Today’s woman is in the lookout for well-made, well-designed clothing made ethically. Pieces that you can cherish, which bring pleasure, and support local economies and tell the stories of every hand that went into the making. Modern buyers are finding value in knowing the provenance of what they purchase, not just country of origin, but the actual faces of the farmers, spinners and sewers, the names of those that touched their garment before them.
With increasing focus on fair trade, sustainable fabrics, transparent supply chains, avoiding hazardous dyes, recycling, zero waste or partnering with developing nations. Below are the top ten eco-friendly,fashion labels to watch in 2016.
Bhalo (Bengali for’good’) is an Australian ethical fashion label produced in rural Bangladesh that creates limited edition garments using natural hand woven textiles, printing and embroidery. The brand’s quirky designs are made from ethically hand woven cotton fabrics which are created with an almost zero CO2 footprint. Because Bhalo works in rural and remote areas, things like electricity and technology are not always available, that’s why the focus is on hand made garments. Bhalo works only with fair trade producers in rural communities and uses chemical-free dyes to avoid toxic runoff into local water supplies.
Kowtow, a minimalistic New Zealand label launched in 2007. This impressive label uses only 100% fair trade and organic certified cotton. Providing a transparent supply chain also helps Kowtow maintain its philosophy of clothing which is ethically and sustainability made from seed to garment. Manufactured in Kolkata, India, Kowtow makes sure that the factory workers who create its garments are paid a living wage and are not exposed to hazardous dyes. The brand’s latest collections reflect these ideals and feature quality basics and fashion pieces with a focus on proportion and silhouette.
Stella McCartney is undisputedly the queen of luxury sustainable fashion. Stella, a vegetarian refuses to use any leather or fur in her designs and is committed to company policies of responsible sourcing and ethical trade. London, July 22, 2016, Stella McCartney unveiled her Winter 2016 ad campaign images for the first time in collaboration with iconic American artist Ed Ruscha. Wiping out any old stigmas of “green fashion”, Stella’s designs are impeccably chic with sexy femininity. The brand’s philosophy revolves around key principles of honesty, responsibility and consideration for the future. This season the focus is on luxurious and effortless looks featuring urban puffa jackets, swan print motifs; fluid knits with ruffle detailing and the designer’s new bag Nina. Also included in the new campaign is a tactical version highlighting the iconic Falabella bag and popular Elyse shoe.
Retail giant, H&M has created its own Conscious collection with a focus on ethical production. The collection has been around for a little while now but continues to grow thanks to a broadening consumer interest in sustainable fashion. The powerhouse, High Street brand even recently added a beauty range to its Conscious line. The line stays true to the H&M aesthetics whilst leaning toward basic design. The products are made from sustainable fabrics including lyocell, a fabric made from the fibre of certain trees. These trees grow quickly and require little water and few pesticides to thrive, therefore, it is a more sustainable option than for example, cotton. . And once you are done wearing your garment H&M offers a garment collecting program which allows customers to bring in unwanted clothes to be re-purposed or recycled.
Perfect for active girls, Patagonia creates quality products with functional design, that are eco-friendly and ethical. Highly committed to the Corporate Responsibility movement, Patagonia works closely with all stages of its supply chain to ensure fair labour practices. The brand’s mission is to “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” The company was founded by Californian climber, surfer and “reluctant businessman” Yvon Chouinard, in 1973 as an offshoot of Chouinard Equipment, a tiny shop near the great Rincon surf breaks that made the best climbing gear in the world.
Created by U2 singer, Bono, and his activist wife, Ali Hewson, EDUN the company creates luxury designs with the aim of sourcing production and encouraging trade in Africa. Partnering with African artists and artisans, EDUN mixes its modern designer vision with Africa’s richness and positivity. The label looks to foster long-term partnerships and growth within the nation and supports community based initiatives. Recently showing at New York Fashion Week, EDUN’s A/W ’16 collection paid homage to Ethiopia and garnered positive reviews from industry experts.
Freedom of Animals
Freedom of Animals is an ultra-chic accessories brand that you’ve dreamt of. It offers gorgeous, minimalist designs in the best faux leather going around, this label is equally lust-worthy and ethical. It’s sustainable and cruelty free luxury bags are made from recycled materials, such as plastic bottles, and organic cotton. To turn these materials into bags, Freedom of Animals uses a unique process which not only creates that luxe, buttery texture but also uses 70% less energy than other synthetic fabrics. From concept to completion, every Freedom of Animals product strictly adheres to ethical standards. The company insists on the highest quality materials to create our distinctive style, without compromising on the environment. The brand also partners with the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya to help conserve wildlife and rehabilitate orphaned elephants and rhinoceroses.
The company founded by experienced fashion industry members, Britt Cosgrove and Marina Polo offers shoppers a compellingly relaxed vibe combined with comfortable silhouettes and modern design. The label has continued to grow a healthy following since. Produced using environmentally sensitive fabrics, Svilu garments are designed to endure the ebb and flow of trends. On offer is a range eco-friendly and socially sensitive wardrobe staples with impeccable make and a subtle but special personality.
The company offers eco-friendly fashion with a breezy, on-point style. Made in America, the brand manufacturers use non-toxic dyes and a zero-waste philosophy. Amour Vert also has a focus on using sustainable fabrics, including Merino wool, linen, recycled polyester, lyocell, organic cotton and Indian silk. The brand’s new spring collection provides easy to wear feminine designs which are perfect for a Saturday spent shopping or a mid-morning coffee date. Their moto ” A women should never have to sacrifice style for sustanibility.”
A pioneer in Slow Fashion creating hand crafted garments using traditional techniques. The brand partners with artisans and farmers in developing nations to produce stylish designs that you can feel good about wearing. Opposing fast fashion and its damaging effect on the environment and the people who make it, People Tree focuses on Fair Trade and producing environmentally sustainable clothing.
It’s time to address chemistry and toxicity. Fashion is the third-largest polluting industry in the world.