With the idea of sustainability and ethical practices being at the height of importance, it has become a necessity that our society responds in accordance, and this is true for the fashion sector as much as any other. Fashion and clothing brands are beginning to reflect upon the responsibility they have to help change the way the industry currently works in order to preserve the world we live in. ‘Fast fashion’ is taking over many company strategies, but thankfully not all companies are following in the same footsteps.
Yael Aflalo first created Reformation in 2009 in Los Angeles. The idea for the brand came from Yael’s belief that fashion and sustainability can coexist. Reformation has recognised the importance of every detail of the company’s operations, from the materials used to make the clothes, to the building they are made in, to the way the company delivers the products.
All Reformation garments are made in one sustainable sewing factory in Los Angeles. The building’s infrastructure itself has been designed to minimise the company’s waste, water and energy footprint. After the manufacturing process, the clothes are sold online and in their own boutiques, which cuts out the middleman and means no retail mark ups exist on any of the products. Reformation seeks to create as little environmental impact as possible by using renewable energy in manufacturing, having a heat-reflective roof, using recycled hangers and furniture in stores, sourcing sustainable fabrics for their clothing and shipping items in 100% recycled packaging.
What this brand does better than most is it offers customers clothing that is ethical but still on trend. Because of this the brand is popular with the younger generations who are not always so impressed by sustainable fashion products. The main aim of the brand is to raise awareness of the hugely negative impacts the fashion industry can have on our world, as well as offering customers solutions and choices for this problem that are stylish and sustainable for our planet.
‘We make killer clothes that don’t kill the environment’
Images: Reformation Cha Cha dress, Kate Jumpsuit, Feliz dress, Tate Pant
This brand caters to men and women who are looking for sustainable and ethical fashion that is on trend as well as generating little harm on the outside world. The brand prides itself on being the ‘pioneer in Fair Trade and sustainable fashion’ and works with marginalised producers in the developing world to source its products. People Tree believe that unlike other fashion brands claiming to be ethical, they are accredited by the WFTO, the Fairtrade Foundation and the Soil Association, making them a trustworthy brand in relation to their product manufacture. As a brand they work on a slow fashion basis that goes against everything that fast fashion companies ensure, such as exploitation of people and the generation of harmful pollution.
In 2010, Emma Watson collaborated with People Tree, creating a range of easy to wear stylish pieces aimed at under 24 year olds. She believed that many young people were more concerned with the effects of fast fashion clothing than ever before, but had little choice when it came to ethical clothing, which was the aim for her People Tree range: to create stylish fashion that caused little harm on the environment.
When creating products, People Tree aims to work with those who have the smallest carbon footprints. They have as many of their products as possible created by hand by those in poor areas as this gives communities fair living wages. As well as this, People Tree aim to protect the water and forest areas of these communities, only grow natural and organic cotton, and avoid using damaging chemicals in their products. People Tree believe if there is a green way to do something, that is the way they will do it.
‘We give customers an alternative to fast fashion’
Images: Aida Blue Stripe Dress, Nisha Drape Jacket in Blue, Tyler Jersey Skirt in Grey Melange, Riley Double Gauze Men’s Top in Black Stripe
Outdoor wear is seemingly becoming a menswear trend, with Patagonia being a popular brand of choice. This brand started out as a small company producing climbing tools that wouldn’t affect the environment. Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, wanted to improve upon the equipment that was available for climbers like himself. He noted that pitons used to climb were destroying the rock surface, and this was where his desire to protect nature from human destruction began. Over 3 decades later, Patagonia now offers clothes for a variety of sports including snowboarding, skiing, surfing, paddling and running. Their focus on outdoor wear has stemmed from Yvon’s love and passion for nature and in turn is the reason why the brand works so successfully in protecting the environment from the effects of the clothing industry. In 2008, the company was awarded ‘Eco Brand of the Year’ at the Volvo Eco Design Forum, and was noted for its consistent “commitment to product innovation, quality and environmental activism”.
Everything the company does is in aim to better the environmental crisis we are facing. Since 1996, the brand has sourced only 100% organic cotton for all products, and now takes in old nylon and polyester clothing to be recycled and made into new products. Furthermore every year for the past 30 years Patagonia has given 1% of all sales to grassroots environmental organisations, and has also initiated the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, which has since created an index for product designers and companies to use to make better decisions when choosing fabrics and materials for their own products.
Patagonia’s mission statement concludes ‘build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis’, and this is what drives the company forward.
Images: Torrentshell Jacket, Hoodie with Fitzroy Back Print Regular Fit, Bivy Down Jacket, T-Shirt with P-6 Back Print Regular Fit
Where once ethical and sustainable brands were seen an unfashionable and uncool, there is now a progressive change. Brands are working in ways that minimise harmful effects on the outside world whilst giving customers more choice to be a part of the movement towards a greener, and more sustainable future of fashion. Looks like green could finally be the new black.
Images: Reformation, People Tree, Vogue, Patagonia, Asos