More and more clothing brands are making sustainable fashion, and we’re seriously happy about it.
The textile industry is responsible for a huge amount of waste. Whether they’re end of the line, unwanted or simply forgotten, fabrics are thrown to the wayside with very little thought, left to gather dust or rot. Failing to pull in the same kind of headlines as plastic or other synthetics do, textiles are rarely considered part of the environmental game. And when it comes to upcycling fabrics for better use, many companies are blasé. Around the world, however, things are slowly starting to change. The sustainable fashion industry is gradually gaining traction, growing at an ever-increasing rate each year. Taking old fabrics and giving them new life, sustainable fashion paves the way for the future.
Just what makes a brand sustainable, though? That is the million-dollar question, and by understanding it a little more deeply, we can change our shopping habits. Getting to the nitty-gritty of how clothes are made is an essential step to understanding the whole process. So before we embark on the whirlwind ride around the world that is sustainable fashion, it’s time to learn a few good lessons.
Taking the time to read care labels before you make a purchase can help you locate sustainable, organic fabrics. If you want to go further, look up the company’s “about” page online to find their core values, how they source their materials and their production process. If a company uses sustainable methods to produce their stock, they’re going to shout it from the rooftops.
It’s much easier than you think to ensure your clothes use materials that have been ethically sourced or upcycled. Once you’ve narrowed down the kinds of processes you’re looking for, the fun can really start. Sustainable fashion brands have been popping up everywhere over the last few years, so finding them can be as simple as a Google search.
High street fashion has had a hold on the industry for several years and for People Tree, it was all about pioneering change in a world that seemed so ephemeral. Having hit the fashion industry 25 years ago, the company pushes an environmental and social agenda without venturing into piousness, a formula that has worked in their favor. The last quarter of a century has featured a string of hits for the company, and no matter where you look down their timeline, you can pinpoint something impressive. Did you know, for example, that People Tree was the first company to introduce seed-to-garment clothing? Or perhaps that 90% of their products are sourced from fair-trade suppliers (and they project it will be 100% in their future)? How about the fact that 80% of their cotton sources are certified organic, helping to mitigate fabric production’s harmful environmental effects? Team these qualities with chic, effortless designs and you know you’ve got a winner.
While People Tree has led the sustainable fashion pack for years, other major companies are slowly coming out of the woodwork, offering a perspective that’ll get your heart racing. Sustainable brand Kowtow, for example, has all the makings of a minimalist luxury fashion line, offering its clientele a serving of eco goodness alongside their chic collection. Doing the fashion impossible, Kowtow has managed to produce a formula that speaks to both social and environmental issues, while pushing the boundaries of luxury design. That’s no small feat for a clothing line. Production for all the brand’s pieces takes place in Kolkata, India, following strict environmentally safe procedures. Using 100% organic cotton, the brand pays attention to the dyeing process, even finishing off their pieces with hemp-based hardware. Best of all, Kowtow takes interest in their employees, offering each one a guaranteed living wage, social security, medical insurance, paid vacations and a pension. Kowtow is all the proof you need that a responsible approach can be incorporated into a successful fashion brand.
High street fashion is bringing about a safer, more responsible message in the clothing industry. While that message is doing great things for the business, it is confined within certain creative boundaries. Brands like People Tree, Kowtow and Shaina Mote all fit well within the limits of sustainable fashion, and they do so with everyday clothing, creating a neutral palette for the fashion forward. In the world of high fashion, however, anything goes, and thanks to the visions of a number of eco-conscious designers, things are really starting to take a turn.
After having discovered that over 17,000 tons of textiles were thrown away each year in her native country of Israel, haute couture designer Dana Cohen decided to take matters into her own hands. A closer look into mass production proved to be the catalyst for Cohen’s future in the fashion industry. After having finished her studies at the Shankar College of Engineering and Design, Cohen decided to revisit her creative vision. Sourcing ethical fabrics was all well and good for the designer, but she couldn’t help but consider how she could make better use of the materials that had already had a life. Armed with this concept, Cohen got to work and began experimenting on older fabrics that could be shredded and turned into something new.
Take a look into one of Cohen’s fabric lines and you will come face-to-face with something that resembles an industrialized Jackson Pollock. Vats of shredded fabric are combined and knitted into new, raw materials. Color stories are kept together but, thanks to the melding of tone and texture, Cohen’s fabrics have a plush rawness that you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Hers are clothes that already have a story, and the finished pieces are a whole different story. Clean, crisp silhouettes are broken up with voluminous pieces, dotted with color. The garments tell a new narrative, both up close and far away, and all you’ll want to do is rub the fabric between your fingers.
Sustainable fashion is not just about saving the planet. It’s about changing our view of the clothing industry in general. Focusing on building businesses that will last well into the future, the pioneers of the industry are more concerned with the quality of the clothing than ever before. Sustainable pieces are finished with the greatest care, and sustainable fashion brands are making environmentalism seriously cool.