You'll Love These 3 Brands If You Shop Responsibly
The sustainability movement is slowly gaining momentum and if we’re being honest, it’s clear that the fashion industry has to be among those reforming its practices if we’re to preserve our planet for future generations. Globally, textiles production creates more greenhouse gas than air travel and there’s still a huge misuse of landfills for discarded fibres and fabrics.
And since these issues have come to light, shoppers have consistently said they’d support a movement toward a more sustainable model. The problem was, for some time, was that the outfits with better eco-credentials were much less likely to be affordable – or easily accessible.
But thankfully, recent trends have seen an increasing number of brands take the wishes of their customers seriously – and find a way to balance the expense. So see below for a few places to replenish your wardrobe without any guilt:
Perhaps the most famous brand in sustainable fashion (due in part to their association with Emma Watson), this almost thirty-year-old company’s story bears repeating – since many have since followed its lessons.
They apply their high standards to all aspects of production starting with materials such as organic cotton and responsible wool. These are then transformed using traditional techniques such as hand-weaving and block-printing into versatile designs made to be worn again and again.
All this results in elegant but eye-catching dresses, tailored tops and trousers plus designer knitwear alongside a statement range that makes beautiful use of patterns from the V&A archive.
In environmental terms, natural materials are always the norm and all items are coloured with low-impact dyes that minimise environmental pollutants. But perhaps the best of all, by focusing on artisanal assemblage, jobs can be offered to partners in rural areas and communities can benefit from being fairly-paid for their skills.
It may be surprising to some that Debenhams made the list but unbeknownst to many, this high street giant has actually managed to embrace a more ethical direction in recent years. Their range of initiatives that they’ve committed to since 2017 demonstrates just how central sustainability and ethical issues have become to their mission. Just last year, they’ve managed to divert 97% of the business’ waste away from landfill and have also donated more than six tonnes of product to the Salvation Army! I’m not naming names here but a few brands can and should take note on how to ‘dispose’ of unsold garments.
On another less environmental but equally as amazing note is that Debenhams’s were among the first to champion body positivity by banning the use of retouched images in their ads. The ‘Body Positive’ campaign featured Paralympians, plus-size models and women up to the age of 70 in their most natural, beautiful form - beautifully unedited and unfiltered.
What’s more, Debenhams is one of the rarer high street giants that has remained committed to the no-fur policy (including feathers) with a continued opposition to animal testing across their range. Which means that items from Debenhams can safely be assumed as cruelty-free unless specified. Check out their PETA Vegan Homewares Awards’ ‘Feels Like Down’ Microfibre Duvet and discount codes here.
The Girlfriend Collective focuses primarily on activewear that’s made from recycled plastic bottles and fishing nets. This American company gives its customers the chance to work out and help out simultaneously. As a relatively newcomer to the industry, the Girlfriend Collective has already made a tremendous impact and is a shining example of how sustainability can be pretty, chic and still good for th environment. All of their recycled polyester is sourced from Taiwan, who were once known as the ‘Garbage Island’ but who now recycles 55% of all its waste.
The Girlfriend Collective partners with family-run recycling businesses and takes the time during production process to ensure each piece is as environmentally-friendly as it is soft and comfortable. They also impose high standards on the dying processes and runs a wastewater treatment plant alongside the machines. Even the leftover dye muds that usually ends up in landfills are sent to be made into paving slabs for the community. Read the full supply chain here.
For me, their bold and contemporary collection in a wealth of beautiful colours are one of the very best and most transparent ethical fashion labels to date. Whether it’s yoga pants, workout bras or bodysuits… they’re ethical meets chic.