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The global population is rising at a staggering rate and is set to reach around nine billion people in the next decade. The result of which is that nature is struggling to meet human demand and we’re damaging our planet almost beyond repair. With the fashion industry being the second biggest polluter on earth after the oil industry, more consumers are beginning to ask questions about where their clothes are coming from and how they’re being produced. And while this is a good start, there’s still a long way to go if we hope to start looking after our planet.
The good news is that more designers and fashion brands are now trying to be more sustainable, with new stores emerging all the time trying to offer more environmentally and socio-economically friendly apparel. The only problem is, within this you get something called greenwashing – those brands who give false or misleading information to make their products appear to be more eco-friendly than they really are. So to help you spot the real from the fake, I’ve pulled together a list of six designers and what they’re doing to try and make their fashion more sustainable.
Let’s start with one of the biggest names in fashion, Stella McCartney. You may have already heard about her efforts to be more sustainable because she has been championing this movement since she opened up her fashion house back in 2001. She is very much about luxury fashion, but not at the cost of people, animals or our planet. All the fabrics used by McCartney are organic, ethically sourced or recycled and she avoids fur and leather altogether.
In order to be more sustainable McCartney sources as many sustainable materials as possible. She also ensures fair working conditions for all people involved in the supply chain and is a vegetarian brand that promotes cruelty-free fashion. In the autumn of this year she revealed her latest designs at Paris Fashion Week and a new initiative called ‘There She Grows’ which strives to protect our endangered rainforests from deforestation.
Phipp’s begun his career as part of the design team at Marc Jacobs, until he founded his own label, PHIPPS, in 2017. His respect and curiosity for our planet is the driving force behind his ethical brand and he sees sustainability as an obligation to our earth, not just the latest buzzword. So as part of taking responsibility, all his clothes are made with eco-friendly materials and use a sustainable manufacturing process. He has even used his newest line to highlight environmental issues, including images of endangered species on his some of his products.
You may have heard of Steph Gabriel’s brand, Ocean ZEN, an environmentally friendly swimwear line launched in 2014. After travelling the globe Steph bore witness to the horrific effects we humans are having on our oceans and marine life, so she decided to take action. Through her beautiful swimwear she raises awareness for cleaner oceans and encourages her customers to be conscious consumers. Her products are made from recycled fishing nets and plastic removed from the sea. And the final cherry on top, the brand doesn’t use any plastic in their postage and packing.
Eileen Fisher is so much more than just a designer. Her brand is eco-friendly, using recycled textiles and clothing to produce beautiful new garments. But her passion for sustainability has also seen her set up several green, albeit very ambitious initiatives to help protect our planet and its people. Most notably her vision for 2020, which sets out to create a 100% sustainable business model from using 100% organic materials right through to being carbon positive.
But her campaign for a better world through fashion doesn’t end there, it’s not just about resources and energy for Fisher. She set up another initiative called the ‘Handloom Project’ to improve the lives of workers at every stage in the supply chain. This is done through ensuring fair wages and investing in developing the rural areas where they live.
Rag & Bone
Rag & Bone is a sustainable fashion label founded by Marcus Wainwright. His aim is to redefine urban style whilst upholding sustainable values, which is why he puts particular emphasis on the local production of his clothing. In 2017, Wainwright partnered with Cotton Inc’s Blue Jeans Go Green and stared a denim recycling programme. Those who bring their old jeans into his stores are given a 20% discount off new jeans and the donated denim is recycled and turned into insulation for homes and civic-minded buildings.
Katie Jones pairs her love for the environment with her love for playful clothing in her eco-friendly knitwear brand (go to the website) of the same name. She took inspiration from her grandma’s ability to make something beautiful from nothing and her ‘waste not’ mantra is very much at the forefront of everything she creates. Using unclaimed materials from manufacturers that were otherwise destined for a landfill, she creates unique, colourful apparel. Jones also uses her brand and growing influence to address the big issues such as landfills and fast fashion, she does so by creating experiences that encourage consumers to make both social and environmental changes.