Sustainable brands that you need to know about
The current lockdown has mean’t that all non-essential working islanders have been isolating at home and all normal life has been put on hold. Socialising with friends in a bar has turned into a cocktail evening on Zoom, and a shopping trip down your local high-street has now been restricted to browsing online. Life has changed as we know it, but has created an opening for us to re-evaluate how we are spending our money - with my main focus on how we can change our shopping habits. It is true that in unprecedented times consumers reassess their values and instead of buying fast fashion and flashy goods, direct their attention towards quality and sustainability.
During this lockdown I think it is important to re-prioritise what is important in our spending habits and what we want out of a clothing brand. If you are like me and have done no shopping, but instead have emptied the content of your wardrobe onto your bedroom floor to clean out, you will have noticed all of the unnecessary purchases that have been building dust. Isolating at home has allowed me to assess what I am like as a consumer and how I need to change my habits. We are all going to carry on shopping, that is inevitable, however, what I think we can change is the way we shop, and make an effort to buy from sustainable brands that are transparent and ethical. They are slightly more expensive than fast fashion brands, but these are ethically and sustainably sourced, good quality clothes, therefore you are purchasing an item for life instead of for a season.
These are my top four sustainable and ethical brands that you need to know about, and I hope that they inspire you to question brands that you buy, and find out if there are any discrepancies.
VEJA is Brazilian for ‘look’, with the company’s ethos focusing on looking beyond the trainers and looking in depth at how they are made. Founded in 2005, VEJA has made sure that they are making their trainers differently - they treat humans and the environment with respect. Child labour and forced labour are banned, insuring that workers have the right to union-trade and fair wages. These are environmentally friendly trainers that are made with raw materials sourced from organic farming and ecological agriculture, without chemicals or polluting processes. VEJA are also the first trainer brand to use fabric made from recycled plastic bottles, and on average three plastic bottles are needed to make a pair of trainers. Not only are they sustainable and ethical, they styles of trainers are original and chic.
Founded in 2009 by former model Yael Aflalo, she decided to create a company that would sell sustainable clothing directly to consumers on the web. Her aim was to show that a company could produce clothing on a mass scale with minimum waste. The uber chic style of timeless pieces with a modern cool girl twist, have been seen all over Instagram on top models in the industry. Aflalo describes the brand as ‘Zara but with soul’, whilst The New York Times described it as, “the most fashionable eco-brand there is”. The brands website allows you to track the environmental footprint of every item of clothing, from the fibre production and dying, to the shipping and garment care. Reformation is vocal about being transparent and how they strive to minimising their environmental impact and achieving fair and healthy working conditions.
This E-commerce brand has made a name for itself by re-purposing old Levis jeans into designer level jeans in 2014. The pre-loved jeans are taken apart and hand tailored into modern shapes that will fit you in ways you didn’t think jeans could. Sourced from collectors and vintage outlets all over the US and Europe, each pair is tailored by hand with their own distressing, from previous wear, making them one of a kind. They are more expensive than high-street jeans, with a pair retailing at around £200, however, with their vintage quality and hand-tailoring, they are considered an investment that will last for life. Initially RE/DONE was not affiliated with Levis, however, nine months after opening, both brands entered into a formal partnership - understanding the importance of sustainable business practices.
This radically transparent brand has made sure that their customers know how much their clothing costs to make, from the materials, labour and to the transportation. Founded in 2011, Everlane states that they are not big on trends, and instead produces staple pieces for your wardrobe that can be worn again and again. On the brands website you can get a glimpse into the factories where products are made and see the workers creating the garments. In 2018, Everlane embarked on an ambitious task to eliminate all virgin plastic from their supply chain, and to also get rid of all single use plastic. They have also developed an outerwear line made from recycled plastic bottles, and are making their way through every item in their collection by remaking all the plastic elements with recycled plastic. This is an exciting and innovative brand that is setting an example of how similar companies can sustainable operate.