Photo by Björn Grochla
Once upon a time, the decision-making process behind buying a simple t-shirt or a pair of jeans didn’t go further than checking the price tag. However, as we strive towards a greener world in all aspects of our lives, it was only a matter of time before fashion consumers everywhere would discover the truth of mass production, unbelievably poor working conditions for people making our clothes, and the toxins involved in the entire cycle.
Our obsession with trends and style has left us blind to the consequences of our own choices for a very long time. Now, however, we’re on the brink of a new era, when the price is not our only concern. We finally have ample insight into the brands and designer names that go the extra mile in their entire design-create-sell cycle. This gives us the freedom to opt for precisely what we want to support, not just merely in terms of fashion, but more importantly, in terms of values.
Small names making a great difference
Photo by Melody Jacob
Under the watchful eye of the public, global brands and their constant exposure makes them easy targets both for praise as well as disapproval. Practices by brands such as Levi’s, whose “Improving Worker Well-Being” initiative alone has received plenty of positive attention from its already loyal customers. Then there are certain H&M practices that have stolen the spotlight, rightfully so, that are finally showing the right direction for fast fashion.
Yet, on the other end of the popularity spectrum are the little brand names often run by one or two people that are actually making equally worthy, if not even greater improvements that will reshape the fashion industry. They bring together the beauty of locally-obtained materials, fair-trade practices, and the use of healthy, durable fabrics. Some names that are slowly treading their way into the spotlight are the likes of Alternative Apparel and Everlane, whose incredible dedication to greener, healthier design is yet to see its peak of appreciation across the globe.
Timeless over trendy
Photo by Sylvie Tittel
The catwalks of fashion capitals such as Paris and Milan have led the way in establishing new trends with the rise of every season. Simply put, every year, we have four batches of seasonal fashion preferences – one summer we love crop tops, the next one might not be so crop top-friendly. Despite this age-old hype to be trendy and innovative, certain haute collections such as those by Jacquemus have found a way to remain true to their direction and provide timeless pieces.
The focus is no longer on producing and selling more items, but allowing a capsule wardrobe to emerge that will remain “in style” long after the latest glitter shoe or the ultra violet trend is gone. This is a unique way to fight fast fashion and empower people to build their look beyond what the runways may say. In fact, they are beginning to take over the runways as well, in the hopes of a more sustainable fashion future.
Transparency comes first
Photo by Sylvie Tittel
In addition to boutique brands taking a stand against consumerism and corporations doing their best to change their ways to suit the new fashion era, certain major companies are using their reputation to put more pressure on other fashion labels. One of the most notable names is definitely Greenpeace, with their Detox Catwalk campaign that is designed to provide the public with accurate information regarding green efforts by major labels as well as expose those who have yet to improve their practices.
Then there are tech-driven innovations such as the Good On You app that is designed to help fashion lovers shop more sustainably. It helps the regular buyer discover brands that are true to their green promises, while it also reveals the ones that haven’t made the eco cut yet. Now, with so much information at our very fingertips, every single one of us has the ability and the choice to buy more ethically and follow how brands change their eco-footprint for the better.
Influencers taking a sustainable stand
Photo by Sylvie Tittel
Many of our most profound desires are driven by the core beliefs of our society and the generation that we belong to. Now more than ever, as we befriend people from all over the world and follow celebrities online, this social-driven decision-making has gained momentum.
From fashionistas who are making a name for themselves based on their sustainable beliefs, and who do their best to educate the public, all the way to celebrities such as Emma Watson who use their publicity to inspire others – the world is changing as we speak. One eco-wise person at a time, the world is choosing its style role-models based on a new set of values that will ensure a healthier, more sustainable future for us as well as our lovely planet.
Claire Hastings is a wanderer and a writer. She writes as long as she can remember, and she is very passionate about fashion, running, other cultures, and her cat.
You can find out more about her writing by following her on: Twitter