Updated: Oct 5, 2021
Choosing sustainable fashion brands that care about our planet can make a huge impact on existing environmental, social and labor practices, and help put an end to animal cruelty. After all, how we spend our money dictates what kind of businesses and products will survive and which will become a thing of the past.
Surveys report that people feel great about being a part of the eco-friendly movement, unless it becomes too inconvenient or forces them to walk around wearing a paper bag.
Luckily, today we do not have to choose between looking good and doing good by the planet. The number of brands that concentrate on creating Earth and animal friendly fashion continues to grow. With the cold months coming upon us it is worth checking them out. Here are some of my favorites.
Ten trees are planted for every item purchased with a goal to plant 1 billion trees by 2030.
This Canada-based company aspires to be the most environmentally progressive brand on the planet. Their mission states,"We don’t want to just reduce the negative impact of the apparel industry, we want to use it as a vehicle for change. Our purpose is to revitalize our environment and inspire a generation to believe that they can do the same."
They produce beautiful apparel made out of progressive eco materials such as Tencel, hemp, modal, linen, organic cotton, recycled polyester, cork, or coconut.
Check out their website and make sure to follow their awesome Instagram page.
2. MATT & NAT
This stylish vegan brand continuously tries to improve the standards for all their materials.
"Being inspired by MAT(T)erial and NATure means exploring the synergy between the two, the reflection of one on the other," says the brand that came to life in Montreal in 1995.
They produce wide selection of stylish, high quality bags, backpacks, luggage, footwear and accessories for men and women. They use various vegan leathers, 100% recycled plastic bottles for all linings inside the bags and sustainable materials such as cork and recycled rubber. M&N encourages upcycling of the rarely worn bags and donation of the used ones.
3. Vaute Couture
This New York based company was the first vegan label to show at New York Fashion Week.
Vaute Couture promises "to create the warmest winter coats for the warmest hearts," using innovative, high-tech, sustainable textiles, cut and sewn in NYC’s garment district. They work with the best high-tech mills around the world using organic and recycled fibers, combine them to create shockingly warm coats, beautiful gowns, comfy sweaters, and cool swimsuits.
I bought my first vegan winter jacket from Vaute Couture a year ago and I can say that it kept its promise to keep me "Canada Goose" kind of warm the entire winter.
4. Save the Duck
This US based company produces 100% animal free, high performing outwear.
They replaced goose down with progressive technology - Plumtech - that is warmer, more breathable and lighter than the original. The result - lightweight, water repellent and wind resistant jackets. Save the Duck uses recycled polyester fibers, "high-definition" nylon fabric, faux fur and faux sheep skin for comfy, yet fashionable look.
5. Good Guys
Good Guys don't wear leather - French vegan shoes since 2011
These rad shoes are designed in Paris and manufactured in Portugal using vegan leather, microfiber, canvas and natural rubber for a light, waterproof, durable and comfortable fit.
Good Guys received the "Peta Approved Vegan" label and have been featured in VOGUE, ELLE, THRIVE, The Huffington Post and others.
Buying environment-friendly products can seem pricier than buying "regular" ones. But these brands create high-quality products, which means you'll be using them for a long time. They promote sustainability and compassion - qualities of extreme importance in today's world. It is a fact that continuing treating our planet the way we have been for the past several decades will be fatal to our own existence. The time to change is NOW.
But even if you do not have access or resources to shop these brands, there is still something you can do to help the environment!
- Reduce consumption
Increase in consumption is the main issue with apparel industry's negative impact of the environment. According to the Word Resources Institute, an average consumer bought 60% more clothing in 2014 than in 2010, and kept each peace of clothing half as long.
"If consumption continues at its current rate, we’ll need three times as many natural resources by 2050 compared to what we used in 2000." - World Resources Institute
The consumption is projected to grow much faster due to low prices and accelerated increase in middle class population in countries, such as India and China.
- Donate clothing and other things you no longer use
This ties to reducing consumption. Instead of producing more stuff, we can use what we already have. I give away tons of stuff every year to family, friends, thrift shops and The Salvation Army and it makes me happy that it will be of service to someone else.
- Avoid animal fur, angora, down, leather
Every little peace of fur used for decoration on clothes and accessories is a results of a painful and frightening death of an animal and is so not worth it! Rabbits and birds are plucked alive for angora and down, and animals are sometimes skinned alive. By supporting this type of product you would be paying someone to torture and kill an animal for you.
- Be mindful of the material
Cotton, the most widely used fabric worldwide, requires large amounts of water - our most limited resource. It takes 2,700 liters of water (what one person drinks in two-and-a-half years) to make one cotton shirt.
Polyester has less negative impact on water, but much higher greenhouse gas emission. Polyester production for textiles released about 1.5 trillion pounds of greenhouse gases in 2015, which is equivalent to 185 coal-fired power plants' annual emissions.
The Apparel Industry’s Environmental Impact in 6 Graphics - World Resources Institute