Earlier this week an important report was released by the Ellen MacArthur foundation which showed the true impact and scale of the wasteful and throwaway nature of the global fashion industry. I am still making my way through it (it’s 150 pages!) but some of the essence I am sharing below mixed in with recommendations!A Stella McCartney campaign shot in a Scottish landfill site to raise awareness of waste and over-consumption. Photograph: Harley Weir and Urs Fischer for Stella McCartney
The report stated that the industry is responsible for creating greenhouse emissions of 1.2bn tonnes a year – known to be larger than that of international flights and shipping combined. At the same time, UK fashion designer Stella McCartney recently stepped forward to back the MacArthur’s foundation campaign (to stop the global fashion industry consuming a quarter of the world’s annual carbon budget by 2050 (YIKES!), and almost immediately more and more friends popped up asking me how they could change their shopping habits to become more sustainable. So in response, and in the run up to the holidays, I wanted to share some of my personal favourite pit-stops for ethical, and sustainable fashion below…
I have mentioned lots of these brands or stores in the Wear The Look section of my website but here is a concise list that I hope proves useful to the eco-shoppers (or even just the curious) amongst you…Osei Duro – Pines Top at Gather & See
Gather & See is an online store offering a curated collection of ethical and sustainable fashion brands to a fashion savvy customer who doesn’t want to compromise on either style or ethics. I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the brand co-founders here, and here is what she had to say when I asked for her definition of sustainability…
– The word sustainable feels a little tired at times, how would you rather talk about fashion made consciously?
I totally agree, ‘sustainable fashion’ isn’t always a phrase that always sits easily. It is a word that can come across as vague and can be confusing with varying interpretations of its meaning which makes it hard to resonate instantly with a fashion consumer. At Gather&See we want to talk about fashion that has been done the right way, that respects both people and planet both in the present and in the future. In that sense it is just good, honest fashion that has been thought through from start to finish with more than just the bottom line in mind – ‘mindful fashion’ is a phrase we are using more and more.
For nearly 30 years since starting as a stall in North London’s Camden Town, Rokit has recycled over a million tonnes of discarded clothing and accessories. Given that a truckload of clothing is wasted every second across the world we can all do our bit. Rokit Recycled, one of my personal favourites, is a label that features unique, original garments that have been hand crafted in London, from previously unwearable fabrics and pieces, into unique on-trend designs. I buy a number of my silk scarves (you find great Coach ones too) for my headwraps there.
I loved working with Reformation back in 2015 for our sustainable fashion project Red Carpet Green Dress, it was incredible and even having a dress named after me on their website. By creating women’s clothing with sustainable fabrics and vintage fabrics, Reformation has become a brand loved by eco-friendly consumers and chic millennials alike (Reformation’s target demographic is between the ages of 27 and 32). The brand’s ethos is to combine ethical clothes, really great value and their transparency when it comes to communicating their sustainable stories can often be a rare find in the retail market.
My wonderful friend Dechel Mckillian (former celebrity stylist to clients such as Drake, Nicki Minaj, Fergie, and Lionel Richie) has launched an ethical shopping concept called Galeria.LA. The concept is simple, fashion with integrity. They thoughtfully curate the finest selection of women’s sustainable fashion from designers worldwide. I love the streamlined selections and quality pieces they pull together for the discerning shopper worldwide you won’t find clutter here, just a refined edit.
The average number of times a garment is worn before it ceases to be used has decreased by 36% in 15 years (!), and one of the things that keeps me re-wearing an item is its uniqueness and story.Lots of people sleep on Etsy and I am not sure why. I find some of the most unique and beautifully made pieces there including these insane shoes from Fashion For Freedom (pictured below). When it comes to sourcing independent brands with a heart and story, I believe that ETSY marketplace is a treasure trove. Founded in 2005 ETSY is a relative ocean of handmade or vintage (items must be over 20 years old to qualify) and supplies, as well as unique factory-manufactured items. With over 54 million users registered as members, and the online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods connected 1.4 million active sellers with 19.8 million active buyers.
Well, you can’t create an ethical shopping list and not include People Tree. Founded in 1991 by Safia Minney in Tokyo, Japan People Tree, within sustainable circles, are the fair trade fashion pioneer and online garment retailer. They make their clothes from environmentally-friendly materials including Fairtrade certified organic cotton and natural dyes and use traditional handicraft skills whenever possible. The company also purchases the majority of its Fair Trade products from marginalized producer groups in the developing world, and they can resolutely guarantee that the majority of their purchasing is committed to the World Fair Trade Organization and Fair Trade standards. The former ‘People Tree’ founder and current Po-Zu Managing Director Safia Minney also recently wrote the ‘Slave To Fashion’ book which sit right at the top of my ethical fashion book reading list.
Ethica is an online retailer where you can learn about ethical fashion, discover emerging designers, and shop a high-style selection of ethical and sustainable labels. Vegan, ‘Trade Not Aid’, Handcrafted, Made in the USA…you name it, you will find it. I also love that they consider all the post-design details including eco-friendly packaging and carbon-neutral shipping which makes up a huge part of any brands ethical footprint.Angela Roi vegan bags at Ethica
Wolf & Badger have boutiques in London and they support new and emerging independent designers. I absolutely love this store because with each visit I discover an independent fashion brand I would buy again and again – it’s easy to become a repeat offender with W&B so don’t say I didn’t warn you. If you can not pop in to the stores (they recently opened in NYC), you can also browse online where they have a great range to choose from a carefully curated selection of independent fashion brands. I have featured several Wolf & Badger brands on my site here including this gorgeous RIXO dress pictured below.Pictured wearing RIXO sourced from Wolf & Badger
Farfetch is an online fashion retail platform that sells products from over 700 boutiques and brands from around the world. The company was founded in 2007 by the Portuguese entrepreneur José Neves with its headquarters in London. The brand is dedicated to supporting independent fashion boutiques – with a website listing over 400 boutiques, with a specific edit for eco-conscious brands, from Stella McCartney to Mara Hoffman and Chinti & Parker.