A guest post by Natalie Wilson
There was once a time when the words “sustainable clothing” would have conjured up images of brown and suspiciously uncomfortable outfits. With issues such as overproduction and harmful practices, many shoppers are now becoming more conscious of the items they are buying.
Many brands are working hard to provide more sustainable fashion choices for shoppers, from their designs and manufacturing processes to working with real communities and people, they are determined in minimising the impact that fashion is having on our environment.
How Sustainable Are Fashion Brands?
There are many different ways in which a brand can be considered sustainable and they often fall into one of three categories: social, commercial and environmental. These categories were decided on and put together by the Ethical Fashion Forum to work specifically to tackle these issues:
- Protecting animal rights
- Defending fair pay and working conditions and workers rights
- Cutting down on water waste
- Counteracting the effects of cheap and fast fashion consumption
- Addressing the use of toxic and harmful pesticides and working to develop eco-friendly fabrics
With more brands becoming focused on providing a sustainable fashion brand, there are many more choices for consumers, both on the high street and online. If you’re concerned that investing in sustainable fashion means a lifetime of boring and itchy pieces of clothing, then there is no need to worry. Here are 5 of the biggest upcoming brands who are changing the face of sustainable fashion due to their eco-friendly approach.
After launching their first product in 2003, Finisterre has worked tirelessly to create a collection of clothing which is stylish and built to last. Their recycled insulation jackets were a pioneering development in fashion and led the way to create more sustainable practices.
Finisterre has developed their own blend of Merino wool, which took years to perfect, and has many benefits for the wearer. Merino wool is antibacterial, moisture wicking and is soft, breathable and warm. Made from 100% pure Merino wool, the blend is naturally biodegradable, even showing to biodegradable in marine and aquatic environments.
Each batch of Merino wool can be traced back to their farms across New Zealand and each farm must comply with Finisterre’s welfare rules to provide the animals with five freedom. Each animal must be free from hunger and thirst, have access to shelter and comfort in all weather conditions and they must be able to display their natural behavioural patterns. The animals must also be handled in a way which minimises any discomfort, pain or distress and they must have protection from the development of any significant injuries or diseases.
Perhaps one of the biggest brands in both fashion and eco-friendly fashion, Stella McCartney was making sustainable fashion a thing before it was even classed as a trend.
Their approach to fashion is extremely open and they are conscious of the fact that fashion is the second most polluting industry on the planet. Stella McCartney has paved the way for other sustainable fashion houses and brands and they don’t look to be stopping anytime soon.
Stella McCartney has raised the bar for environmental standards year after year, using countless eco-friendly materials, from organic cotton, recycled polyester and regenerated cashmere. They also recently announced a new scientifically-approved target to which they are looking to reduce dangerous greenhouse gas emissions and have a 2020 deadline for which they wish to eliminate hazardous chemicals which may be used in their production line.
Sports and athletic wear may not be at the forefront of your mind when you think of eco-friendly clothing, but this category of clothing is one which is proving to be one of the most popular with sustainable shoppers.
Originating from Sydney, Australia, Horizon Athletic is the brainchild of professional athlete Marlena Gabriel, who was searching for the perfect sports garments. Horizon’s inspiration comes from Australia itself, as a country surrounded by ocean their environment is perfect for sports lovers who enjoy being outdoors.
Horizon’s ethics reflect their respect for the surrounding environment and they hope to raise awareness of the amount of plastic waste which is currently polluting our oceans. Environmentalists have predicted that we may see sea life end within the new 6-16 years.
To make their activewear and swimwear, Horizon use a material called Econyl, which is a recycled fibre made from consumer waste and abandoned fishing nets. This fabric is 5 times more durable than other leading fabrics when exposed to UV rays, salt water, chlorine and suncream.
Dagny is a new brand who is focusing on providing beautifully fitted and tailored daywear which is available in unique and eye-catching prints and designs.
Designed in-house by founder and designer Christina Castle, the brand aim to create unique and stylish clothing for women, who like her, want to shop and dress more responsibly without having to compromise their personality. In Scandinavian, Dagny means “new day”, which is more than fitting for their brand ethos. To produce their garments, the brand has teamed up with a women-led, owned and operated an ethical factory in Romania.
Founded by the former journalist and travel write Victoria Bakir, MadeByWave looks to blend together the modern aesthetics favoured by typical travellers together with more traditional Indonesian craftsmanship. Sarong, basket and bead weaving has been a big part of the day-to-day life in Indonesia for a long time and, despite many industries moving towards a more industrialised way of production, it has managed to stand the test of time.
Victoria prides the brand and herself on working closely with the family teams that help to create the products and she offers regularly-run workshops for them. She is proud to ensure that the craftsmen which make the bags both live and work in good conditions and are paid a fair wage.
Cover photo: @stellamccartney ©Instagram
About the author: