Sustainable Fashion Brands You’ll Actually Love

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.

REFORMATION

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.

VEJA

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.

EVERLANE

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.

BASE RANGE

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.

BY SIGNE

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.

Trend History: Stirrup Pants

Seen on Fall/Winter 2016 runways–including Marni, VersaceTrademark, Balenciaga most recently– the stirrup pant is most notably associated with the fashion of the late 80s and early 90s. Seeing as the 80s are back in full force (see: culottes, ruffled shirts, shoulder pads), it is no surprise that the stirrup pant has made its return as well. But where did this trend begin?

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Photo: Vogue UK

The stirrup pant has had quite a lengthy and transformative history. They were originally produced with the intention of helping female equestrians in the 1920s transition into seated position and out of sidesaddle. Then, at the 1936 Olympics, stirrup pants were used in skiing events, and maintained their use for skiing through the 60s.

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In the 80s, they made a triumphant return once again as sportswear, through the rise of aerobics and in the form of leggings. And finally, in the 90s, they made their debut as what Steff Yotka from Vogue.com describes as “proto-athleisure.”  It is during this time that your mum likely sport the pants with a large shoulder-padded suit jacket. Or just a large, patterned crew neck sweater.

Will this pant trend return as strong as the culotte? Perhaps. In some memories, the prominence of the stirrup pant still leaves a scarring memory of a time when bootcut trousers were missing from street fashion. For others though, they have yet to experience the stirrup pant in its glory and think wearing them could be an exciting idea. Like Rihanna.

Knowing their history, will you wear them?

The Autumn Wardrobe

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Originally Published for Novella Magazine

It might be odd that, in my twenties, I still feel the urge to do a back-to-school wardrobe refresh, but alas, such is the case. I love having all my looks figured out and ready-to-go for September 1st, just as I did when I was 6 years old. Through the many seasons of back-to-school shopping, I have added some sophistication and subtracted some pretty terrible trends from my wardrobe and, this year, I feel as though my fall must-haves have reached perfection through a blend of 90s classics (see Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy for inspiration), oversized modernity, and a touch of humour.

THE 90S CLASSICS

A PERFECTLY OVERSIZED KNIT TURTLENECK

Try to have a cozy knit turtleneck in as many neutrals–tan, black, cream, grey–as possible and you will be set for the entire FW16 season simply because it is impossible to tire of them.

A THIN TURTLENECK

Yes, I recommend also having a very thin, layering turtleneck if you plan to stay on trend this fall. Try one in a bold colour under a more neutral statement piece to match the Hermès FW16 look.

CLASSIC DENIM JEANS

You can’t go classic 90s without a great pair of straight leg jeans. I recommend this pair from L.L. Bean because I am pretty sure they haven’t stopped making them since the 90s and for that they deserve the top spot.

OVERSIZED MODERNITY

A LAYERING TUNIC

Nothing says “oversized modernity” (sorry I’m quoting myself) like layering an oversized tunic over wide-leg trousers. This whole look is very Olsen twin and is perfect.

WIDE LEG CROP TROUSERS

These (very, very comfy) wide leg trousers will match with any oversized look. They even pair well with any of the items in the “90s classics” category above.

AN OVERSIZED WOOL COAT

This is a great item to find vintage, usually in the men’s section of the shop, as buying new might cost you a bit. Make sure you love it and that you can fit sweaters underneath (because your mother was right about that) before you invest.

GLOVE SHOES

To top of your oversized look, try these effortlessly elegant glove shoes–the latest interpretation of the ballet flat that nod to Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face. Martiniano makes the perfect pair.

A TOUCH OF HUMOUR

FUN SET OF SUNNIES
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Le Specs

How fabulous are these white and blue shrunken cat eye specs? I know. You want them too.

Honourable mentions (because you should probably already have these): camel coat, classic trench, cream thick-knit hat, black leather hand bag, red socks.

Feature Image via Trend Survivour

Beige is not “Beige”

The colour beige is often synonymous with the adjectives “boring” or “bland.” Being called “beige” is seen as an insult. But I disagree. I think it needs to be loved again. Because beige is not “beige.” For one, beige can be yellow, pink, and cream. And it acts as a perfect compliment to white. For art, fashion, interiors, anything. It’s dreamy.

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All images sourced here.

Tilda Swinton, Dior, A Bigger Splash

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Photo: Sandro Kopp

I don’t have too much to say about this collaboration between Luca Guadagnino and Raf Simons for the film A Bigger Splash because its perfection has rendered me speechless. But I’ll give the gist of it: Queen Tilda Swinton plays a (Bowie-esque) rock star recuperating in paradise Pantelleria, Italy wearing custom and vintage Dior so…you get me? Do you get why I am having difficulty articulating just how wonderful this artistic gift is? Just, look.

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Photo: Sandro Kopp
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Photo: Sandro Kopp
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Photo: Sandro Kopp

From her elegant twist knot beach cover, to her straw sandals, to her white pant suit for attending a traditional island festival, to the blessed white skirt with her drop back black blouse, I just…have no words. Perfection. THIS is art.

Oh. And Ralph Fiennes dances to “Emotional Rescue.”