For many years it was almost impossible to find responsible brands that a true fashionista would enjoy wearing. The ‘fair trade’, ‘ethical’ brands seemed to be for a specific type of tree-hugger, extreme nature lover: not stylish, not on trend, and probably itchy too. When it came to green labels, beauty was simply not there and you would quickly look like an activist.
But today, the fashion industry offers a nice selection of great brands and you do not have to choose between style and being responsible in your fashion buys anymore. And even better, prices are good also. So no more excuses.
Here some of our favourites brands of the moment.
Reformation offers effortless but feminine outfits made of sustainable fabrics such as ®Recover yarns, ®Refibra fibers, sustainable Tencel, viscose, linen and organic cotton. Originally from Los Angeles, the brand sells exclusively online and in its own stores. Each supplier is controlled and certified. Reformation also uses the Bluesign system for textile dying and OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 to monitor harmful chemicals.
The company puts sustainability at the core of everything they do. For the manufacturing of their clothing, sustainable thinking starts at the design phase, where the choices made influence the whole sourcing and manufacturing process. They seek to minimize water use, energy use, emissions and waste. To inform their customers, they developed the RefScale, comparing each of their product’s impact on water and CO2 with that of ‘mainstream’ products. They also invest in green building infrastructure to minimize waste and environmental footprint and provide training and job opportunities to local communities and people in need. From a social perspective, about three quarters of Reformation employees are women or people from underrepresented populations. Workers are paid above minimum wage and health benefits are provided. And, naturally, they issue an annual sustainability report to make their actions, progress and footprints public.
Read more about their long list of sustainable practices here:
AMUR was created in New York City from the concept that ‘great style does not have to come at the expense of our environment’ and that, through fashion, you can make a positive change. The contemporary womenswear brand caters to confident women with an urban lifestyle, seeking a modern touch and who care about the environment. AMUR provides more than seasonal fashion pieces; focusing largely on statement pieces with high quality products that will last season after season.
“Nature is the ultimate luxury”, says Creative Director Sofia Shannon. As such, all materials are sourced keeping in mind environmental impacts. AMUR carefully selects all suppliers and chooses natural, certified and recycled fabrics. AMUR also collaborates with non-profit organisations to support their work: for their Spring 2017 collection, for example, they partnered with non-profit fair-trade organization NEST to develop a jewellery line made through artisans in Vietnam.
More information about AMUR’s philosophy can be found here:
People Tree was one the first fashion brands that put farmers, workers and fabrics at the top of its priorities, becoming a pioneer in sustainable fashion. Founded in 1991, People Tree is credited by the World Fair Trade Organization and follows the principles of Fair Trade at all levels of the company, including its selection of suppliers. “When you wear People Tree, you look good and feel good knowing that your unique garment was made with respect for people and the planet.” People Tree offers an alternative to fast fashion and its constant and growing demand for cheap fashion, instead promoting the concept of Slow Fashion. Through their vision, strategy and products that you will wear season after season with love, the People Tree team is a key player in making sustainable fashion contemporary, accessible, and desirable.
« We love beautiful products. We think organic. We believe fairness is never out of fashion ».. Armed Angels designs are contemporary and beautifully made, of organic and sustainable fabrics, and under fair working conditions. CEO Martin Höfeler has an ambitious vision: “In 10 years we want to have established fair fashion as a standard in the industry and we want to have convinced the people to rethink their buying behaviour”. And he is turning his vision into action: the brand has changed the perception of sustainable fashion for many, and now has more than 700 points of sale. Collections are fresh and dynamic, easy to wear, with an athletic attitude and beautiful colour palettes.
Swedish Stockings is one of the few sustainable hosiery brands available at the moment. While initially stockings were expensive fashion items that women would get repaired when needed, today hosiery is mostly seen as a ‘consumable’ – worn once or twice, then thrown away. Considering that most are made using petroleum-based fibres that cannot be recycled, the impact on the environment of this seemingly harmless product is significant.
The mission of Swedish Stocking’s founders is to bring about change in the polluting hosiery industry, by making stockings that last longer and are made with recycled and/or more sustainable fabrics. Most Swedish Stockings are created from pre- and post-consumer recycled nylon waste, using continuously enhanced production processes whereby they look to minimize waste, emissions, as well as energy and water usage. In line with their mission to clean up the hosiery industry, they offer a recycling programme to their customers, encouraging them to send them their old, ripped stockings (from any brand!) in return for a 10% discount code. Because today’s technology is not yet ready to separate the hosiery fibres to make them into new hosiery, the old stockings are ground to be used as filler material in the commercial industry.
So, they’re kind to the environment, keen on continuously improving their footprint, generous to their customers and, on top of it, make beautiful products!
We have been following Mykke Hofmann for a few seasons now and we love the styles of their collection. The fabrics are soft, flowy and with perfect finishing. Mykke Hofmann is for women with attitude; combining femininity and an athletic aesthetic, keeping style without being dressed up and underlining femininity while feeling strong. We would give a special mention to this season’s Paza Cashmere Pullover, the Karena dress in graphic print, and the striped pieces.
But what we love the most with Mykke Hofmann is the story behind the brand. Mykke Hofmann represents a new generation of designers who care about people and the planet, and are calling for a move to Slow Fashion. The brand runs its own production at the factory in created in 2017 in Umcari, Serbia, home country of the two designers Sedina Halilovic and Jelena Hofmann. They created jobs for more than 20 workers of the area, making sure that they are well treated and paid fairly. Many of their workers had no experience in textile or were in difficult situations. The objective is to be able to manufacture for similar companies from 2019 and re-build the local textile industry. They have long-lasting relationships with trusted local suppliers and constantly review their resource consumption to minimize waste. Mykke Hofman is also partnering with Belgrade Textile University to offer a dual educational program starting at the end of 2018.
Filippa K is an established Scandinavian Fashion brand known for its signature and timeless, high-quality pieces. At Filippa K you can find the perfect wardrobe and keep your favourites styles for a very long time. The brand has been engaged in sustainability for many years. The objective today is to make the entire Filippa K collection sustainable by 2030. Here are the main initiatives they are working on.
Front Runners: Making garments as sustainable as is possible today
Through their Front Runners initiative, the team at Filippa K uses life-cycle assessments to examine every phase of a specific garment’s lifecycle and adjust processes to get to a minimal impact on the environment. Step by step, the journey to get to 100% sustainability is guided by the work done with these Front Runners. The second set of Front Runners that has reached stores this year are made from recycled wool and designed to be able to last forever. To make these garments, Filippa K teams mechanically adjusted the fibres to pill as little as possible. The fabrics are not dyed, and they are fully traceable. The lining, zippers, sewing and buttons are all made of recycled or sustainable materials and cutting was optimized to avoid fabric waste. And to ensure that the products really do last, a 10-year warranty is provided.
Filippa K Lease: A way to sustainable consumption
To encourage responsible consumption, Filippa K has made their garments available for rent, allowing you to keep your wardrobe updated with regular newness without collecting clothes in your wardrobe that you might hardly wear. The service is available in selected stores in six countries, at a rate of 20% of the full price, which includes cleaning costs.
Filippa K Collect: Give your garments a second life
Filippa K collects old Fillipa K garments to recycle, sell them second hand or give them to charity. You will get a 15% voucher in return to use on your next purchase. You will also receive a digital discount on Cirqle, a reward app encouraging consumers to return their clothes as part of the circular economy.
This premium and contemporary new label launched in 2018 in London. The concept is to share 90% of the distributable profit of the company to charitable causes protecting people and the planet. As a consumer, you choose to whom the money is distributed among a list of selected and affiliated causes. Each product has its own unique code that you enter online to select the cause you want to support (Children’s Hope, War Child UK, Wild Aid or Big Life Foundation at the moment).
The style is relaxed and feminine for easy but detailed everyday pieces of high quality. The materials used are carefully selected, considering social and ecological aspects. Buying and wearing Ninety Percent gives sense to your purchase and creates a real and direct impact. Plus, you always have a story to tell about the garment you are wearing.
EDUN is a high-end womenswear and accessories brand founded in 2005 by U2s Bono and his wife, business woman and activist, Ali Hewson, to encourage trade in Africa by sourcing and sustainable production throughout the African continent.
In 2009 EDUN became part of LVMH but rumour has it that it is in the process of being taken back by its founders.
The brand has built strong partnerships with local artisans, manufacturers and communities for the production of its collections. Fabrics are also mostly locally sourced and made responsibly. This is central to EDUN values and DNA. Through fashion, EDUN is helping to create new opportunities and is changing the mentality around African fashion and business. EDUN celebrates ethical and sustainable fashion at a designer level. The collections are of high quality, with particular attention to detail, vibrant colours and always carry a story. It’s a perfect match between African inspiration and traditions and the luxury industry.
Images: Reformation, Amur, People Tree, Armed Angels, Swedish Stockings, Mykke Hofmann, Filippa K, Ninety Percent, Edun