Recent reports state that 235 million pieces of clothing will be sent to landfill this year, representing 5.7% of all landfill waste.
Consumers are increasingly turning towards second-hand clothing, studies are revealing – with conscientious buyers set to make pre-loved items a bigger market than so-called ‘fast fashion’ by 2029.
Photo by Tamara Bellis. Unsplash
Fast fashion is easy for consumers because it’s just that: fast and inexpensive. But in case you didn’t get the memo, our planet is breaking and while the words of ‘sustainable fashion’ may not appeal to the majority, it is actually an important answer to a very real problem. As Megan Markle put it when she spoke at the British Fashion Awards, "2019 is the year where it is ‘cool to be kind’".
Here’s a list of brands that make shopping an ethical and affordable experience as well as it making you look and feel good.
How Sustainable Are Fashion Brands?
There are many different ways a brand can comply with sustainability. The sustainable fashion movement works together to tackle issues such as:
-protecting animal rights
-defending fair pay and working conditions to adhere to workers’ rights
-cutting down on water waste
-counteracting the effects of cheap and fast fashion consumption
-addressing the use of toxic and harmful pesticides and working to develop eco-friendly and recycled materials and fabrics.
With more brands becoming focused on providing a sustainability, there are now more choices for fashion consumers, both online and on the high street.
Since launching her label in 2001, Stella McCartney has proved that it is possible to create ethical, sustainable and fashion-forward collections without damaging our planet. The company is always looking for new ways to be more sustainable as it feels responsible for the resources it uses and the impact its activities has on our planet. All Stella McCartney stores, offices and studios in the UK are powered by wind energy and abroad, they use renewable energy. Recycling is one of the key points of this brands philosophy.
Among the McCartney eco-friendly products, we can find a sustainable eyewear collection made from over 50% natural and renewable resources and raw materials from natural origins such as castor-oil seeds and critic acid. These are just a small portion of all the activities and initiatives undertaken by Stella McCartney.
Thanks to its distinctive and style ‘V’, you have probably already come across this brand which specialises in trainers to die for. Since 2005, Veja has been making fashionable trainers like no other brand, infusing each stage of production with a positive impact. Yes, every single component of Veja footwear has a story.
The cotton originates from an organic farm in Brazil where workers don’t have to worry about the harmful pesticides poisoning their villages, while the rubber is natural and sustainable, tapped by people in the Amazon using traditional techniques. One out of four trainers that Veja make are 100% vegan and they have even created a mesh fabric made entirely out of recycled polyester.
Sports and athletic wear are at the forefront of fashion thanks to the likes of Instagram. However, sportswear may not be at the forefront of your mind when you think of sustainable fashion.
Originating from Sydney, Australia, Horizon Athletic is the brainchild of professional athlete Marlena Gabriel who was in search of the perfect sports garments. Horizons ethics reflect their respect for the surrounding environment, and they hope to raise awareness of the amount of plastic waste which is currently polluting our beautiful oceans.
To make their active-wear and sporty swimsuits, Horizon use a material called Econyl, which is a recycled fibre made from consumer waste and abandoned fishing nets. This fabric is 5 time more durable than other leading fabrics when exposed to UV rays, salt water, chlorine and sun cream.
In 2018, Adidas took a huge step towards a sustainable future. Teaming up with a non-profit organisation, Parley, Adidas sold more than one million pairs of shoes made from recycled ocean plastic last year, with each shoe preventing around eleven plastic bottles from entering our oceans. Following on from this success, the brand has pledged to be more sustainable promising to only use recycled plastic by 2024. The brand has also promised to become more sustainable in its offices, warehouses, retail outlets and distribution centres with the goal to save an estimated 40 tonnes of plastic per year in total.
After launching their first product in 2003, Finisterre has worked tirelessly to create a collection of clothing which is stylish and built to last. Their recycled insulation jackets were pioneering development in fashion and led the way to create more sustainable practices.
Finisterre has developed their own blend of Merino wool, which took years to perfect and has many benefits. As well as it being sustainable and 100% biodegradable, Merino wool is antibacterial, moisture wicking, soft, breathable and warm; making it the perfect winter knit. Each batch of wool can be traced back to their farms which are found across New Zealand and must comply with Finisterre welfare rules to provide animals with freedom. Each animal must be free from hunger and thirst, have access to shelter and comfort in all weather conditions and they must be able to display their natural behavioural patterns.
There’s something very gentle and loving about giving someone a gift. The way you show your affection through the act can truly light up your day and make both of you feel connected, and oftentimes the person who’s giving the gift is just as happy as the person who’s receiving it. Of course, this is only true for those mindful presents that you took your time with—you have to think about it carefully, and you have to allow the energy of your emotion to become obvious. The whole process is important, from the moment you pick something out to the way you present it to your loved one.
When it comes to fashion lovers, then the most mindful kind of present is going to be sustainable, beautiful, and above all thoughtful, and as long as you pick something with your heart, it’s going to thrill the person receiving it.
Are you eager to find the right item? Then take a look at some of our top choices.
Backpacks are trendy, they’re practical, and they serve as perfect accessories for everyday outfits. It’s great to get a cute piece that lets you look stylish while carrying all your favourite essentials, and any fashion lover would appreciate something that’s both useful and beautiful.
If you want to make it sustainable you can check out companies such as Rareform, who make their things out of recycled billboards (yes, you read that right). In general, a backpack is a sustainable gift on its own because it allows you to minimise plastic waste—if you have a big handy rucksack where you can carry things, you don’t have to reach for plastic bags at all.
If you want a truly eco-friendly, mindful gift that will impress your friend, then consider giving them sustainable garments. Clothes made of materials such as organic cotton, Tencel, hemp, linen, and especially bamboo are incredibly cosy, light, and breathable, so pick something nice and you won’t regret it.
If you’re shopping for a close female friend or sister, consider getting them good underwear. Our intimate hygiene and the health of our reproductive organs are very much influenced by the kind of undies we wear, and finding something hypoallergenic and soft is definitely a good idea. If you want to make it both fun and practical, get them a delicate g string that will both look sexy and be entirely invisible underneath clothing. There’s nothing a woman appreciates more than good underwear, and this is a good way to help your friend grow her collection of sustainable fashion.
As you probably know, there’s no better feeling than walking out of a salon with the perfect hairdo gracing your head. Your loved one is bound to appreciate the opportunity to have a professional manage their mane for them, and the best part about this gift is that you’re giving someone a relaxing, yet practical experience. They get to sit down, get pampered, and leave the salon looking great, and they’re bound to notice the sheer thoughtfulness of that.
You don’t have to be short on cash to “resort” to DIY crafts. Making something with your own hands is one of the most thoughtful things you can do, and jewellery is a good choice if you’re trying to find something cute and wearable. Take a look at these handy tutorials and start a project if you want to give your loved on a very unique gift.
Stylish Phone Case
Our phone contains a tiny digital world in itself, and most of us can’t live without it. For a fashionista, it’s another opportunity to accessorise, and if you want an easy gift that can appeal to anyone, then pick this. Find a phone case with a stylish design made out of sturdy material, and make sure it will fit the phone model your friend is carrying.
If your friend is into leisure, fitness, and a healthy lifestyle, then a trendy reusable bottle is a great gift. Get her something pink and flashy that she can show off at the gym and make sure it’s compact enough for her to wear it in her sports bag.
This is also a sustainable gift that’s simply very practical, so it’s hard to go wrong with it. If you like, you can also include a few other stylish accessories to go with it—for example, a cute scrunchie would fit the sporty theme and it’s bound to be appreciated by any long-haired gal.
Don’t let this occasion go by without thoughtfulness! Pick a gift that screams your friend’s name, wrap it carefully to show them how much they mean to you, and they’re bound to love it.
A recent fashion design graduate from the University of Central Lancashire, Rose Connor's collection focusses on the beauty and importance of up-cycling and minimizing waste within the fashion industry. Rose demonstrates this by taking a common household item, the 'shower scrunchie' and changes the structural property with intense heat, in order to make a new sustainable fabric.
Graduating in 2017 from the University of Lincoln 13 Magpies Design Studio aims to create a more sustainable future for fashion practice. Striving to nurture and create a meaningful lifecycle for ethically produced clothing. As Brand 13 Magpies confronts the ethical and ecological issues of Post- Festival waste. Salvaged tents and other discarded items have been re-imagined as a range of unique and desirable apparel for festival goers.
With new dates going forward social Enterprise Africa Fashion Guide will host our yearly annual Fashion Africa Conference along with our latest event theFATE (the Fashion Africa Trade Expo on May 25-26th! We invite you to come along and join us on Africa Day in May 2017.