and wear for a long time to come. And, of course, our business model is based on full transparency – from ethical banking to carbon-neutral shipping.” The result is a lovely mix of different brands that can all be defined as “Earth- and human-friendly fashion”, including beautifully embroidered pieces from Mara Hoffman, gorgeous shoes from the likes of By Far and Rafa, some standout vintage dresses and chic basics made from quality fabrics.

 

The Keep

This Brixton-based shop opened in 2012, when Kate Richards – frustrated by the poor quality of so many of her clothes – left her job to fulfil her dream of “offering a curated selection of the most stylish, yet affordable, ethical fashion. Clothes to keep”. Now, The Keep has an extensive portfolio of interesting designers, including Desmond & Dempsey, which creates beautiful pyjamas and sleepwear and handcrafted jewellery from the likes of Wolf & Moon. There’s also skincare, in the form of Magic Organic Apothecary and Skandinavisk and accessories from Matt & Nat.

 

P.i.C Style

The London-based brand makes clothes for its own eponymous label at a nearby London factory from locally sourced, sustainable and organic fabrics. From lovely dresses and jumpsuits (they really are the sorts of clothes that will collect compliments) to sweatshirts and lacy cami tops, pieces are presented in capsule collections, as fully explained on the website: “Buying with us gives you more. Our P.i.C collection is rotatable and interchangeable... You can create over 50 clean looks from just eight beautiful pieces.” There are also a number of other, independent brands on offer, including handmade, designer jewellery from Mirabelle, Dutch denim label MUD Jeans and slogan tees from Cossac.

 

Mashu

This accessories brand, designed in London and made in Greece by designer Ioanna Topouzoglou is entirely vegan and uses premium sustainable materials such as recycled polyester and plastic. This means that the brand’s energy consumption and CO2 emissions are reduced by 80% compared with more traditional production processes. The bags are also beautiful, inspired by Art Deco and with luxe touches such as velvet panels and glossy handles. Definitely one to bookmark.

 

Nanushka

Newly launched on Net-A-Porter last year, Nanushka is a vegan label that has already seen great success. Founded in 2005 by Sandra Sandor, a graduate from London College of Fashion, the brand aims to fuse functionality with beauty, resulting in a collection of practical pieces that will collect compliments. While the price point is generally higher, there are some more affordable pieces that you’ll want in your wardrobe forever.

 

@hbankswalker 

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Photo: Stella McCartney
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sustainable
fashion
fashion revolution
shopping fix
ethical fashion
Hannah Banks-Walker

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