It’s happening! Online retailers are focusing more on sustainability. Example? Check out the best of the Net a Porter Sustain ethical collections. We think you’ll be impressed….
By Arwa Lodhi
Only a few years ago, you’d be pretty hard pressed to find sustainable or ethical fashion brands in big department stores. They were pretty much packed with huge fashion labels that were under one enormous fashion umbrella: think LVMH – owners of Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Dior, Marc Jacobs and many other brands; Kering – owners of Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Balenciaga and many others; or H&M – owners of COS, &OtherStories and H&M of course.
That’s still true, but due to consumer demand, more retailers – both in store and online – are choosing to highlight smaller brands that care for the planet, to draw in more conscious consumers.
Net a Porter is a great example: they’ve recently come up with Sustain, a selection of ethical fashion labels that they’ve closely scrutinised for their materials, business practices and human rights policies. The retailer has carefully vetted every product in their Net Sustain edit to ensure that they meet at least one of these key attributes:
- locally or artisanally made
- certified by Global Organic Textiles Standard, Organic Content Standard, Cotton Made in Africa, and Better Cotton Initiative. or Global Recycle Standard, Recycled Claim Standard, Cradle to Cradle and more
- take into account human, animal and environmental welfare
- align with internationally recognized best practices in the fashion and beauty industries
This has been big news in the fashion world, and there’s been endless press about the online retailer’s efforts. But exactly why are some of the brands they’ve chosen sustainable? And which are the chicest of these sustainable labels? There’s plenty to choose from, including those ethical staples Stella McCartney and Veja shoes, but we’ve discovered some new brands you’ll love, too!
Here’s a selection of what we think is the best of the Net A Porter Sustain ethical collections.
10 Of The Best of Net A Porter Sustain Collections
Ninety Percent is aiming to change the fashion landscape by using sustainable practices to create elevated basics. The London-based label has vowed to share 90% of its profits between those who make each collection happen and four charities it selected – you even get a chance to decide which causes the funds are donated to when you make a purchase.
And there’s more: Ninety Percent makes all of its products from sustainable fibers like organic cotton, recycled polyester and sustainable alternatives to conventional viscose (Tencel and EcoVera),
Sustainable because: This is a brand that gives back! Plus, they only use natural fibres We love: How these basics will be in your wardrobe for decades to come Vegan? Yes
2. Mara Hoffman
New York designer Mara Hoffman launched her eponymous label in 2000 after her vibrant tribal-inspired prints caught the eye of stylist Patricia Field. Since then, she has been striving to make the brand as sustainable as possible by crafting each collection in socially responsible conditions using ethically sourced, natural, vegan-friendly and recycled fabrics. Expect printed beachwear and feminine silhouettes that are guaranteed to stand out when you’re on vacation!
Sustainable because: Hoffman takes all elements of sustainability into account: how the pieces are made, where and from what We love: Her fun use of colour and summery vibes Vegan? Yes, proudly so
Delicate, feminine and a little bit mystical, Melissa Joy Manning’s jewellery is made from recycled gold and silver, and uses natural crystals instead of diamonds or gemstones. She handmakes each piece herself in her American based studio, and all of her pieces are Responsible Jewellery Council certified, too.
Sustainable because: Manning uses recycled metals – why mine more when there’s so much that can be melted down and used again? We love: Her understated aesthetic Vegan? Yes
Everything about Australian label Bassike is sustainable, from its fabrics to the classic designs – its hard-working staples will stay in your wardrobe for years. The Australian brand’s luxury fashion collections combine a clean, classic look with a commitment to sustainable manufacturing – most pieces are locally made in Australia, from GOTS certified organic cotton jersey and other non-polluting materials.
Sustainable because: The label uses natural fabrics, and has fully traceable production processes. We love: The minimalist chic aesthetic, which we consider to be ‘slow fashion’ as it never really goes out of style Vegan? Yes, as far as we can tell
Baserange has a simple philosophy – to create comfortable clothes that stand the test of time. The label uses natural fibers, such as bamboo and organic cotton, to create minimalist separates and sporty – yet feminine – lingerie.
The brand is committed to completely eliminating synthetic fabrics from their collections, and all products are made from conscious materials that won’t hurt the Earth, as well as considered processes such as minimal water use. In terms of style, Baserange takes a no-fuss approach to basics, using eco friendly fabrics to create simple pieces that feel as good as they look.
Sustainable because: The label uses natural materials, and has fully traceable production processes. We love: The total lack of underwire in the bras! Vegan? Yes
Maggie Marilyn’s collections are defined by her strong sense of luxury and fresh point of view. Inspired to create clothes that are ethical and sustainable as well as beautiful, she designs with this consciousness in mind. Expect feminine dresses, the perfect trench coat and the season’s new denim jacket.
Maggie Marilyn is committed to manufacturing locally, so the the majority of its products are produced near its studio in New Zealand. The products in the Net Sustain edit are made from considered materials, including GOTS certified organic cotton, organic wool and recycled polyester.
Sustainable because: The label uses recycled and natural materials, and has fully traceable production processes. We love: Her wonderful use of colour Vegan? No, uses wool and silk
Swedish designer Agnes Fischer spent her childhood snorkelling off the coastline of St Barths. After realising the impact that abandoned waste is having on the both island and the rest of the world’s beaches, she set about creating a sustainable swimwear line using fabric made out of repurposed fishing nets. Every piece is inspired by styles from the ‘80s and defined by bold colors, prints, and high-cut silhouettes.
FISCH is committed to sourcing sustainable materials and minimizing waste. All the brand’s swimwear that’s included in the Net Sustain edit is made from Econyl – a recycled nylon woven using fishing nets retrieved from the ocean.
Sustainable because: They drain the seas of nylon fishing nets and recycle them into swimwear We love: The use of animal prints! Vegan? Yes
Crafted by mainly female artisans in Ethiopian communities, LemLem was founded by model-turned-designer Liya Kebede as a way of preserving the ancient weaving techniques of her native land. She also wanted to ensure that local artisans and weavers had steady work and decent wages. Today, the label is best known for its locally sourced cotton dresses, tops and kaftans that are detailed with delicately woven patterns and embroidery.
Sustainable because: Non-GMO cotton is woven by women’s collectives, allowing them to earn a decent living whilst using local materials We love: The cool and comfy summer dresses. Vegan? Yes
Looking to add a bit of Brit-girl cool to your closet? Look no further than Mother of Pearl! The ethical fashion brand is making it easier to shop sustainably with its new capsule collection that’s been created in collaboration with BBC Earth. Creative Director Amy Powney was apparently strongly inspired by the TV series about the natural world, and created some wonderful pieces from natural fibres that feature a hint of English eccentricity: geometric cuts, oddly placed buttons and playfully oversized hems and lengths. No wonder the brand describes itself as “serious fashion, not to be worn too seriously.”
Mother of Pearl is committed to complete tractability across its supply chains, sourcing sustainable fibers like bamboo, Peace Silk, organic cotton and Tencel for its collections, and of all the best of Net a Porter Sustain, this may be the most ‘fashion-forward’ label, as their shows are on the ‘must see’ list for fashionistas at London Fashion Week.
Sustainable because: They use natural materials and make their collections in-house We love: The use of Peace Silk, which doesn’t harm silkworms, but still drapes and breathes as beautifully as any form of silk. Vegan? No – wool is used
They may look simple, but these handmade bags can take days to complete! Kayu founder Jamie Lim was inspired to preserve and cultivate the traditional crafts that surrounded her as a child, and so she sought out artisans in the Philippines and Malaysia to help her create eco friendly totes, clutches and bucket bags decorated with playful embroidery and personalised messages.
Today, her popular range of bags is created through traditional loom and handweaving techniques, and each purchase helps to support the preservation of local craftsmanship in the communities that work with Kayu.
Sustainable because: Most bags are made from biodegradable, fast growing straw or raffia We love: The sweet summer clutches, and the new range of organic cotton-voile ‘Kamber’ totes that are printed using a traditional, eco-friendly batik process. Vegan? Last time we checked, yes!
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