The fashion industry’s carbon footprint is no joke: Its “long supply chains and energy intensive production” contribute to 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and consumes more energy than the shipping and airline industries combined, according to the United Nations. But, thankfully for Mother Nature and eco-conscious fashion enthusiasts, more and more slow, sustainable (and uber stylish!) fashion brands are popping up, proving that you don’t have to sacrifice style for the sake of the planet.
Slow fashion is all about quality over quantity. The most sustainable way to shop is to build your wardrobe with timeless staples you’ll wear season after season, rather than loading your cart with trendy pieces that are out of style (or disintegrate) before you wear them twice. Take things a step further by choosing brands that are making a conscious effort to reduce their footprints.
Whether you’re just getting into the slow fashion game or you’ve been wearing vegan leather for, like, forever, check out these 8 slow fashion brands that are helping preserve the planet—and look good doing it.
The Los Angeles-based brand is known for its effortless, feminine pieces, which is why it’s become a go-to for cool girls around the globe. But the label’s Instagram-worthy dresses aren’t its only draw. Reformation makes sustainability cool by constructing its clothes out of renewable plant-based fibers, repurposing vintage clothes, investing in programs that replace the resources they use, and maintaining green business certified retail stores and warehouses.
Amour Vert, which means “green love” in French, uses sustainably harvested beechwood fibers, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified organic cotton, silk free of toxic substances, and eucalyptus trees to create its dreamy pieces—97 percent of which is made locally in San Francisco in limited quantities to ensure quality and reduce waste. Plus, they plant a tree in North America with every tee purchase and have planted over 200,000 trees.
Eileen Fisher is all about timeless pieces you can wear forever. The brand is constantly pushing the envelope by aiming to use all organic cotton and linen by 2020, investing in renewable energy, leaving less waste, and using safe chemicals dyes. One of the brand’s most unique sustainability initiatives is its Waste No More program, which takes back their used clothes and resell them or create artwork, pillows, and wall hangings out of them. Genius.
Eco-friendly packaging? Check. Fair labor factories? Check. Organic and recycled materials? Check! Alternative Apparel has been covering all the sustainability bases since 1995. Its simple, super-soft pieces with vintage vibes are made with low-impact dyes and washed with reclaimed water and biodegradable fabric softeners. You can shop the pieces online or in their retails stores in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York.
A go-to for deliciously soft cotton tees, cashmere sweaters, and Italian leather loafers, Everlane strives to be radically transparent. The brand tells you exactly how much it cost to make each piece and doesn’t add a crazy markup to the price, which means more dollar bills in your bank account (thank you very much). Most recently, the brand launched Tread by Everlane, a unisex sneaker line on a mission to make the lowest-impact kicks in the world.
If you’re a vintage Levi’s enthusiast, you’ll love Re/Done. The Downtown Los Angeles-based brand deconstructs vintage denim and uses the fabric to make new jeans in all different cuts and colors. So, you get cool, brand-new jeans with all the benefits of the comfy, lived-in feel of vintage denim.
Consider Stella McCartney an OG in the eco-friendly fashion industry. She launched her eponymous label in 2001 and has never used leather or fur in any of her designs, yet everything still has that luxurious feel you’d expect from a high-fashion brand. Pieces are made out of sustainable materials such as organic cotton, reengineered cashmere, and ethically sourced wool.
Less is more is Cuyana’s motto. So much so that its pieces never go on sale, so as to discourage impulse buys. The items are classic, simple, and infused with elegance but won’t break the bank. The brand uses only organic materials that break down, have factories near where materials are made, and produce based on demand to eliminate excess waste.
You can source your workout wardrobe from sustainable brands, too—here are 8 to start with. And you’re not imagining it: California is the epicenter of chic, eco-conscious fashion.
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