When it comes to the fashion industry these days, things aren’t always as ethical and good for the environment as we’d like them to be. With the rise of fast fashion, many garments today are made with materials and dyes that produce harmful waste and pollution, all for the profit of mass-producing products at a cheaper cost. On top of this, because these factories are overseas, it’s much harder to ensure that they follow ethical practices.
Despite this practice, there are plenty of independent designers out there today that heavily focus on maintaining the good of the Earth. Whether using recycled materials or making sure the materials they do use are ethically sourced, they strive to keep their carbon footprint low, for the greater good of the planet. It's all about sustainability.
In honor of Earth Day, we rounded up 11 ethically sustainable designers that not only produce beautiful designs, but are in it for Mother Earth. Let’s give it up for the designers who opt to make a difference—not only just today, but every day.
Click through the gallery below to check out some of today’s coolest, environmentally conscious brands. We can only hope that more designers choose to follow suit.
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Study NY Study NY’s motto is “Making Fashion Without Making Waste,” and this is something the brand certainly sticks to. Using environmentally responsible fabrics such as hemp, organic cotton, ethically sourced alpaca, and recycled materials, as well as using naturally-derived and/or environmentally friendly dyes, each product is carefully examined every step of the way—from field to cutting table—to ensure that it’s ethically and environmentally conscious.
Study NY, Shirt Sleeve Dress, $240, available at Study NY; Study NY, Tank 1, $90, available at Study NY.
AUrate AUrate is the brainchild of designers Sophie Kahn and Bouchra Ezzahraoui, two designers who strive to bring the world fine jewelry at a fair price. Only using ethically sourced gold and diamonds, each piece is designed and manufactured in New York. In addition to being ethical, the brand is also direct to consumer, allowing them to offer prices without the markup you would find at traditional department stores.
AUrate, Icon Cuff, $325, available at AUrate; AUrate, Icon Ring With Black Diamonds, $750, available at AUrate; AUrate, Icon Ring, $350, available at AUrate; AUrate, Icon Earrings, $175, available at AUrate; AUrate, Icon Necklace With Black Diamonds, $550, available at AUrate.
A Peace Treaty Designer and co-founder Dana Arbib has vowed that her handmade jewelry, scarf and knit collection, A Peace Treaty, would run on the principle of high fashion aesthetics and sustainable production. For each of their projects, they resuscitate a family-run textile or jewelry making business that is at the risk of extinction, collaborating with artisans in countries such as Pakistan, Boliva, and Peru.
SVILU Britt Cosgrove and Marina Polo, the designers behind SVILU, offer sustainable and socially conscious staples that have a “borrowed from the boys” edge with a feminine touch. All materials used are mindfully sourced and locally produced, making sure both fabrics and practices are environmentally sensitive.
SVILU, Stripe Tank Dress, $355, available at SVILU.
Reformation Reformation produces their clothing with three sustainable fabric sources: eco-friendly and recycled content fibers, repurposed vintage, and excess fabrics produced by other companies. Their downtown L.A.-based factory is the first sustainable sewing factory in the United States, using 100 percent renewable electricity sources, with everything from the pens to the cleaning products being eco-friendly.
Reformation, Bluebell Dress, $248, available at Reformation.
Elise Ballegeer NYC-based Elise Ballegeer uses organic and sustainable materials to produce wardrobe essentials that have an architectural and minimalistic twist. Her pieces are essentially workwear for the cool girl—wearable, edgy takes on classic silhouettes that are also beneficial to the planet.
Silvae The NYC-based label Silvae produces their collections domestically in NYC’s garment district. The brand focuses heavily on the fabric mills they work with, opting to only work with mills that comply with environmental preservation regulations. The brand also promotes fair labor practices and is a proud supporter of The Wilderness Society.
Silvae, Hoffman top, $282, available at Silvae; Silvae, Maria Tank, $198, available at Silvae; Silvae, Wagner Trouser, $345, available at Silvae.
CHC Luxury leather goods brand CHC values integrity and community when it comes to running their ethical and sustainable business. Not only are all their leathers, findings, packaging, and materials purchased from U.S. businesses, but every piece is designed and constructed in their Chicago studio. They also donate 10 percent of all profits to WINGS, an organization that provides services to help end domestic violence and homelessness.
Jennie Kwon Jewelry designer Jennie Kwon’s main focus has always been creating a line that is ethical. All of her designs are crafted in downtown LA, only using stones that are ethically sourced and conflict free. She believes that each piece embodies a certain spirit or vibe, and wishes only to create pieces have a positive energy.
Jennie Kwon, Whie Semi Pave Ring, $490, available at Jennie Kwon; Jennie Kwon, Morganite Green Sapphire Diamond Dew Ring, $790, available at Jennie Kwon; Jennie Kwon, Diamond Fan Ring, $895, available at Jennie Kwon; Jennie Kwon, Diamond Wrap Ring, $920, available at Jennie Kwon; Jennie Kwon, Square RC Diamond Pear Ring, $4460, available at Jennie Kwon; Jennie Kwon, Diamond Accent Cuff Ring, $410, available at Jennie Kwon; Jennie Kwon, Ceylon Sapphire Dew Equilibrium Ring, $995, available at Jennie Kwon; Jennie Kwon, Diamond Opal Trio Equilibrium Ring, $890, available at Jennie Kwon; Jennie Kwon, Morganite Opal Leaf Ring, $750, available at Jennie Kwon; Jennie Kwon, Diamond Arch Ring, $820, available at Jennie Kwon; Jennie Kwon, Diamond Mini Square Choker, $1624, available at Jennie Kwon.
Freedom Of Animals Freedom Of Animals is a sustainable and cruelty-free luxury handbag line, producing their pieces while strictly following EPA guidelines, ensuring their product is as eco-friendly as possible. The materials used are post-consumer polyurethane and organic cotton, as well as recycled vegetable based dyes and recycled metal zippers, allowing for a low carbon footprint. The brand has teamed up with actress and humanitarian Nikki Reed to create a special collection of clean silhouettes in classic colorways.
Vrai & Oro Vrai & Oro’s timeless pieces are created using high quality materials while maintaining ethical standards. Based on the belief that luxury and Earth-loving style don’t have to fall into two different categories, the brand only uses materials like ethically sourced diamonds and only works with U.S.-based manufacturers that follow ethical labor practices.
Vrai & Oro, Skinny Stacking Ring, $50, available at Vrai & Oro; Vrai & Oro, Round Diamond Stacking Pair, $245 for a pair, available at Vrai & Oro; Vrai & Oro, Round Black Diamond Stacker, $125, available at Vrai & Oro; Vrai & Oro, Round White Diamond Stacker, $140, available at Vrai & Oro.