These maximalist sustainable fashion brands prove that minimalism in ethical fashion isn’t the only way!
By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
When you think of sustainable fashion, you may well think of something rather minimalist. Clothing with simple, clean lines and a neutral palette, for example. Garments that bear no patterns or prints – or if they do have them, they’re subtle.
And that’s fine. Minimalist clothing is classic, elegant, and probably the best form of garb for the office. It’s clean, matches lots of other stuff in your closet, and is a bit androgynous, too.
But what about maximalist sustainable fashion brands?
I’m talking about ethical clothing that’s fancy. Bold. Possibly a bit frou-frou. Dresses with tons of frills, patterns, and plenty volume. Anything that’s basically the opposite of minimalism.
While there are plenty of minimalist sustainable fashion brands, there are a few labels going against the tide. Here are some of the best!
10 Maximalist Sustainable Fashion Brands
Given their name, you won’t be surprised to learn that stunning needlework defines this brand. Needle & Thread make whimsical, feminine, romantic clothing that’s ethically produced mainly in India.
The craftsmanship behind the garments is simply outstanding – expert Indian artisans embellish delicate fabrics with embroidery, beading and sequins to create sustainable luxury dresses anyone would love in her wardrobe!
Veerah is a one-of-a-kind brand in the realm of vegan footwear. They use eco-friendly alternatives to leather in their shoes, including apple leather, recycled plastic or even algae!
Bold heels and chic flats can be spiced up with a wide range of accessories that make one single pair of shoes go a long way. Whether you add a brooch, fringe, ankle strap or tassel, you can easily transform your footwear from simple to stunning, in seconds!
We’ve long admired Amur’s designs! They’re all about feminine silhouettes, floral patterns and sustainable fibres. Smart linen, organic cotton and even hemp are all used to make their garments come to life.
The brand is defined by not only beautiful frills, draping and tailoring, but also bold patterns and unique cuts. For example? Amur offers myriad gorgeous sleeve options, from mutton chop and Bishop sleeves to sexy cut outs. No wonder it’s a celeb favourite!
This sustainable luxury label is rather unique in the sense that it’s also 100% cruelty-free. Though most luxury brands include wool, leather, fur and silk, Benedetti shuns all of these, favouring instead fabrics like Tencel and organic cotton.
Matea Benedetti, the award-winning designer behind the brand, has a passion for Italian-style maximalism. That means vibrant statement patterns and unconventional cuts, for both men and women.
These are clothes that we think Frida Kahlo would have loved! They’re made to be layered, and no wonder: the eponymous designer is from Sweden, where weather can fluctuate wildly. Layering helps keep you comfy, right?
But Gudrun Sjoden’s clothes aren’t just cozy. Her colourful patterns bring joy to both the wearer and observers. Her designs are good for the planet, as as the spirit, as all items are made with natural textiles, and are made to stand the test of time.
7. flor et al.
We’ve completely fallen head over heels for this glamorous, bucolic brand from New York City! In fact, thanks to their cascades of ruffles, perfect pleats and origami-like folds, this is one of the most beautiful maximalist sustainable fashion brands we know of.
Reflecting global perceptions of beauty, flor et. al’s patterns are actually hand-painted artworks created by highly specialised global artisans. Craftsmen in India are ethically paid to create the intricate, hand-beaded floral designs on some of the brand’s garments. To make them even more people-centric, flor et. al has partnered with NEST, a non-profit that connects artisans and designers all over the globe.
This Indian ethical fashion brand is new to us, but their garments come to life using a very old fabric called khadi. Hand spun and woven, khadi has long been valued in India, as it embodies the country’s heritage – and its sustainable fashion future.
Designer Heidi Middleton has thing for ethically made clothing with a vintage inspired flair. But she couldn’t find garments that matched that description that she actually wanted to wear. Consequently, she launched her own label, called Artclub – to reflect her own background in painting and the fine arts.
The result is a sustainable fashion label that makes limited-run pieces locally in Sydney, Australia. Mainly leftover and recycled fabrics are used to create the brand’s beautifully tailored pieces. These are never without some stunning details, be they abundant frills, lamé embellishments, or perfectly placed bows.
9. Julia Daviy
How do you get incredibly detailed, intricate designs onto vegan clothing in a zero-waste fashion? Through 3D printing, of course! And Julia Daviy is the Queen of this new garment-making art.
Her fashion collections are unlike those by other designers using this technique: Daviy’s are the first ever launched in America to demonstrate true everyday style that’s functional, fabulously delicate and highly wearable.
10. Mother of Pearl
What we love most about Mother of Pearl is the attention to detail. Oversized buttons make a regular cardi stand out; a deconstructed sleeve transform a top from simple to spectacular; huge floppy bows take sandals from OK to ‘Oh my!’.
This ethical British brand boasts a capricious flair for exaggeration that makes it stand out from other labels.
Mother of Pearl is committed to complete tractability across its supply chains, sourcing sustainable fibers like organic wool, organic cotton and Tencel for its collections.
Main image: Amur