Looking to curate a more conscious closet? From organic, sustainable, local, fair trade to high-street and the high-end – not dissimilar from #greenbeauty, ‘ethical’ fashion comes in many guises. There is an entire array of conscious fashion brands and shopping platforms to suit any budget, style and ethical philosophy. With London Fashion Week upon us, we thought now would be the perfect time to celebrate our favourite brands and boutiques pioneering the ethical fashion movement. Here are four ways to reshape your buying habits and support more ethical fashion industry practices.
Leading the fair trade and environmentally sustainable fashion sector for over 20 years, People Tree collaborates with fair trade artisans and farmers in developing countries to produce their seasonal collection. An alternative to fast fashion, People Tree prides itself on its slow fashion philosophy that is against exploitation, child labour, sweat shops, slum cities and pollution. Check out their collaborations with Peter Jensen, Zhandra Rhodes and Simeon Farrar, the artist behind Black Score.
Want to take a stand today? Be more mindful about what you already own and hold brands accountable. Fashion Revolution asks you to ask yourself and companies #whomademyclothes. On 24th April each year, Fashion Revolution organises a global event to raise awareness of the true cost of fashion, show the world that change is possible, and celebrate all those involved in creating a more sustainable future. Find one near you and get involved.
We heart hand-me-downs. Shopping vintage can be one of the most budget-friendly ways to get started with a more conscious lifestyle. We spoke to Claire and Scarlet, two buyers at London’s Beyond Retro – a treasure trove for anyone who wants to pick up something with a killer backstory: ‘Pop the brand name of a piece you pick up into Google — you never know what you might find.” Claire came across a vintage, 100% wool dress made by Kathyn Conover and learned she is still making custom couture bridal in New York City, having had a brilliant international design career. ‘I feel very special to have found a dress of hers; I feel connected to her and to the history of the garment.’
Claire and Scarlet also advise looking for garments with union labels sewn in. Union labels are a very important part of fashion manufacturing history. Investing in vintage is investing in history.
Then there’s Scandinavian Filippa K. They caught our eye with their fully traceable 10 year guaranteed coat, made from recycled materials right down to the stitching thread. In addition to buying their pieces outright, Filippa K also pioneer a sustainable alternative to renting your wardrobe at select European branches. Be prepared to spend hours on their blog which key sections cover Raw Materials, Production, Consumption and cultivating a closed loop fashion economy.
The detrimental effects of the fast-fashion industry have led to a huge violation to the natural world. According to the Soial Association the non-organic cotton industry is a huge source of global environmental pollution, using almost 16% of all insecticides produced globally. This has led to the fashion industry becoming one of the most polluting industries on the planet, second only to oil.
Enter Monkee Genes, a UK-based ethical and organic jeanswear company. These guys don’t want to mess with nature; they want to work with it. They choose organic farms which promote three year cycle crop rotation practices. To offset the cost of extra labour, Monkee Genes have done away with the use of expensive pesticides and artificial fertilisers. They also strive to raise awareness and lobby government bodies into supporting organic associations.
Dedicated to providing a unique platform that communicates the supply chain of its products and pricing in a straight-forward way, Honest By was created by award-winning designer and art director Bruno Pieters. The idea stemmed from a stint in India where Pieters developed an interest of the relationship between the people there and garments they wore; garments that were often grown, woven and sewn from sources they could identify around them. Pieters began thinking about the possibility of utilising this transparency as an international designer. From yarn and button origin to fabric and manufacturing, all clothes featured on the Honest By platform takes the consumers ethical values into consideration with the options to select garments based on consumer principles and wellbeing. We love the search option for ‘skin-friendly’ garments.
Others worth a click:
- • 69b Boutique: A sustainable womenswear boutique in the heart of Broadway Market
- • Centre for Sustainable Fashion: A Research Centre of the University of the Arts London with a commitment to using fashion to drive change, build a sustainable future and improve the way we live
- • Hiut Denim: Combining quality, longevity, organic denim and good design, the story of the small-town artisans who lovingly produce each pair of jeans is as unique as the brand itself. We love the ‘History Tag’ component of their website which encourages you to upload your adventures: what you did, who you did it with and where you went in your jeans.
- • Local Wisdom: An initiative originated at London College of Fashion that aims to challenge the dependency of the fashion industry through sustained attention to tending and using garments and not just creating them
- • MEHM: One for the boys. MEHM summarise the journey on the swing tags of each item, from organic cotton fabric selection to the finish touch.
- • Yarn Light Collective: Embracing fashion and wellness, Yarn Light Collective features a range of knitted pieces, which act as a natural shield from electromagnetic pollution and provide a source of energy designed to reduce stress levels and create balance
Header Image Credit: Fashion Revolution
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