Saturday, 22 September 2018

My favourite ethical brands


Over the past couple of years, I have slowly been discovering the world of ethical and sustainable clothing. When I first heard about ethical shopping, my initial thoughts were something along the lines of 'ethical clothing is boring/unflattering/for old people/expensive', and I think these are views that can be quite common. However, as I've been delving further into these brands over the past year or two, I've come to realise that those thoughts I previously had aren't necessarily true, and I now love shopping from ethical brands for a number of reasons.

First of all, it is so great being able to support smaller brands that are passionate about producing clothes in a sustainable way, that try their best not to impact the environment negatively, and that understand the importance of equality for their workers, ensuring they are paid fair wages and are able to work in safe conditions.

I've also found that the quality of the items I've purchased from these brands really has been so much better than a lot of the fast fashion brands you see everywhere. As these brands have a strong focus on the quality of the materials they use and the way in which the items are produced, you can really tell the high quality from day one when you feel the item straight out of the bag, to months and years later when the item still looks as good as when you first purchased it. While ethical brands do tend to be more expensive than typical fast fashion brands, I have found that in the long run, I spend less money on fewer yet better quality clothes, rather than buying a lot of cheaper clothes that wear out quickly.

Another thing that I really appreciate about these brands is the classic and timeless style of a lot of their pieces. One of the major problems with the fast fashion world is that it is trend led, encouraging consumers to purchase a trendy item that they can wear once or twice then toss away, ready to buy the next trendy item. However, I've found that in recent years I have become much more interested in purchasing classic pieces that will not go out of style in a few months and that I can mix and match with a number of items in my wardrobe, which really helps to keep the quantity of items down (another reason why I am a fan of the capsule wardrobe, which you can read about here).

Below, I've set out a summary of my favourite ethical and sustainable brands.

Everlane

My number one favourite ethical brand has to be Everlane. Based in San Francisco, this brand has a strong focus on ethical and timeless pieces (their slogan being Modern Basics, Radical Transparency). They sell a range of clothing and accessories for both men and women, ranging from dresses, tops, denim, silk pieces, beautiful knitwear, leather bags and shoes. The description of each item includes the factory in which the item was made, as well as a transparent pricing summary setting out exactly what each piece costs to make and how Everlane arrives at the final price, in comparison to traditional retailers. They also have a great section on their website titled Choose what you pay where they have sale items at a discounted rate, and you can select the amount (out of three choices) that you wish to pay for the item. I have purchased a range of items from Everlane over the past couple of years (and particularly recently thanks to some birthday gift cards from family), including jeans, t-shirts, casual pants, a leather bag and a couple of dresses, and I can't fault any of the items.

Grana

Grana is an ethical brand based in Hong Kong that has the slogan, Modern essentials from the world's finest fabrics. They have a strong emphasis on sourcing excellent quality fabrics such as Pima cotton, Mongolian cashmere and Chinese silk, but without the high markup of traditional retailers. My first purchase from Grana was a black v-neck cashmere jumper, and I was so impressed with the softness and quality of the cashmere that I have since ordered a couple of other cashmere jumpers, as well as a couple of silk camisoles which I have worn time and time again. I have noticed that the prices seem to have risen compared to what they were a couple of years ago, however they do some great sales, particularly their no-markup sale, where I managed to snag a couple of cashmere jumpers late last year for $57 each.

Faithfull the Brand

Faithfull the Brand is a fairly new find for me, which I discovered a few months ago when looking for a couple of summer dresses ahead of my holiday to Byron Bay in August. Faithfull the Brand was co-founded by an Australian and a Norwegian, and each piece in their collection is hand-made, hand-printed and hand-dyed in Bali in a family-owned factory. I have purchased a couple of dresses from this brand, both of which are incredibly soft and well-made, and I continuously get distracted any time I find myself browsing their website and their incredible range of summer dresses, skirts, tops and pants.

Reformation

Another fairly new brand to me is Reformation, which is based in the US, and has the tag line, Being naked is the #1 most sustainable option. We're #2. Their focus is to create sustainable pieces by investing in green building infrastructure, recycling and donating their textile scraps as much as they possibly can (currently recycling 75% of their garbage), sourcing their fabric locally and keeping their customers up to date with their practices through their quarterly sustainability reports. I have only purchased one Reformation item, which I actually purchased off someone from eBay who was selling a dress new with tags, so I managed to grab a bit of a bargain there. The quality of this linen dress is incredible and I can't wait to get more wear out of it as the warmer months approach.

Tigani Lux

I discovered Tigani Lux when I was in Byron Bay in August and fell in love with their clothing instantly. This brand, which is local to Byron, has a strong focus on sourcing beautiful hand-made fabrics to create relaxed, classic pieces. I purchased a couple of relaxed cami-style tops, as well as a blue and white striped dress which I wore constantly throughout our holiday. The fabric of each piece is wonderfully soft (each piece having been made in Bali) and I can tell that the quality is going to last for years to come.

St Agni

Another brand that I discovered while on holiday was St Agni, a Byron based brand that creates high quality footwear (and also sells clothing and jewellry). Their footwear is made in a small leather factory in Indonesia, and they have a strong focus on sustainability by minimising their use of plastic and sending out their products in re-usable dust bags. Their store in Byron Bay is beautifully minimalistic and I have since purchased a pair of casual suede slides that again will be perfect for summer and, given the high quality of the leather and suede, will last for many years.

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