If you’re one of those people that believes that sustainable clothing equals yoga pants, hemp t-shirts, and tie-dye, that’s fair! You hear it all the time. Lazy writers and uninformed researchers rest on their laurels while a world of wonderful wardrobe staples hurdles by, but you don’t hear the sale bells ringing…
Well, I’m here to change your woefully misguided impressions into informed selections, so that the next time you need a new powerhouse suit for that meeting with C-levels, or you have a gallery opening or a festival to attend, you’ll know where to go to get covered.
Life’s too short not to start with the best. Whether you view high fashion as a wall of inspiration, a potentially lucky sales find, or maybe it’s a wardrobe essential, you can try these three brands with a whisper of relief and a slight cock of your hat. Whatever your situation, these labels are the height of feel-good luxury.
Eileen Fisher has long been known in fashion circles as a sustainable brand, but with eco-friendly brands finally gaining attention, this line especially seems to be riding the wave of success. There’s a ton of her stuff currently available on ThredUP, which demonstrates two things: people are buying the clothing, and that clothing is designed to last. Get it any which way you can, just get it.
Another stalwart is the Edun brand started by Ali Hewson and focused on improving the lives of those who need it most. Their motorcycle jacket is my lust-have of the moment, featuring recycled zippers and buttery lambswool, and my vintage silk Edun dress is in constant rotation.
Stella McCartney’s name is synonymous with sustainability. While I may not agree with her approach, it can not be argued that her vocal presence in the industry has helped spread the message that fashion matters. Innovative uses of recycled PET polyester and natural, eco-friendly textiles adds credence to her high-end and well-known line. I mean, tell me you don’t love this digital print dress.
Strolling The Gardens
Maybe you’re a wild English rose, perhaps you’re a fantasy femme, whatever whimsical style you find fits you best, these brands have the ethereal elements ideally suited to your suits…and dresses and rompers and sweaters and skirts.
I love Reformation’ refreshing approach to transparency – by disclosing the environmental cost of each garment, as part of the description, they force you to consider each purchase carefully. From the brand that brought you a modern and fluidly graceful line of wedding wear, you can read the full review here.
When French designer, Linda Balti started Amour Vert (Green Love), she envisioned a line of florals and frills, luxurious eco-friendly fabrics, and basics with a twist. And she delivered. Of all of the cocoon cardigans currently popping up, theirs is my favorite.
Zady is good enough for Emma Watson, and it’s good enough for me. Although, if you’re thinking of the classic wooly sweater that started it all, then it’s way more than good enough. Go straight to the website for a day of leisurely window shopping, or find out exactly why this brand is worth your time from my full review found here.
High Tea With Mrs. Woo gets a special shout-out for being my favorite Australian fashion line. Season after season they deliver Japanese-inspired patterns in quality fabrics, stretching shape and line and distorting silhouette. They believe in slow fashion and manufacturing locally. A quirky compliment complement of perfect pieces for promenades among the peonies, preferably at the Melbourne Botanical Gardens.
These guys may border on yoga territory, but they’re not strictly activewear. Instead, think of beach breezes and sidewalk cafes, or roaring fires in cozy cabins – some people flaunt high street style, but I prefer luxurious loungewear. Join me on a journey of discovery, as we meander through a virtual dreamland…
Blue Canoe is a staple for me. Easy to wear, some fascinating designs and the softest fabrics make this brand an obvious go-to. Plus they are one of the few sustainable lines that include lingerie in natural fibers…(gasp!). Start with their Audrey Coat, from the new fall line – a great example of Blue Canoe at its best.
While most of the line is work-appropriate, I’d rather wear Indigenous clothing somewhere special… To me, this layered maxi miracle just screams Santa Monica Pier for a day of face painting and ice cream.
Hemp may have gone the way of sundried tomatoes; they had their moment and then ungracefully faded from view. But sundried tomatoes still taste awesome, and hemp is still a worthwhile fiber in the battle for ethically responsible fashion. That’s where Jungmaven comes in – their campaign to have everyone in a hemp t-shirt by 2020 (#Hemp2020), may incite visions of hippies flailing around a drum circle, but I promise they are so much more than that. It’s casual clothing for men and women that won’t sacrifice their sartorial selves…especially since they don’t have to.
Own The Streets
And now we come to the city chic: for those that love to pound the pavement with impermeable passion and boots to match. Whether you’re looking for strict structure and sleek silhouettes, or you’re headed to an underground dance battle (because my whole life is a movie, isn’t yours?), you can find an original style and bold lines from the brands below.
I was recently introduced to Zero Waste Daniel by a savvy shopper (okay. It was my boss, Rachel – she’s excellent at finding the greats), and I just instantly got it. Their sustainable cred comes mostly from taking the last bits of fabric from the rolls and sewing them together to make an original textile. While the clothes are avant-garde chic, check out their mosaics if you want to understand the implications of what this process can achieve.
One of my personal favorites, Portland brand Nau, may offer a full range, but their outerwear is a cut above. They work with sustainable processes and textiles, but all it takes is this jacket to hook even the most stoic fashionista.
Based out of Los Angeles, Stormie Dreams sources local leftover textiles to create their line of playful dresses, playsuits, and kimonos. Making each piece to order in sunny California completes the surfer girl off-duty look.
For the Boys
Don’t think I’ve forgotten about you, your diverse group of sensitive souls! While many of the brands above may have menswear lines, they’re often small, like an addendum to the women’s offerings. So here are brands just for you, from companies that focus on your more rigid forms and typically larger…feet.
Let your sensitive side show with KnowledgeCotton Apparel menswear. Tshirts, button-downs, outerwear, and pants keep you covered at work and into the night beyond. Or just grab a coffee and go for a stroll with someone you love.
Noah is cool. Too cool for me, in fact. So modern it’s USPS, so original it’s Paul Frank pre-80’s. I don’t think you have to be Reggie Watts to wear this line, but you’ll undoubtedly need some confidence and a strong sense of self.
Outerknown is making shopping easy. Classic cuts and styles but with modern twists for the next generation, they offer a full wardrobe of options no matter whether the weather. And for extra bragging rights, try shopping their Evolution line, featuring Econyl – a textile made from recovered nylon fishing nets left in the ocean by the fishing industry.
Hopefully, you’ve found your new brand j’amour in this list of goodies, or maybe you’ve been reminded of an old favorite, but if not, then let me know. I will no longer allow the idea that sustainability means a compromise on style or personal expression. So if you can’t find what you’re looking for, drop us a comment, and we’ll get you covered… literally.