By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
Of all the types of clothing, leisurewear probably conveys the most personal expression – unlike work wear, casual outfits don’t abide by strictly defined dress codes, allowing the wearer to bring her own touch of creative flair to whatever she’s wearing.
Once we find the right pair, we add sunglasses as well as ethical jewellery, handbags and other accessories to make the outfit truly ‘ours’. We can dress it up with the right shoes, or layer sweaters over tees, or jackets over sweaters to adjust leisurewear to suit our seasons.
But since we buy and wear casual clothes more often than anything else, it’s more important than ever to ensure that these items are made from materials that aren’t harming the planet or your health.
Recently, we’ve discovered some casual ethical fashion brands that are sure to be huge in 2018.
This cruelty-free label is thoroughly engaged in many aspects of ethical fashion, from pursuing animal protection and ensuring local, transparent production to selecting natural fabrics to make deliciously soft, comfortable casual wear that’s perfect for yoga, dancing, or hanging around the house. Vegan brand SMK loves animals so much, they donate 5% of each collection benefits to the animal non-profit association CARE. The new SMK SS18 collection “Among Dancers” and its Fashion Film, best reflect the brand’s values and image.
It’s a fact that a lot of waste from the West is sent to the developing world for processing. One sustainable fashion brand, Maeri Design, was aware of how much plastic destined for recycling is dumped in India, and decided to put it to good use.
Today, craftspeople in India are paid to transform scrap plastic into chic, sturdy bags you can use every day. The disabled and women in old age homes spend between 8 to 22 hours to create a single product, and earn a fair wage from the comfort of their own homes. Styles include totes, satchels, cross-body bags, laptop sleeves and evening clutches.
French ethical fashion brand Le Dessin uses fashion and art to educate young girls in the developing world. Recently, the brand has launched a new casual wear line called Awokn, which is all about empowering women to express the fact that they’re ‘woke’ (not sure what that means? Check our article out, here.)
The sale of these shirts contributes 50% of profits to marginalised communities through partnerships with various charities — namely those focused on helping women and girls, people of colour, gays and Muslims.
Mother Erth is more than a conscious fashion label – it’s a social enterprise that empowers women and reduces plastic pollution by creating zero-waste totes, clutches, handbags and even a pet collection!
Each piece is handwoven by female artisans who bring new life to factory discarded plastic-aluminium that cannot be recycled, and would otherwise clog up landfills and oceans. The materials of each bag are extremely light and durable, made with a beautiful weaving procedure. This year, more celebrities than ever were wearing Mother Erth clutches, as they were part of the celebrity goodybags at the Golden Globes.
ME (Majamas Earth) is an eco-friendly clothing brand that was founded on the principle that casual fashion can be alluring without damaging our beloved planet. ME is committed to creating collections that leave the smallest impact possible: all of the fabrics, which include organic cotton, modal and Tencel, are made in the USA under strict environmental standards. Casual wear offerings from this brand are aimed at not only men and women, but moms-to-be, babies and even pets.
Italian start-up WRÃƒ…D has borrowed a trick from the ancient Romans – they repuporpose industrial graphite powder (a safe by-product of tech companies involved with the production of electrodes, otherwise destined for landfill) as a clothing dye called ‘greyphite’. The powder creates beautiful, dark shades of greys, greens and blacks which the brand uses to dye its unisex, ethical casual fashion collections that are often seen on the streets of Berlin and Milan.
This brand (which is also featured in our main image, above) offers unique handmade clothing for the modern woman, made in-house in the Hackwith Design House Minnesota studio by a talented team of seamstresses.
The sharp, chic aesthetics of Hackwith Design House can be worn causally every day, or dressed up for evenings, too. Fully sustainable fabrics, such as cotton, linen, and tencel, are carefully selected for how they drape on the body or hold the shape of a geometric cut. The eco-consciousness of the brand is further attested to by the fact that many of the items are made only once they are ordered by customers, to reduce waste.
This is a brand that was born in Devon by a young, female designer, Claire Stidston, who decided to create a unique, high quality leisurewear line that would be suitable both for swimming and casual occasions.
Whilst giving a vibrant twist to each design, Stidston is strongly committed to minimising any negative impact: every piece is custom-made to order and created by hand, ensuring that there’s minimal waste to her consciously sourced fabrics. The ethical brand’s latest creations have deep, rich colours and a velvety texture, with cuts that represent the perfect transition from beachwear to daywear.
This sweet ethical brand was founded to empower the people who make clothes as much as those who wear them. As the name suggests, virtue + vice fully embodies the concept of opposites coalescing; a yin and yang of elegance and comfort. The choice of fabrics is exemplary, and includes natural banana silk and khadi, an extremely sustainable hand-spun, hand-woven fabric that uses zero water or electricity in its production.