Expect exciting transformation in the fashion industry as next generation innovators are changing the world with ethical clothing. A century ago, you would not have thought much about the possibilities of unique fabrics made from seaweed or glitter that was biodegradable.
Yet, today, there are many within the fashion industry that are leading the way in the production of environmentally friendly sustainable fashion that is also conscious of the socio-economical aspect. When you think of sustainable fashion, think “reuse and recycle”. This sustainable appeal is all about no harm to the environment and social, economic worlds during the various phases of production.
This trend or sustainability movement within fashion is changing perceptions and behaviors toward how clothing is produced, and its impacts on consumerism. As the consumer, that means, we all play an important role with the demand and how much of an interest there is.
This has been attracting many of the younger generation following this rising lifestyle. As far as fashion trends for the 2019 and 2020 seasons, expect to see a lot more apparel and accessories made with recycled materials, vegan leathers, vintage hand-me-downs, as well as those repurposed textiles.
So, what exactly is this Sustainable fashion movement anyway?
It is an attitude of change within fashion towards a greater ecological integrity. It also focuses on social justice. Sustainable fashion or eco fashion addresses the entire system.
It’s replacing one fiber type for another that isn’t as harmful to the environment. Materials that are often used in the production of Sustainable fashion include Cellulose fibers, Protein fibers, and Manufactured fibers.
Cellulose fibers would be your Cottons, Soy, Hemp, Bamboo, Kombucha, or Qmilk. These are natural fibers that are not petroleum-based. You can find these used in various products from a button to those stylish sunglasses that you wear.
Protein fibers would be those made up of protein molecules that come from animal sources. Their basic elements are carbon, hydrogen oxygen and nitrogen. Such fibers would be your cashmere, silk, camel, wool, llama, or alpaca.
Manufactured fibers can be broken down into three categories. You have your cellulosic, synthetic, and protein. Cellulosic would include pieces such as rayon/viscose or modal. The synthetic would be your polyester, spandex, nylon, or acrylic fiber. And a manufactured protein fiber would be Azion.
One big player in the sustainable fashion industry is in the UK. While UK designers are taking a lead with sustainable fashion, these innovators face the challenges of those businesses that focus more on reducing costs and maximizing profits.
More recently, the Environmental Audit Committee has made suggestions to the UK Government to provide clearer economic incentives for retailers to do better. It has been recommended that taxation be reformed to penalize those that are not designing products with lower environmental impacts and rewarding the fashion companies that do. Of the most innovative sustainable brands you can find the following:
People Tree, who support farmers, producers, and artisans from fourteen groups across six countries are one of the biggest fashion brands within the UK. They use naturally sourced and organic fabrics from casual apparel to workwear. They are a part of the WFTO community and an active member of Fair Trade. This large brand has a 100% fair supply chain.
Bozena Jankowska is a designer based in London, whose production features that more sophisticated look while incorporating bright colors. All the collections are made to order and in limited supply. This eliminates excess waste and materials.
Veja is known as a trainer brand and cares about style and sustainability. A high percentage of their trainer style is vegan and uses a natural, sustainable rubber, as well as, organic cotton. They have also made a mesh fabric that is completely 100% recycled polyester.
Vildnis, also based in London, is a younger label that uses sustainability and ethical production throughout every phase. They use only local sources that are environmentally friendly. This includes the way the young label packages their items. They are transparent about using carbon neutral couriers and display the supply chain publicly on their website.
Collection and Co.
Collection and Co. is another younger company that is based in Brighton and has received international recognition. It has attracted vegan celebrities such as Madelein Petsch. They are PETA approved. You can find their label using recycled and eco-friendly materials such as hemp, recycled polyester, and pineapple leaf fibre.
Beaumont Organic is classified as an eco-friendly luxury and created the “Made in England” label. They use organics such as bamboo, linen, wool, and organic cotton in production. Waste is kept to the minimum by using scrap fabrics for samples and working with local, European factories.
Monsoon is one of the founding members of the Ethical Trading Initiative. This label has created gorgeous collections for women through all occasions. They work with various artisans who bring unique designs to their consumers through fair and responsible means. They hold high ethical standards and are monitoring the factories vigorously.
Thought is a brand that thinks of the planet throughout every phase of production and design. They create environment-friendly, organic apparel by using products such as hemp, bamboo, Tencel, modal, organic cotton, and wool. These are sourced from ethical suppliers that they have built strong, long-lasting relationships with.
Ren London is a brand that supports the local economy and works to reduce its waste during the design process. They use responsibly sourced fabrics that are natural and biodegradable. Their collections are made up of smaller orders to control waste, while paying attention to the finest of detail.
Nancy Dee uses local and ethical sourcing for its sustainable fashion. They create pieces for every occasion. All designs and manufacturers are within the UK. This brand uses eco-friendly fabrics such as organic cotton, modal, and recycled materials.
Madia & Matilda
Madia & Matilda produces womenswear that is created with designs made in house that are crafted with locally sourced offcut pieces of material. These pieces are transformed into their lovely tops, skirts, and dresses. This minimizes their use of waste.
Here Today Here Tomorrow
Here Today Here Tomorrow is a knitwear that focuses ethically and uses sources that produce cruelty free wool in New Zealand. They work with many artisans who are certified with fair trade. They create sustainable womenswear, as well as, bags and accessories for both genders.
Dagny is a label that is in full support of women and the environment. This brand is ideally for the feminists who are eco-conscious. They use organic and recycled fabric such as cotton, linen, Tencel, and modal. By making use of their scraps and keeping their collections small, they have no waste. All their dyes are organic, sustainable, and biodegradable. And their partner factory is run by women.
Komodo is a North-London label who has been a leader in sustainable fashion for over thirty years. They use eco-friendly, organic materials like hemp, organic cotton, bamboo, rayon, linen, soy fibre, recycled rubber and polyester, as well as, Tencel. This ethical label manufactures in fair trade and is equipped with solar powered factories.
Bibico is a knitwear that is eco-friendly. Known for the simple, natural style, they use organic cotton and cruelty free wool, while working with the fair-trade cooperatives for sourcing the fabrics. This conscious knitwear brand is created by Snow, who finds inspiration in the outdoors, family pleasures, and home.
Rakha breaks from the normal industry standard of the traditional season to season model and creates apparel designed to be worn all year round. The ethical and organic fabrics used include cotton, cruelty free wool, cellulose fibres, and recycled materials. The brand works to reduce water consumption and toxic wastes by using water treatment plants that are clean and that reuses their water during the production.
P.I.C. style is a minimalist about their production through using local sourcing. They use eco-friendly materials such as organic cotton and recycled fabrics that are sourced with the UK. They use a London factory for all their production. The P.I.C. style also includes the sell of other UK brands of eco-friendly shoes and accessories on their website.
Thoreau is based in London and manufactures stylish feminine clothing, locally, within the UK. All their creations are made with 100% carbon neutral and eco-friendly materials. Furthermore, they offset any Carbon dioxide emissions caused from production.
Mayamiko is a fun, ethical fashion brand with colorful styles. They strive to be a zero-waste production company and run factories by solar power. With smart cutting techniques and by using scrap fabrics in smaller products, they take their sustainability initiatives seriously. The small items such as headbands and pads are donated to young girls in refugee camps. Other projects include using recycled packaging and offering customers the ability to participate in their tree-planting initiative.
Christopher Raeburn is based in East London and is a designer of menswear throughout the world. While using recycled fabrics and reworking new articles out of scrap fabrics the designer can reduce waste. The label has won an award from the International Ethical Fashion forum and has launched a #BuyNothing campaign. Don’t be surprised to find this one shut down its store on Black Friday.
While focuses shift in the fashion industry, sustainable fashion will most definitely move from being fragmented initiatives. You can expect to see more and more efforts toward change within the entire fashion industry as sustainability becomes a greater drive at the center of innovation within the fashion world. Front running companies will take on and embrace this importance as they move forward to a more circular economy.
From the consumer perspective, the industry is seeing that Millennials and Generation Zs are particularly interested in finding those more-sustainable solutions. This younger generation is willing to spend more on those brands that they deem sustainable. As consumers interests and attention are watching this increase on sustainable issues, leaders within the industry can capitalize on the more conscious individuals by promoting revenue growth and accelerating advancements in the technologies of products and materials. In a 56-page report “Sustainable Fashion Blueprint Report 2018”, it was found that sustainability is the fourth most important concern for consumers purchasing fashion. By improving risk management, practicing transparency, and using a more radical process of reengineering, companies can strengthen the bottom line. With passionate industry pioneers such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (a charity that campaigns for economic change) at the wheel, the industry will continue to grow in its focus toward sustainability. While commercial advantages become clearer, we will find dedicated groups who are redefining the fashion industry and leading the way to greater, more efficient innovations.
So, what are some benefits of sustainable fashion?
Sustainable fashion is a lifestyle change that is more environmentally friendly. A lot of major clothing companies are providing customer service and sustainability teams to discuss and develop ideas that bring about better business models as it pertains to sustainability.
Furthermore, since eco-friendly ethical clothing does not have all the pesticides used in the cotton found in your regular wardrobe, it is better on the Earth and for you. Also, sustainable clothing is less impacting on landfills and toxic dyes are not used. In general, it is just simply better for the Earth, for people, animals, and tends to last longer.
Another topic of interest is that of ethical lingerie. While this is in a way a “vague” term and can have different meanings to different people, when you think of ethical, think of what the word means to you. Think more about how it relates to a moral perspective, whether that is regarding the manufacturing process and fair trade or if it is in respects to the actual materials of the product. Another aspect is when considering the environment. Materials need to be produced in a non-toxic atmosphere that reduces pollutions.
For the UK collection, with Floripawear, you can find items that are made from materials that are both comfortable and sustainable. This premium sustainable Micro Modal fabric comes from London. Floripawear creates underwear that is locally made and considered the best in a world that has a rapidly evolving underwear design. Also, this ethical underwear is eco-friendly.
Some other UK ethical underwear designers include the following:
All Undone, is a more contemporary designer which focuses all of manufacturing within the UK. They use blends of silk, mesh, and lace.
Anekdot, creates a stylish collection of underwear that is handmade in Berlin. Materials are sourced from production leftovers, end of lines, off-cuts, deadstock, and vintage trimmings. They have a team that looks for fabrics from factories that are closing, those that are production errors, or whose makers have surpluses. This is a zero-waste garment. They are also underwire free.
Ayten Gasson is made of luxury silk, which includes peace silk. All the designs and pieces are handmade in the UK. This company is dedicated to supporting local UK companies throughout production.
Buttress & Snatch
Buttress & Snatch is custom and made to order bridal lingerie and burlesque. These are made in their Hackney workshop. All materials are purchased from UK suppliers. This is a company that actively seeks to reduce waste.
Ciel will only use environmentally, ethical fabrics throughout its production phases. They use lyocell and hemp, as well as, organic natural fibres, those that are certified by Control Union and GOTS, and recycled fabrics.
Kinky Knickers specialize in knickers, however, also sell soft bralets. Their designs are made in their Manchester factory.
Luva Huva has gorgeous ethical lingerie that is handmade in the UK. They use local suppliers and producers. They, also, use remnants, vintage fabrics, and end-of-line fabrics and trims.
Let’s talk Bamboo
This sustainable material is much like cotton, in that it is naturally breathable, and it evaporates all moisture away from the skin. The good aspect of bamboo, however, is that unlike cotton, it reduces that sweaty feeling that you can get because the bamboo releases moisture quicker. This highly recommended material is light and provides the same comfort found in your cotton blends.
Some beneficial aspects of bamboo include properties that are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, cooling, hypoallergenic, wrinkle-free, and odorless.
If you are looking for ethical underwear made from bamboo, one suggestion is the Bamboo Soft Knit Jersey Bikini Knicker. This ethical piece does come in a variety of colors.
No matter what your style is, you can rest assured in knowing that your ethical lingerie has been created with the conscious efforts to provide garments that are both ethical and ecological. While there continue to be an increasing number of ethical and sustainable brands, ethical lingerie lines that leave you feeling and looking amazing are fewer to come by.
So, if you are looking to update that wardrobe with a more sustainable perspective and with brands that come from those who are more conscious about respecting the Earth, people, and animals then check out the sustainable fashion ideas suggested or find your own designs that recycle and reuse.
Consider adding apparel and accessories made with recycled materials, vegan leathers, vintage hand-me-downs, as well as those repurposed textiles to achieve that sustainable fashion trend.
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