By Mariam Ghaidan
Going green in fashion can be done in many ways: clothing can be made locally or through Fair Trade agreements; only organic materials can be selected; recycled fabric could be used and so on. Some brands, such as John Patrick Organic or Honest By are very upfront about their eco-credentials, but some of the most eco-friendly brands around are a bit shy about admitting their ethical qualities. After all, there is still a bit of a ‘hippy’ stigma to sustainable clothing, despite the fact that more and more customers are rejecting petroleum based fabrics and garments made in sweatshops.
Here, we’ve selected a handful of eco friendly brands from around the globe with a wide range of styles that are dedicated to green fashion—though they may not necessarily shout about it much.
1. Eileen Fisher, USA
Starting the brand with only $350 in her savings account; it was her strong vision that pushed her this far. Eileen Fisher decided to launch her own brand for the reason that she wanted to fulfil her desire to create certain shapes with sustainable materials. Eileen Fisher has managed to incorporate the talents of global artisans within some of their collections which highlights one of their visions: ‘connect’. Different projects have been set up in different countries including Ethiopia and India using their local artisans. Eileen Fisher provides practicality within her collection and a distinct style adopting the minimalistic approach, using sustainable, eco-friendly materials which is why Eileen Fisher made it on our list!
This label brings together a group of London based designers who produce their items in the UK. The label celebrates authentic London fashion and believes in promoting young designers who represent that wholeheartedly. London Ethnic showcase the work of their designers during fashion events (such as London fashion week), advertising and other sources of media.
Not only do we love the fact that this brand serves as a foundation for young British fashion, but also that they are dedicated to bringing fashion that is sustainable, promoting fair trade and ethically sourced materials.
3. Lantern Sense, Hong Kong
This Hong Kong based duo have linked their ideas together to launch a luxury ready to wear label that encapsulates the fun, playful and versatile side of fashion.
Their collection focuses on refined cuts infused with vibrant colours and upbeat prints with an outcome of a collection that respects timelessness and modernity at the same time. When looking at their collections the term ‘street chic’ immediately comes to mind: their combination of comfy yet stylish clothing can take you from day to night. Using only luxurious, sustainable fabrics, they create unique pieces fitting for different silhouettes with a precise and flawless finish.
4. Style Saint , USA
To all those that love silk, lace and eco-friendliness; this one’s for you!
Style Saint is proud of their sustainability and every item for sale on their website clearly indicates why and how it is eco-friendly. They focus on quality rather than quantity with a firm belief that fashion should not be fast or disposable but worn all year round. In addition to this they are committed to making the (fashion) world a better place by taking what they have called the “creator-to-closet” approach, selling directly to customers with no retail mark-up. Designs are determined by the customers themselves, who pin pics of their favourite looks on the site, which are then considered by Style Saint when creating their new pieces.
Their design innovations and clear labels indicating sustainability make them a top Eluxe brand this spring.
Now in its 10th season, ASOS Africa has taken the world of fast fashion by storm. With vibrant colours and tribal prints this collection is eco-friendly and sustainable. The collection abides by the fair trade regulations and is produced and sourced in Kenya with SOKO, a small social enterprise that aids in developing the capacity of the business. Asos Africa’s vision is fashion with a conscience; to provide reliable eco-friendly and sustainable fashion as well as raising awareness towards it. Their collections are made up of avant-garde cuts along with funky prints and great colour palettes.
6. Muzungu Sisters, USA
A brand that was born of friendship, Muzugu Sisters was launched in 2009 by Dana Alikhani and Tatiana Santo Domingo who love to travel hence the name ‘Muzugu’ which means ‘wanderer’ or ‘traveler’ in Swahili. Today, Muzugu Sisters is an online retail marketplace for items and handmade pieces from around the world that the duo find during their travels. Not only do they provide a means for hidden talents but shine a light on them too. Their aim is to encourage those communities and their local economies while at the same time providing customers with unique hand-picked pieces.
7. Indelust, India
Artistically curated and ethically sourced, Indelust is a South Asian label that has set up an online luxury boutique focusing on independent and ethical fashion that incorporates art and design from the Indian Subcontinent. Their collection is made up of items from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh, and all promote quality, craftsmanship and sustainability.
From items for women, men and even home boasting artistic decor pieces from $50 to $1,500, Indelust’s vision is to provide a platform for a new aesthetic which is derived from the Indian Subcontinent that creates an infusion of traditional techniques and local material with a minimalistic approach towards design. Sana Rezwan Sait, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Indelust.com. says: “Our mission is to ensure that whatever is manufactured will generate positive social impact.”
8. Sydney Brown, USA
After years of vegetarianism, Sydney Brown found herself having second thoughts on still buying leather shoes. In search of a quality alternative to designer leather footwear, she was unable to find another option: Brown took up an apprenticeship in shoemaking and worked in shoe factories in Europe for a few years before launching Sydney Brown luxury footwear in 2012 Los Angeles she is now in her seventh season.
Due to her years living in Japan, Brown’s designs are deeply influenced by the Japanese sensibility of emphasising materials, lines and surfaces over embellishments. Also she uses different California landscapes as inspiration for each season, the Autumn Winter 2015 collection reflects the landscape, colours and textures of Sequoia National Park. The shoes are handmade by artisans in her Los Angeles atelier, are cruelty-free and are made using the very best of eco-friendly materials such as coconut insoles, recycled and sustainable uppers, and reclaimed wooden soles.
9. Kabukimono, UK
Launched in April 2014, the concept for this young designer fashion brand was concieved by the creative director, Edward Vanes. Kabukimono is Japanese for “one who is individual or eccentric, leaning away from the norm” and the label aims to live up to this claim. Each piece of clothing is hand-worked and ethically manufactured in London. Their latest collection uses textiles produced by Shiro Meda, an Ethiopian based co-operative, to applique their tote bags and sweatshirts with an ethnic vibe.
The collection titled “Hands & Faces Of The Shiro Meda”, appreciates the hand spun textiles journey from Ethiopia and time spent delicately constructing them. KABUKIMONO artistically re-interprets the fabric, experimenting with the traditional way clothes are made. Their unisex tops and jumpers play host to urban moods, cultural infusions and individuality, these factors inspire the Kabukimono label. Edward describes Kabukimono’s work by comparing it to a painter’s canvas: “each piece is clamped to an easel at design stage to create the final work”.
As the truly beautiful disappears each day, this collection stands strong in preserving it. Kabukimono also enhances their designs by describing each piece through a Haiku poem, extending their interest and respect of Japanese art forms & culture.
10. Laboni Saha, UK
L SAHA is a premium womenswear label, designed for the fashionable yet conscious women of today. The philosophy behind the brand is to create timeless pieces with a modern twist using luxurious natural fabrics.
The brand is fully committed to the principles of ethics and sustainability. We believe our craftsmen are at the heart of our products and we not only nurture and develop their skills but we also strive to make positive changes in their lives. We build a transparent connection between our customers and our craftsmen. Every item sold at L SAHA comes with a ‘Made By’ Tag that tells basic information of the artisan who created the item. Our customers can also use the tracking code of their purchase to see detailed journey of their purchase from the stage of ideation to creation, packaging and delivery. The tracking code also provides further detail about the people behind the product. Detailed instructions on how to use the tracking code is included in the ‘Made By Tag’
A poetess at heart, Laboni finds inspiration in various states of human mind and levels of contrasting emotions. Hand painted motifs and hand written verses of her poetry, all find the place in her unique creations. Her love of nature and concern for ecological issues is reflected in her designs. While clean crisp silhouettes and fluid feminine shapes act as a canvas for her imagination, her passion also lies in the use of traditional crafts which are unconventional to the modern world of fashion.