Ethical And Affordable Fashion Labels You Need To Know
The Debrief: You need these brands in your wardrobe...
Between Earth Day earlier this week and Fashion Revolution Day today, it’s been a great week to start thinking about green fashion. Eco chic has come a long way from the hippie clichés of hemp sandals and trustafarian fisherman’s trousers – these days, you’re more likely to see Hollywood A-listers designing for sustainable labels (see: Emma Watson for Free People) and on-trend, totally covetable pieces from cult eco lines like Reformation and Everlane. Here are some more sustainable labels that have taken our environmentally-friendly fancy.
Fans of 90s-tastic Calvin Klein undies and minimalist labels like COS, head here. Based in Denmark and France, BASE Range (short for “Basic Aesthetic for Sustainable Easywear”) is attracting serious interest in fashion circles for its streamlined and relatively inexpensive range of lingerie and basics. Founders Marie-Louise Mogensen and Blandine de Verdelham work with factories in Portugal and Turkey and use 100 percent sustainable fabrics – think super-comfy sweatshirts in organic cotton and signature sporty bralettes in soft bamboo. Plus it’s already been given the seal of approval by cool stockists like Opening Ceremony and east London boutique Goodhood.
Vegan leather hasn’t quite attained the popularity of faux fur, but this Montreal brand is doing an excellent cheerleading job on its behalf. Matt & Nat take its motto “live beautifully” and translates that into an impressively exhaustive collection of handbags, satchels, wallets and clutches in grown-up shades like champagne pink, nude and midnight blue. Best of all, most of the bags clock in at the hundred pound mark (or less). If you’ve been lusting after one of those Whistles leather backpacks but can’t quite face the price tag, this one’s for you.
Having severe doubts about the ethical credentials of your high street trainer brand, but just can’t give up your kicks? This French fair trade label is the perfect solution, working with cooperatives of Brazilian organic cotton farmers and Amazonian rubber tappers to manufacture sneakers in pretty much every shade and style you can think of – from a simple white tennis shoe reminiscent of Stan Smiths to ones in flamboyant leopard-print and magenta. Oh, and most of them actually cost less than your average branded trainer.
Green fashion has an unfair rep for not being terribly rock’n’roll – most people seem to think eco labels are built on dreamy boho dresses and clumpy sandals. Terrible Movement is pretty much the opposite of all that: they shoot campaigns in Berlin back alleys, make great/awful (depending on how you feel about puns) ‘Daft Crunk’ slogan t-shirts and blast their sweatshop-free ethos from the rooftops. Their latest collection is also proudly marketed as unisex. Streetwear with a side of kickass gender politics – no wonder Cara Delevingne is a fan.
If you’re looking for something a little flashier and feminine, check out this home-grown vintage-inspired label. Founded by the mother-daughter team of Joanne and Tara Scott out of Portobello Market, Tara Starlet basically sells a sweet package of Hollywood glam with feel-good ethics. All its garments are sourced and manufactured right in London, cutting down on your carbon footprint in the process. From vampy Dolce & Gabbana-esque dresses with plunging backs to sassy shoulderless broderie anglaise crop tops, it’s summer in a single e-shop.
This London-based fair trade brand makes brilliantly simple jewellery out of natural materials like brass and brass, and all at reasonably prices you’d happily shell out for a non-eco brand – earrings are around £20 while necklaces start at £25. Designers Bee Friedmann and Amy Fleuriot employ a collective of disabled artisans in Kenya who create each piece by hand. Oh, and for anyone who read our story about having a dog in your 20s and decided to get one anyway – the brand also does an amazing collection of leather doggie leads, including a collar with print-tastic designer Kate Moross.
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