When it comes to sustainable fashion, sometimes people don't know what that means or even have the wrong idea. The concept, while understandable, is more complicated than you think. Also, when a company claims to be sustainable, you'll find questionable trading practices or even false claims.
As a sustainable fashion brand, we wanted to highlight other slow fashion brands with the same commitment to quality and ethics. First, let's look at what sustainable fashion is, and then we'll introduce you to brands we love and think you will too.
What is sustainable fashion?
The definition of sustainable fashion changes depending on who you ask. When we explore "sustainable fashion," it becomes apparent that there are many versions of this concept. Plus, when it comes to the fashion industry as a whole, sustainable fashion is questionable because the fashion world relies on fast fashion to make profits. When you make something quickly with the idea that it only lasts a season, no matter how well it's made becomes a moot point.
(More) Sustainable Fashion
Some fashion experts say that “sustainable fashion” should be called “more sustainable fashion.” But we’ve gotten off point a little bit. The main definition of (more) sustainable fashion is the emphasis on creating products in a more environmentally friendly manner while promoting socially and ethically conscious production and consumption.
For some, this could mean leaning more to vintage clothing designs recycling fast fashion brands to create a modern, hip appeal. While others, like Sea and Grass, take on a sustainable brand role by sourcing abandoned seagrass material from Thai communities and paying the weavers a fair wage. Also, using some of the profits to send young girls to school.
Why has sustainable fashion become so popular?
In a fashion nutshell, men and women are demanding it. People have become aware of the horrors of fast fashion and want to choose brands that not only care about the environment but also the people making the product.
Another reason is that our world’s resources are decreasing and continuing with the idea that everything is disposable or seasonal isn’t good for our planet. At Sea and Grass, we make products that are timeless and attractive for all ages. We believe that sustainable fashion should transcend time.
We also think these sustainable fashion brands have a similar dedication to creating high-quality products that last. But likewise, are environmentally friendly and unique sustainable fashion brands to watch.
YIREH is a women-owned slow-fashion apparel company that believes in sustainable products. They produce small batches of clothing, accessories, and home goods throughout the year with ethical manufacturing standards. 5% of the profits go to the International Justice Mission (IJM.org), a human rights organization working to eradicate human trafficking. We love their products, and we think you will too.
Plum and Sparrow
The story of Plum and Sparrowis sweet and relatable. After the birth of her fourth child, the owner and founder Dianna discovered a Moses Basket. And just like it sounds, it a hand-weaved basket meant for a baby. She fell in love and from there Plum and Sparrow was born. She now offers ethically sourced and manufactured baskets for kids and adults.
Weavers make the baskets in a village in Africa. She donates 10% of her profits to help with school supplies, health care needs, and other essential services. Her baskets help you keep your baby close while giving back to the community who weaved them.
Now, who says cotton can't be sexy? It's soft and comfortable when it's 100% organic cotton without any toxic dyes or artificial fertilizers. Pact offers simple yet stylish, GOT certified organic cotton for men, women, and children. It's fair trade certified and consciously-crafted. The best part is it's affordable.
thredUp is the pinnacle of circular fashion as the biggest online retailer of used clothing. For those who love the idea of not participating in fast fashion and dive into the world of used clothing, thredUp is for you. You can also become a vendor and sell your used clothing on their site as well.
If you're not interested in making a few extra bucks, you can donate your profits to one of the charities partnered with thredUp. For all, you mamas out there sounds like a smart way to find used baby clothing too.
For those who love high-quality products that last forever, Cuyana will rock your closet. Started by two fashion-conscious women with the goal of not only creating sustainable fashion products that respect those who make them, but also ones with life longevity. When you buy something from Cuyana, you pay a higher price, but what you get in return is — timelessly perfect.
Sea and Grass
It wouldn’t be right not to put us in the mix of all these stellar sustainable fashion brands. Sea and Grass is another woman-owned business (sensing a trend here?) that believes in providing high-quality, sustainable fashion products. The idea for Sea and Grass came to Pam when she visited family in Thailand. She wanted to pay local women fairly while providing beautiful seagrass bags for any occasion.
It wasn’t until after her first daughter was born that she decided to make her hobby more than just a bag. As a way to say thank you to her roots and the seagrass weavers, a percentage of her sustainable bag profits, help send children to school in Thailand. Check out the Areeya Scholarship Fund with Sea and Grass.
If you love yoga, you’ll love Manduka. It's a sustainable fashion brand worth investing in. They offer ethical yoga mats, clothing, and towels for men and women. When you purchase a new yoga mat from Manduka, you can send them your old one for recycling through their LiveOn recycling program. Plus, the company believes in transparency. For every product sold, they tell you about its sustainability.
Everlane's motto is we all can make a difference. They live up to this motto by offering radical transparency and ethical quality. On their website, you can find fashion picks that don't feel like fashion trends, but rather pieces you can mix and match for years to come.
Everlane also tells you exactly how much it costs to produce a sustainable product and how much they sell it for. Another "giving back" mentality they practice is to donate profits on Fridays to support the factory workers who dedicate their lives making them.
Poverty affects millions of people around the world. ABLE is a fashion-conscious company that makes beautiful bags and clothing while helping women break the generational bonds of poverty. Started by Barret Ward who saw first hand how poverty affected women and decided to create a sustainable brand that paid women fairly and made a commitment to complete transparency.
As part of this pledge, ABLE is the only fashion brand that publishes its lowest-paid wage. When you buy one of their bags, you know how much the person got paid, that a woman made it, and part of that profit helps break generational poverty.
The story behind Krochet Kids will bring a tear to your eye. Three high school buddies turned crochet aficionados decided to fight poverty one hook and loop at a time. The maker signs every product made by Krochet Kids. You can send them a thank you note or read about them online. When you buy from Krochet Kids, you become directly connected with the person who touched your sustainable product.
When you build an ethical wardrobe, your money provides you with high-quality products but also gives back to our planet. Sea and Grass’s dedication to offering high-quality bags and totes means your support lasts longer than a season.
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Amber Roshay is a freelance marketing writer who specializes in health and beauty. She's been featured on Business Insider, Motherly, The Write Life, and more. When she's not writing content, she's enjoying the beach with her family in San Diego.