Knowing how to make your wardrobe more sustainable is so important, now more than ever. Whilst ethical fashion has had a lot of attention in recent years, sustainability (which refers to the production rather than the materials) is a really hot topic. It’s easier to discover what your clothes are made of and where they’re made but it’s a lot harder to learn about the process and what impact that may have on the environment. Lots of us want to make our wardrobes more sustainable so I’ve been looking into the hows and the whys of sustainable and ethical fashion with the aim of buying less and buying better.
The fashion industry is the second largest polluting industry in the world…and the garment production sector alone contributes 20% of the global industrial water pollution! This damaging impact of human actions on the environment has been a major recent concern, and brands in the fashion industry have been compelled to take action towards sustainable initiatives.
The sustainable fashion market is therefore rapidly increasing in size. Stella McCartney for example, is a huge advocate for sustainable fashion. At the designer’s Spring 2020 fashion show she introduced her new material Koba, the first ever bio-based fur free fur. Other luxury designers are beginning to go fur-free too including Versace, Gucci and Jean Paul Gaultier. Donatella Versace, in an interview in March 2018 even said “Fur? I am out of that. I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right”.
It’s not just luxury designers who are driving this sustainable fashion forward. Many new and smaller brands are emerging in the industry with vegan, cruelty-free, recyclable and organic products. This has been a hard year for small businesses and new labels so their sustainability push is another big reason to support them. Two UK based examples include the ethical brand Lucy & Yak who pride themselves on their ‘fair pay’ policy for all workers and Rapanui, who work within a circular fashion chain, in which all their products are designed to be returned once worn out to then be made into new products again! I love that idea.
Veggani is another great example from across the pond. They are an American based handbag brand who use only vegan and cruelty-free materials. They are also a charitable company, with 10% of their handbag profits going to a school in Laos and 10% of their faux fur products profit going to Best Friends Animal Society. Win win.
Shopping sustainably is now easier and more common than ever before. It is the future of fashion and our planet won’t survive without it. Check out some of these sustainable brands that I love below to kickstart your eco wardrobe and be sure to let me know any of your favourites that I may have missed.
Everyone’s favourite denim label is committed to reducing water waste where possible with their Water<Less technology, aiming to use up to 96% less water in jean making (no, I didn’t know water was required either!) Their Wellthread collection is their most sustainable yet, using recyclable materials. Even some of their puffer jackets are made out of plastic bottles!
One of my personal faves, Everlane have a totally transparent ethos where they show the markup process for each of their garments. They also showcase their factories so that customers can see exactly where the brand source their clothes.
We’ve all got a bit of H&M in our wardrobe! Their Conscious collection was one of the first sustainable collections I saw on the high street. They use lots of organic cotton and recycled materials and aim to use 100% sustainably sourced materials by 2030.
BITE make and produce everything in their east London factory space using only materials that are certified organic. Their tailoring is gorge.
THE trainer of the year (I can’t tell you how many DMs I got about mine) is made out of vegan leather and they work with small producers across Brazil. Their aim? “Infusing each stage of production with a positive impact.” I think that’s a perfect excuse to get another pair.
The world famous shoe brand are well known for their one-for-one giving policy where, for every pair of shoes bought, Toms will donate another pair to someone in need. As well as this they’ve launched a ‘Stand for Tomorrow’ initiative, investing in tackling issues such as homelessness.
Reformation use natural fibres where they can and so their clothing is all (or almost all) made from renewable, plant based or recycled materials. They take into account things like water input, land use, greenhouse gas emission and price to create beautiful clothes (they really are) that do good things for the planet as well.
Each Amanu sandal is handmade to order so there’s no waste during production. They are made for you and perfectly fitted to your feet, made using traditional techniques which keep traditional craftsmanship alive. You’ll catch me wearing these whenever the weather allows (I wore them in Puglia recently) and the brand was started by one of my very best friends!
I wear this brand a lot- the trousers in the pictures below are theirs. Started by two sisters, they’ve based their brand on a ‘less is more’ mentality. Less consumption, more consideration, less waste, more repair says their website. Their clothes and accessories are among the ones I use again and again and that’s the goal of the brand, to create products that ‘last a lifetime whilst leaving a light footprint’.
There are of course lots of other brands who are making massive changes and the above are just some of my favourite places to go if you want to know how to make your wardrobe more sustainable. I’m going to try and learn more about the brands I wear and hopefully make my own little contribution to helping the sustainable fashion world flourish.