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Sustainable clothing has come to be associated with compromise in either style or price but these eight sustainable brands challenge that perception with their chic, on-trend designs. We know that purchasing new things isn’t exactly the most eco-friendly way to live but new year sometimes does mean new you. And if the new you happens to need fresh Egyptian cotton undergarments or a pair of classic white sneakers – we hear Meghan Markle loves them – who are we to get in your way? Take a look at these labels that are stylish, sustainable and (some are) surprisingly affordable.
Australian designer Kit Willow says the intention of KitX is “a spirit of kindness, integrity and transparency.” The brand follows three pillars of sustainable sourcing: natural fibres, upcycling and artisan techniques. We like the sound of that. Willow champions the use of TENCEL, which are cellulosic fibres, meaning that they’re made from sustainably sourced wood that’s manufactured into material. The winning point is the label’s chic, edgy designs which are stocked on cutting-edge luxury retailer Farfetch. The brand’s founder even represented Australia at Buckingham Palace for the first Commonwealth Fashion Exchange.
Veja launched over a decade ago in France but has boosted its way to the top as a statement sneaker sported. One of their most renown fans? You know, just Meghan Markle. Veja’s shoes and accessories are made of organic cotton, recycled plastic and wild rubber. The latter is sourced from the Amazon, supporting the seringueiro communities that live there and is part of a bigger campaign to protect the forest. The footwear brand documents their design and production process on their website, labelled Project. After all, the key to better sustainable practices is knowledge sharing!
Monarc is one jewellery brand we love for their bold, minimalist designs and an eye for all things conscious. The collections use ‘above ground’ diamonds (read all about cultured stones here), which are even created using solar energy. Talk about commitment. In its recent collaboration with influencer, Lolita (@lolitamas) they created semi-fine pieces around available resources, omitting ideas that weren’t protective of the earth. The precious metals used are accredited by the Responsible Jewellery Council, which regulates across ethical, human rights, social and environmental standards. Oh, and as you might expect, their packaging is 100% biodegradable.
Nannacay caters to all your colourful and bohemian holiday dreams. The name derives from the indigenous Aymara tongue of the Andes and means “sisterhood”. The brand is most known for its handwoven, customisable embroidered beach bags with colourful tassels and pom poms. The brand’s founder, Marcia Kemp also runs it as a social enterprise which trains over 200 artisans from Peru, Brazil, and Ecuador in skill development and financial management. Oh, and their resort-ready aesthetic is achieved using locally available sustainable materials like thermoplastic resin fibres and Brazilian fibres.
Universal Standard’s founders Polina and Alex birthed this brand from their struggle when shopping. 67% of women in America are a size 14 or above, but mainstream fashion doesn’t cater to the majority and they found that their options were limited. The result? A capsule collection in 2015 of just eight items that sold out in under a week. The brand champions size and disability inclusivity, through its choice of models and silhouettes. Fit Liberty is its body-positive initiative, which encourages women to exchange a piece of clothing if their size changes, within a year of purchase. So even if not all their fabrics are natural or recycled, they’re doing their part in helping the consumer.
Amour Vert translates to “green love” in French but has that breezy Cali feel. The kind of silky robe you’d slip on for a morning stroll outside your imaginary Malibu beachfront home. The casual-wear brand specialises in elevated basics like their Barlow tank ($108) and conscious materials like TENCEL, modal, organic cotton and certified mulberry silk and merino wool. Collections come in limited quantities to avoid waste.
Woron is founded by sisters Arina and Anya Woron, based in Copenhagen. It might not be the sexiest but it’s most probably the softest lingerie brand and for what it’s worth, it’s got an undeniable Scandi aesthetic. For those of you that want your undergarments PETA approved, this is a bonafide vegan brand that uses Egyptian Cotton and recycled polyamide. Woron works with a family-owned factory in Hungary that employs a female majority.
Simon Miller fuses Florida vibrancy with California cool to create his vintage aesthetic. The brand produces its collections in the USA, partnering with independent mills and artisans in France and Japan. They employ OZONE technology in production and ceramic stones for denim wash processes. Their bucket bags are now a cult classic and worn by Emma Watson. What’s good enough for Em is good enough for us!
Looking for sustainable activewear? Check out how London based Silou
Words by Anushree Gupta, images from respective brands