It’s widely known the high cost of fashion extends far beyond the price tag. Every link in the fashion industry’s supply chain, from farming practices to plastic shipping containers, has a devastating effect on the planet and its workers. Currently, the fashion industry accounts for more than 10% of the world’s carbon emissions. But many clothing brands are taking a stand and rethinking their practices. How do they do it? And which brands are leading the charge? Read below to see five clothing brands finding solutions to one of fashion’s biggest problems, and what makes them stand out.
Whether it’s going plastic-free or choosing plant-based fabrics, honesty and transparency rise above all else at Whimsy + Row. Founded by Rachel Temko, the clothing brand originated when Rachel became “fed up with the dishonest and harmful practices within fashion.” This dedication to detail shines through Whimsy’s clothing designs which aim to be “as stylish as they are sustainable.” Here is the list of standouts from Whimsy + Row’s sustainability and ethical practices:
S&E Standards: cuts fabric in reduced quantities, closely manages their factory, uses and recycles deadstock fabric, uses 100% recycled and reusable shipping containers, uses low-impact dyes, and dedicates 15% of their shelf space to black-owned businesses.
Impact: So far, the brand has saved over 3,667,00 days of water, has avoided 44,135 carbon emissions, and has plans to be 100% vegan by the end of 2021.
Clothing Style: Flirty, versatile, and designed to hold seam integrity, Whimsy + Row’s clothing is high quality in structure and style.
Sizing: Women’s XS–XL
Extra Credit: Their Waitlist Feature, located next to their out-of-stock items, helps calculate the customers’ interest in an item. This feature guarantees the company never overstocks or undercuts.
The brand Milo + Nicki has sensitive beginnings, which has resulted in thoughtful business ethics and beautiful designs. After founder Nicki Patel and her dog, Milo, both experienced troubling health issues, Nicki quit her corporate job and left her stressful lifestyle behind. She started a vegan clothing brand, designing long-lasting clothes meant to be cherished for years to come. The brand’s commitment to making ethicality and equality the standard, plus its palpable heart, makes it a non-negotiable on The Luupe’s list.
S&E Standouts: uses plant-based dyes and materials, repurposes leftover fabrics, offers green-washing instructions, and uses 100% compostable and biodegradable packing in their supply chain.
Impact: Their lining is 100% certified organic cotton which significantly reduces their environmental impact and creates safer work for farmers. The brand also works with their trusted partner, Master G, which helps numerous low-income Indian women earn a dignified livelihood.
Clothing Design: Rooted in the 70’s era, Milo + Nicki encourages their customers to be bold and inventive. Every new collection is purposely connected to their previous ones, so customers can mix and match, and continue to treasure their clothes throughout the four seasons.
Sizing: Women’s XS–XL, or one-size-fits-all
Extra Credit: Their Bandhani Collection is made up entirely of banana fiber fabric. The brand uses 100% of the banana plant during production, resulting in minimal waste and a fabric that is both silky and lightweight.
“We don’t want sustainability to be our edge, we want it to be universal.”-Eileen Fisher
Eileen Fisher sets the gold standard for their transparency and commitment to ethics and sustainability. The brand will never settle for simply reducing or lessening environmental harm but intends to change the course of fashion forever. Fisher produces in-depth analysis of their business practices, nurtures their relationships with their farmers and factory workers, and are choosy with their fabrics. They acknowledge there is always room for improvement, and consistently strives for it.
S&E Standouts: tracks clothes from field to factory, uses 100% organic cotton and the responsible wool standard, trains their factory workers and managers on social responsibility and personal-enrichment topics, has a recycling program for their customers’ aged or outdated clothes.
Impact: Since 2009, Eileen Fisher has collected and reused over 1.4 million garments recycled by their customers. This saves over 95% of the carbon and water used to purchase a new garment. In 2020, the brand saved over 24,000 tons of carbon emissions.
Clothing Design: Designed with ease in mind, Eileen Fisher’s clothes are for those who prefer the simple life. Customers can rest assured their clothes will stand the test of time in quality and in softness. You may just want to live in these clothes.
Sizing: Women’s XS–3XL
Extra Credit: Their Love, Peru project supports over 450 families in and around Arequipa with fair wages and safe workplaces. Rooted in family and community, this project ensures workers are empowered and protected through their work.
Two Days Off received its name from founder Gina Stovall deciding to make the most of her Saturday and Sunday. During the week, Stovall works as a geologist, and on the weekend, she tackles the environmental impact caused by the fashion industry. She believes in growing her business slowly, so she can adjust and adapt to better-researched sustainability and ethical practices. This approach fights the overconsumption rampant within the fashion industry and gives her workers time off and reasonable working hours. The brand is for those who choose to take the scenic route in life.
S&E Standouts: Clothing is made-to-order, products ship plastic-free, clothes are long-lasting and durable, the brand is carbon-neutral, and customers track their wears through “wear tags.”
Impact: In 2019 Two Days Off became 100% responsible for offsetting their carbon emissions, and in 2020 became a Climate Neutral Certified brand.
Clothing Style: The ultimate weekend lounge clothes, these designs won’t ever fade out of style, nor will their quality lose their shape.
Sizing: Women’s XS–4XL
Extra Credit: Two Days Off created The Community Fund to reconcile with the high-price and overall inaccessibility of sustainable fashion. Customers can donate to the fund at checkout, and the brand auctions off a gift card every month. Anyone is welcome to enter.
People Tree, a clothing brand from The United Kingdom, is Fair Trade certified, which helps empower workers to have more control and autonomy over their lives. The 30-year-old fashion brand, founded by Safia Minney, incorporates a variety of world-class sustainability and ethical practices in its business. They use low-impact dyes, plant-based fabrics, and hire workers in rural areas where work is scarce. Their clothes are usually handmade resulting in smart and versatile designs.
S&E Standouts: A certified Fair Trade organization, promotes traditional crafts and handmade textiles reducing the carbon footprint from machinery, uses natural fibers and certified organic cotton, and customers can donate their used clothes back to People Tree.
Impact: People Tree has reduced 94% of their carbon emissions by using certified organic cotton, and their denim collection has saved 87.2% more water than if they used conventional denim production.
Clothing Design: People Tree’s playful and stylish designs are for those customers who desire a luxurious life while knowingly respecting the people and the planet.
Sizing: Women’s XS–XXL
Extra Credit: Join the “Fashion Revolution,” People Tree’s social media cause shines a light on the workers making their clothes. Use the #whomademyclothes to participate in this important effort.
Know or work for a brand who should have made it to this list? Drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org! We’d love to learn more.