Just because you happen to value the environment and you want to live in a responsible and sustainable manner doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to lumpy, hand-woven sweaters and second-hand garments. The eco-fashion industry has blossomed (sans chemical fertilizers and pesticides) over the past several years thanks to consumer demand, so that now you can find everything from your average pair of jeans to haute couture gowns and shoes endowed with green sensibilities. Here are just a few of the biggest brands that you’ll definitely want to check out.
- Kuyichi. You may not know this, but Kuyichi was the first brand to offer jeans that were not only fair-trade, but also made from organic cotton. Their goal to create products made from “pure denim” was inspired by a desire to reduce the amount of chemical fertilizers polluting soil and water in order to grow cotton. They also utilize eco-friendly fabrics like organic wool and linen (made from flax), sustainable hemp, and even recycled textiles like cotton, wool, and polyester. The result is a truly trendy lineup of garments that will add to any fashionable wardrobe.
- Stella McCartney. You really can’t talk about green fashion without mentioning Sir Paul’s daughter, who made eco-chic desirable with fashion lines that eschew animal products, in keeping with her cruelty-free and sustainable ideals. In addition, she supports clean energy and paperless operations, and her brand contributes to and participates in eco-friendly charities like PETA, Meat-Free Mondays, and the Ethical Fashion Program. Oh, and her clothing is gorgeous.
- Linda Loudermilk. Those in the know have long loved this designer’s eco-friendly fashion offerings, especially since she always strives to push the envelope. Her latest notable convention: sustainable swimwear. It debuted in Miami last year alongside other eco-brands that use recycled materials. What made Loudermilk’s collection unique is that it was 100% compostable. Made from plant starch, the “fabric” is said to biodegrade within 180 days of being submerged in soil.
- Howies. It seems that the duckies on the other side of the pond have ethical fashion down to a science. And since many of us are in the market for everyday garments that are environmentally sound, it’s lucky that Howies takes a practical approach to their wardrobe design. Not only do they offer staples like jeans, tees, jackets, jumpers (that would be sweaters to the yanks), underwear, and active wear made from organic cotton, but they do so in a low-impact, sustainable manner, creating garments that are made to last in a bid to cut back on wasteful consumerism.
- Beyond Skin. Vegan footwear is not an easy thing to find, but this UK company is offering pumps, wedges, flats, boots, and even accessories like clutches, totes, and charms that are entirely cruelty-free, in keeping with their mantra of doing less harm to animals, people, and the environment. This means that their wares not only eschew newly manufactured leather, but they also utilize recycled materials whenever possible and each pair is handmade by skilled, fair-trade labor. That could be why celebrities like Natalie Portman and Leona Lewis are big fans of the brand, which by the way, offers some truly gorgeous shoes for your collection. So if you’re looking for the perfect footwear to go with everything from cocktail to prom dresses, this is the place to shop.