10 Sustainable Fashion Designers to Watch
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Does it seem like your desire to be eco-conscious doesn’t always fit with your eagerness to keep up with attire trends? If so, you probably haven’t read sustainable fashion articles that are focused on the designers. Here are 10 sustainable fashion designers that are disrupting the clothing sector and showing kindness to the planet while they’re at it.
Many people who design clothes might announce commitments to sustainability with single press releases or possibly launch parties if they want even more media coverage. However, Eileen Fisher went much further and created a dedicated social consciousness department within her company that addresses sustainability, human rights and more.
The brand started tracking its carbon footprint in 2007. It’s also using a below-average amount of resources when dyeing and cleaning its garments. Fisher herself has a 30-year plan to use her brand to exert powerful, positive changes in the world.
2. Katie Jones
UK-based Katie Jones designs knitwear. She draws inspiration from her grandmother’s philosophy of “making something beautiful from nothing.”
Jones even hosts retreats at her house where attendees can make knitted items. They can also choose pieces from her collection in a personalized environment that permits shopping without going to luxury stores. What better way to get to know the designer?
3. Mara Hoffman
A hallmark characteristic of sustainable fashion designers is that they are acutely aware of how seemingly small actions can make significant differences to the planet. Mara Hoffman designs women’s clothing — including super-cute swimwear made from pre- and post-consumer waste — and published a section on her brand’s website that details their main sustainability aims. You can also get more details about specific facets by clicking on provided links.
As a start, Hoffman uses recycled, organic fabrics whenever possible. Moreover, all brand partners must adhere to internationally recognized human rights standards that promote fair treatment for workers.
4. Spencer Phipps
Spencer Phipps’ work history includes names like Marc Jacobs and Dries van Noten. Now, he’s stepping out on his own as one of the sustainable fashion designers worth knowing. Emphasizing men’s fashions, Phipps uses materials ranging from organic cotton to undyed yak hair in the attire.
Also, he decided to produce most of the pieces from his debut collection in Portugal — a move he made after being impressed that all Portuguese factories and suppliers have to abide by strict environmental and human rights codes.
5. John Patrick
If you want a clue about where sustainable fashion is heading, John Patrick, with his label Organic by John Patrick, could give perspective. In a page about his brand, Patrick calls the global fashion industry “a system preoccupied with the aesthetics of its own disappearance.”
As a counteractive move, he launched his label in 2004. It prioritizes ecological awareness, labor fairness and, of course, organic fabrics.
6. Christy Dawn
The Christy Dawn line started when its founder discovered the alarming reality that millions of tons of unwanted fabrics end up in landfills each year. It happens because fashion houses overestimate their needs, bringing about deadstock fabric.
Because deadstock fabrics aren’t often available in large quantities, many Christy Dawn garments are one-of-a-kind. Plus, they’re all handmade in Los Angeles. By wearing them, you can support American jobs.
Christina Castle once worked for Mara Hoffman, another of the sustainable fashion designers on this list. After gaining industry experience, she started Dagny, a womenswear label with clothes made by a women-owned-and-operated factory in Romania. Many of the clothes in the collection feature Earth-friendly fabrics, like Tencel, a fabric made from regenerated wood pulp. In other cases, Castle depends on surplus materials that would have otherwise gotten discarded.
Besides making clothes that are beautiful, Maggie Marilyn’s goal is to cause positive changes in an industry that often comes under fire for its lack of sustainable practices and progress that’s all too slow. She manufactures the clothes in her home country of New Zealand, helping directly stimulate the fashion economy in a nation crippled by the dominance of overseas suppliers.
Brendon Babenzien is among the sustainable fashion designers to keep an eye on because he supports societal movements through his work, as well as the planet. In 2016, he made a T-shirt with all proceeds going to Black Lives Matter. His label, Noah, works with partners that emphasize human dignity more than the bottom line, thereby contrasting many of the eyebrow-raising and demeaning practices sometimes seen elsewhere in fashion.
Noah offers menswear filled with boldness. Many of the design choices and the designs themselves seek to draw attention to matters that otherwise might be ignored. Also, the shirt for Black Lives Matter was not a one-off gesture. The label regularly donates to people and organizations that are trying to make differences in the world.
10. Kelly Slater
You might know Kelly Slater as an 11-time surfing champion, but as it turns out, he’s someone who’s making waves instead of just riding them by being one of the sustainable fashion designers worth knowing.
His line Outerknown — started in collaboration with designer John Moore — offers casual menswear with a high-quality approach. Every decision the clothing line makes keeps the Earth and the people living on it in mind.
Like many other designers on this list, Slater is keen to use materials other fashion brands throw away. One example is Econyl, a fabric used for Outerknown swim trunks. It’s made from recycled fishing nets.
Treat Yourself to New Threads
Many of us feel guilty when we buy clothes at discount stores. Sure, they’re cheap, but at what cost? The sustainable fashion designers on this list might charge more for their goods, but they’re doing it out of a desire to support our gorgeous planet and the people inhabiting it.
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About the author
Starting from an early age, Jane Marsh loved all animals and became a budding environmentalist. Now, Jane works as the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co where she covers topics related to climate policy, renewable energy, the food industry, and more.