Prediction: we believe these small sustainable luxury brands are about to become huge!
By Katy Caric
In the dog-eat-dog world of the fashion industry, competition is fiercer than ever for designers and manufactures looking to make a lasting impact on potential customers. Today, the trend seems to be leaning more and more towards sustainability, and consumers are looking toward smaller clothing companies for niche garments that are more ethical and eco-friendly than the products most fashion brands produce.
Though this is an outstanding opportunity for small sustainable luxury brands, there can be little doubt that the likes of Stella McCartney, EDUN, Maiyet and Mara Hoffman are still dominating the market. These are all huge names in luxury fashion – and they have huge financial backers to help them maintain their market share. So, how can the smaller sustainable luxury brands get some attention?
Certainly, it’s not easy being an independent fashion label, but when you’re collections are big on style and small on environmental impact, you’re bound to attract a following for yourself.
Here, I’ve found 10 small sustainable luxury brands that I think will grow to Stella-like proportions over the next few years.
Check them out below – would you agree?
Small Sustainable Luxury Brands To Watch
1. By Walid
Are you a bit of a collector? A fan of textile design? You’ll love this small sustainable luxury brand!
British-Iraqi designer Walid Damirji creates artisan-made, bohemian clothing from luxurious vintage textiles and antique fabrics he sources from around the world.
For example? This collection below is comprised of beautiful vintage linen from the 1920’s, 19th-century Chinese silks, and repurposed Chinoiserie Spanish shawls. Who wouldn’t love to wear a bit of history?
One of the best small sustainable luxury brands for: Those who are fascinated by fashion history, antiques, and vintage clothing.
2. Fool Dost
Organic cotton, banana based viscose, and nutra-seed cotton. These are just a few of the natural fibres you’ll find in the clothing by Fool Dost.
Fool Dost offers a luxurious yet minimalist take on Indian dressing, from the naturally breathable fibres to the endlessly wearable silhouettes.
But this label isn’t just sustainable; it’s ethical, too! In order to combat the typical exploitation of Indian textile workers, Fool Dost has partnered with MasterG India. This is a well-known organisation that helps promote a more eco-friendly, transparent and ethical system of garment manufacturing.
One of the best small sustainable luxury brands for: Light, chic summer clothing.
Born in post-socialist Hungary, designer Dori Tomcsanyi has two contradictory influences in her work. These are: life in the former Soviet Union, and modern, cutting-edge design.
Sustainability and CSR are at the core of this playful brand. Everything is produced fairly in Budapest using sustainable materials sourced from small Italian manufacturers.
But what we love most is the incredible use of playful patterns! From oversized flowers and plants to graphic designs, there’s something they print that will make you smile!
One of the best small sustainable luxury brands for: Wonderfully beautiful, bold prints, of course!
4. Made By Voz
The mission of Voz is to protect the rural indigenous women in South America. The label proudly empowers the artisans who make their garments with steady economic growth and better education for their children.
Voz runs its main rural artisan education centre in Temuco, Chile, and also provides design and leadership training for indigenous women in their own communities.
We love their loose and easy styles, their natural dyes, and noble fibres, like alpaca.
One of the best small sustainable luxury brands for: Eternally elegant, ageless style, with subtle South American touches.
A brand for someone who loves to travel? Sign me up!
Kilometre Paris was specifically created for women with wanderlust! Their artisanal embroidery allows you to get a wee taste of exotic destinations, and each piece is made from rare, vintage linen.
Launched by Jalouse magazine founder Alexandra Senes, the label works with ethically paid artisans in Mexico and India to bring Senes’s illustrated travel to-do list to life.
One of the best small sustainable luxury brands for: Quirky clothing boasting a French-style sense of humour.
6. St. Roche
After leaving Alexander McQueen, designer Sue Stemp set out to create consciously designed clothing for everyday wear. The result is St. Roche, an endlessly stylish brand with great ethics.
The label partners with manufacturers in India and Peru that are known for their fair and ethical practices. Whenever possible, their fabrics are GOTS-certified, organically grown, and locally woven cotton. Other biodegradable and sustainable materials are also used, though.
And did I mention that their delicately feminine, beautifully draped styles are to die for?
One of the best small sustainable luxury brands for: Soft, feminine style created by a seriously talented designer.
This is one of my favourite small sustainable luxury brands! Beautifully draped and cut, all the garments by Australian label KitX merge modern design with seductive style. Every textile used has a fully traceable production history. You’ll discover that all fabrics come from a supplier who makes certified organic, recycled or natural materials through fair labour practices.
Though a zero carbon footprint is virtually unattainable, Willow believes there are many ways in which fashion can lessen its impact. And that’s true down to the smallest details. Case in point? After discovering that the recycled PET labels she had been using were releasing tiny plastic particles when washed, she promptly switched to linen tags this season.
One of the best small sustainable luxury brands for: Floaty, feminine style for serious romantics!
8. Uzma Bozai
Growing up in New York, designer Uzma Bozai spent her childhood summers in the Indian subcontinent. There, she was inspired by the indigenous artisan culture of creating garments with hand embroidery and embellishments. After moving to London, she decided to support artisan communities by combining her love of London’s quirky fashion scene and the artisanal crafts she’d grown to love. And so, her eponymous brand was born.
Today, each limited edition style she comes up with is hand embellished by fairly paid craftsmen and women. We love the new Frida Collection, a tribute to the designer’s favourite artist.
One of the best small sustainable luxury brands for: Gorgeous, handmade embroidery with feminist vibes.
Rainfed cotton bought at a fair price from local farmers. Upcycling post-production manufacturing waste. Lilabare always ensures their fabrics are as ethical as possible. The brand also considers the socio-economic and environmental impact of all the casual, chic and sexy garments they create.
In addition, Lilabare creates beautifully crystal jewellery. It’s all made from ethically sourced stones from local Kenyan mines. Independent artisans hand-hammer pendants, buttons and details using solid brass from old machinery. This is the perfect eco-friendly jewellery to accessorise Lilabare’s highly ethical garments!
One of the best small sustainable luxury brands for: Unique style. We love this label’s fringed jackets, Indian-inspired kaftans and overall Boho vibes.
In Peruvian prisons, bored female inmates (who are usually guilty of non-violent crimes) often sit around knitting. Aware of this, Danish brand Carcel thought it would be a good idea for these women to get a decent wage for their handicrafts. And so Carcel was born.
Creating classic items like track pants, pullovers and tees from ethically sourced baby alpaca wool, these women can now support themselves. That’s essential, because Peruvian jails actually charge the inmates for their stay! These knitters can also now send their children to school, save up for a crime-free future, ultimately, breaking the cycle of poverty.
One of the best small sustainable luxury brands for: Everyday basics made from buttery soft, Peruvian alpaca. And helping impoverished women, too!