Originally Published by Novella Magazine
For many people, the idea of “sustainable fashion” or eco-fashion gives them the willies. They think of expensive, shapeless sacks and discard the fact that fashion and ethical standards can exist in harmony. But just like that incredible vegan chocolate chip cookie, or that natural deodorant that actually works, times have changed: ethics and aesthetics are no longer mutually exclusive.
There are endless reasons why people are finally giving sustainable fashion the attention it deserves, both environmental and social. The fast fashion habits of the past 20 years has raised our levels of clothing consumption exponentially, and the world simply cannot handle it. While brands like People Tree and Matt & Nat have been spearheading the slow fashion revolution, many other brands have emerged in the past few years that deserve our attention as well.
Founded in 2009 by Yael Aflalo, Reformation is probably the most well-known sustainable fashion brand due to it being loved by it-girls of the world, including Alexa Chung and Jeanne Damas. Not only does Reformation clearly break down its sustainable fashion philosophies on its website, but it also makes the most covetable limited-edition clothing. Reformation is best known for its dresses and occasion wear (Lena Dunham wore one of their bridesmaid dresses in the past), but the basics also come with adorable details. Between the Reformation using sustainable fabrics, like tencel, making the clothes in an ethical factory in L.A., and having a very impressive recycling program, it’s a must that we all #jointhereformation.
So sneakers made a huge comeback five years ago and have not left upper ranks of the fashion trend stratosphere. To meet the trend in a sustainable way is VEJA, a Paris-designed, Brazil-produced shoe brand. The brand aims to “offer a different vision, which combines fair trade and ecology and links together economy, social initiatives and the environment,” while its minimalist sneakers are impeccably designed. The brand doesn’t advertise at all, instead it spends their money on fair production and investing in quality materials. The white leather sneakers are everyday favourites, while the metallic and perforated, pastel options are likewise tempting.
Featuring classic knits, cashmere sweaters, and elegant trousers, Everlane is the sustainable answer to basics and wardrobe staples. The brand works closely with its hand-picked factories and is completely transparent about the cost of production vs. mark up retail prices. While Everlane might not be as high on the sustainable scale as Reformation, it is still miles ahead in the right direction and makes fantastic pieces that will stay in your wardrobe forever.
Underneath your fabulously sustainable finds, you’ll need under garments. For selfish reasons alone, natural, chemical-free undergarments are especially important as they are less likely to cause irritation around your most important areas. For that, Base Range makes incredibly comfortable bras, underwear, and loungewear. Based in Denmark and France, the European brand celebrates sustainable fashion with ease and comfort at the centre of its aesthetics.
To solidify the fact that sustainable fashion is actually cool, we look to By Signe, the Danish brand that creates feminine easywear handmade in their Danish studios. Not even the biggest opponent of sustainable fashion can deny the coolness of the Danes. It carres pieces made mostly out of bamboo (yes, the soft stuff) in shades of white, beige, grey, and black.
If these options are not enough, there are incredibly chic e-commerce sites that carry sustainable brands, such as Rêve-en-Vert and The Acey. These sites do all the work for you and carry the best sustainable fashion brands available.
It must be noted that core goal of the slow fashion movement is to slow down consumption. While the ascending popularity of affordable, fair trade and sustainable clothing brands is fantastic (!!!!!!!!), we must remember to actually love everything we buy instead of relying on impulse purchasing. And just so you know, vintage, thrift stores, and clothing swaps are fun and easy sustainable options as well.
For more information about sustainable fashion in Canada, check out Fashion Takes Action.