I love to cover environmental issues on my blog. I also love to feature women in business. This guest post neatly combines both of those aims. Carol Hanson, Conscious Wardrobe Stylist. inspires women who have a wardrobe full of clothes but nothing to wear. She empowers them to look and feel fabulous with a conscious approach to their clothes. Today she is highlighting 10 sustainable fashion brands you need to know about.
“My awakening to ‘Fashion’s Dirty Little Secrets’ began in 2018. I had been aware of the ethical issues surrounding fashion, but I had no idea of the extent of the environmental ones.
My mantra has always been a quality over quantity approach. I had never really bought into the fast fashion concept of continually buying cheap, largely poor-quality clothing.
As I researched for a blog post my eyes were well and truly opened. From seed to end of life, every step in the process contributed to fashion being the second biggest polluting industry on the planet. Many tears were shed as I educated myself.
But my tears weren’t going to fix this problem. Neither was everyone just not buying clothes. We need to buy less, buy consciously, be aware of the choices we’re making.
Some may argue sustainable fashion is not affordable. My response is to look at the cost per wear. What I mean by this is to invest in pieces that you love wearing and you will wear over and over again. This means the cost for each wear becomes minimal and offers great value for money. Once you start buying sustainable you’ll never look back.
To help you with your shopping choices, below are my top ten sustainable fashion brands, covering a range of activities and styles.
Brothers Mart and Rob Drake-Knight founded Rapanui to create sustainable clothing and minimise waste. They manufacture in their facility on the Isle of Wight, powered by renewable energy and all fabrics are natural and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified. The products are made to order to minimise waste and when an item is worn out it can be returned and the fabric re-used.
Out for a run one day, Jay Keshani noticed a plastic bag being swept along by the wind. It peaked her curiosity and she begin to wonder how discarded bags could be repurposed? Her business was born.
Jay’s background as an engineer helped her to turn single use bags into jewellery. She persuades friends and family to collect bags for her and offers customers who donate bags a discount too.
The result is an elegant, modern collection of jewellery. Each piece is unique and manufactured by Jay in her London studio.
Rosie is a keen swimmer. In 2016 she was struggling to find a flattering swimsuit and decided to take matters into her own hands by creating her own brand.
For Rosie it wasn’t simply about designing flattering swimwear, but to do it sustainably and she discovered EcoNylTM. EcoNyl is made from regenerated ocean waste. Perfect.
Products are manufactured to a really high standard and Deakin & Blue also offer customers a repair service to further extend the life of the products. Rosie manufactures in London to minimise the brand’s carbon footprint.
I discovered Turtle Doves fingerless gloves last year when I was looking for a pair for dog-walking. The products are made from post-consumer waste, recycled cashmere.
Kate Holbrook tested her idea for the fingerless gloves at a Christmas fair in 2009. Eleven years later Turtle Doves has a studio in Shrewsbury and employs 50 people. To maintain a regular supply of fabric they source from charity shops and textile merchants.
I took a trip to visit Jill White in her London studio last year. I love her concept of made to measure clothing. ‘Size Me’ is core to Jill’s brand and she believes all women should be able to wear beautiful clothes that fit perfectly. Sustainability for Jill is ‘Buy Less, Buy Better’ by investing in quality timeless designs that will become a client’s favourite pieces.
Passionate about ethical manufacture, Jill’s team are also based in London and paid above minimum wage.
Birdsong’s slogan is ‘Dress in Protest’ against fast fashion. Sourcing sustainably and making ethically are core brand values.
Founders Sarah Neville and Sophie Slater manufacture in London and engage a team of skilled women facing barriers to employment. They pay London living wage and women can work from home and products are wardrobe staples some with a quirky twist. Birdsong uses Mail Out, for despatch, a company offering people with learning difficulties apprenticeships in warehousing.
Maternity tops for women who care about the environment their baby will be born into is the thinking behind this brand.
Laura Draper was disillusioned by the lack of flattering maternity wear when her daughter fell pregnant. So, she launched Gooseberry Pink where inspiration for her designs is beautiful belly art that celebrates pregnancy.
Laura chose her suppliers to meet her sustainability credentials. Cotton is organic, GOTS certified and products manufactured ethically. Tops are printed to order, and natural dye is used in all designs.
Contemporary ethical womenswear made in Gloucestershire, specialising in upcycled and sustainable fabrics. This includes turning fabric remnants and upcycling garments into new designs. Sustainable fibres used are recycled polyester, hemp and linen.
Every scrap of material is used whether it’s for finishing garments or making samples for the next season. Bespoke alternations are offered to extend the life of a garment and each piece is hand crafted.
Combining city chic with the natural world is the way Valerie Goode describes her award-winning brand.
Valerie graduated from London College of Fashion and was headhunted to work in China.
The horrendous pollution there was the catalyst she needed to launch her own sustainable brand.
Valerie and her team source upcycled fabrics in the UK, many from designers exhibiting at Fashion Week. She uses vegetable dyes, makes garments in small production runs and produces designs with a distinctively sexy elegant vibe.
Natasha Grays founded Graysey when she found herself struggled to find the kind of clothes she loved. She sought 1970s styles in quality fabrics with designs that worked and flattered, but they were in short supply.
Natasha’s flagship product are her Jeaks denim jeans. The gorgeous Jeaks feature an inserted inside leg panels to contour the legs and offer a great fit.
Natasha manufactures in Portugal in a factory where most employees are women. Denim is woven in Europe or Turkey and dyed using GOTS certified methods. Sustainability for Natasha means high quality classic pieces, designed to be worn season after season.”
Would you like to recommend some sustainable fashion brands to my readers?
If you are one of the sustainable fashion brands highlighted and would like to share more of your story, please do get in touch.