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The world of sustainable fashion can be an overwhelming one to navigate. It's great that it's grown significantly over the past couple of years, but that can make it hard to keep up with what's out there.
For most consumers, convenience is key, and the amount of sustainably-minded, multi-brand retailers—one-stop shops for multiple conscious labels spanning multiple product categories that consistently bring in the newcomers to know—are still far and few between. That's why we've fallen head over heels for Miami-based Antidote, an online (and semi-IRL) shop carrying the coolest and most fairly priced contemporary sustainable goods.
After years of working in the textile industry, Antidote's founder Sophie Zembra wasn't happy with what she was finding at the factories she visited in China and India. "I witnessed firsthand the pollution and unethical manufacturing practices that were taking place," she says. "This is where my personal interested in ethical fashion developed. I no longer felt comfortable using garments created in that type of environment for many reasons, including the chemical exposure and the treatment of employees."
This led her to begin scouting the market for ethical and sustainable brands, yet she found a lack of labels with fashion-forward pieces, instead mostly finding clothing with "a more boho and hippie feel." With the idea that fashion and sustainability go hand in hand, Zembra launched Antidote back in 2017, as a means of bringing together the contemporary yet ethical and sustainable brands in one place for conscious shoppers like herself.
Antidote carries a number of sustainable staples such a Mother Of Pearl, Osklen, and Mara Hoffman, in addition to emerging global brands that don't have as big of a presence in the U.S. With a digital shop, a by-appointment shoppable showroom, and previously a Miami-based storefront and pop-up, Antidote has made it easy for the fashion set to get their hands on the newest eco-friendly merch.
Zembra and her team put a lot of work into selecting the brands to be carried at Antidote, looking into a number of different aspects of a brand before deciding what to stock. "We look into many elements before making our selection; the fabrics and manufacturing processes are one of the most important factors, along with style and retail price," she explains. "We really want to break the stigma that tends to come up when talking about sustainably fashion by showing that it can be trendy, stylish, and also fairly priced."
Sustainability, in general, is a complex topic, and when it comes to clothing and accessories, it becomes even more so. That's why Antidote's offering is divided into different categories, such as fair-trade, eco-fabrics, made in the USA, upcycled, and more. "Ideally, the brands we decide to represent fall into more than just one category. Depending on how much information the brand is already giving us, we also request factory images and fabric descriptions," Zembra says. Categorizing in this way also allows for more transparency between Antidote and its customers.
Calling yourself a sustainable retailer involves way more than just curating a collection of sustainable brands. What good would any of that be if the rest of its practices weren't up to par? This very reason is why sustainability is a huge part of the brand's DNA and the company culture. "We instate conscious practices on a day-to-day basis," says Zembra.
All of Antidote's spaces, from its previous Wynwood storefront and recent pop-up in Miami's Brickell City Centre to its showroom, are created with non-toxic paints, eco-cements, and recycled woods. They have a paperless receipt policy, sending all customers digital receipts upon purchasing. Shopping bags and clear acetate paper are biodegradable, and its tissue paper is sourced from FSC-certified forests, which also plants a tree each time Antidote places an order. Wrapping paper is printed on recycled newspaper with soy-based, non-toxic inks, and its ribbons are all U.S.-made.
Zembra mentions that she's currently looking into ways to improve Antidote's sustainability practices, such as finding ways to reduce the amount of packaging it uses as well as finding alternative shipping solutions with a lower CO2 impact.
Antidote began as a destination for sustainable ready-to-wear and resortwear, carrying everything from warm-weather clothing, accessories, and swimwear to clean and organic sun and skin-care products, in addition to a handful of home goods such as candles and ceramics.
Considering the brand's headquarters is located where it's beach weather year-round, this made perfect sense. However, as Zembra began to notice that much of her audience in the digital space was based outside of the Miami area, particularly in cities like New York, she felt it was time to expand her offering to accommodate all seasons and a city lifestyle.
For the first time ever, Antidote's fall collection is bringing in cult-favorite labels such as Batsheva and Lebrand, with an offering that now includes sustainable vegan leather moto jackets, long-sleeved prairie dresses, and a selection of cozy outerwear. "Our home is Miami, but our customers are spread around the world," says Zembra. "We wanted to make sure we can provide them with the styles they are looking for year-round, which is why, this year, we've included ethically sourced cashmere, vegan jackets, and more urban styles to our fall collection."
So, what's next for Zembra and Antidote? While she has recently started launching some private label accessories for Antidote, she's now focusing her efforts on expanding that private label into a collection of sustainable basics and wardrobe essentials.
You can shop Antidote's current offering at Antidote.us.