There’s no way of sugar-coating this but fashion is ultimately one of the most polluting industries at the moment. Fueled by fast fashion’s pace of producing new outfits every week and that thrill of addition to our wardrobe, we too, become accomplices.
Fortunately, there are things that we can do. Buying from eco-friendly fashion labels who not only wave the sustainable flag but also implement practices and beliefs that are both environmentally-conscious and socially-ethical is a humble start we can easily get onboard. Ahead, we’ve rounded up nine of these green brands that you can support.
One of the early pioneers of eco-fashion, Stella McCartney’s fashion line is known for taking extraordinary measures to ensure that they leave a very minimal environmental footprint with every collection produced. This means that they take strides to source fabrics in a way that’s sustainable, and are completely free of animal products.
Founded by Aloysius Sng who discovered that his wife doesn’t wear the majority of her wardrobe, the homegrown secondhand fashion label connects people who are looking to unload their closets and earn some cash in exchange.
With brands such as Love, Bonito, Topshop and The Tinsel Rack across categories of clothes, watches and bags, Refash is a marketplace where you can buy and sell your clothing simultaneously. Some of the pieces are pretty on-trend and in good condition too, not to mention very affordable. Say goodbye to throwing old clothes.
Reformation prides itself on creating modern, wearable pieces that flatter the female figure, whether you’re a bride, a bridesmaid or just looking for your next outfit.
But beyond that, Reformation takes its environmental impact very seriously. As much as possible, Reformation uses deadstock fabrics, recycled and greener fibres such as tencel. Each item also comes with a display on how sustainable it is, based on the amount of carbon dioxide, water and waste savings it has garnered. The company has also listed its sustainable practices such as sourcing electricity made from wind power on its website.
For those who love adventure and getting lost in the wild, outdoor wear company Patagonia would not be a stranger to you. With a mission statement “We’re in business to save our home planet,” Patagonia has various measures that reflect their environmental beliefs — from using recycled materials and tencel (lyocell and modal fibres that are produced by environmentally responsible processes from sustainably sourced natural raw material wood) to donating one per cent of sales to non-profit One Percent For The Planet, which fights for land preservation and sustainable energy production.
In addition, Patagonia has an initiative called Worn Wear, that allows people to trade in worn Patagonia pieces which the company will then repair and resell to help extend the lifespan of each article of clothing.
Brazil-crafted Veja sneakers not only look good, but they will also make you feel good too.
That’s because the brand uses only sustainable materials in the manufacture of its sneakers, choosing natural Amazonian rubber over petroleum-based options. Vegetable-tanned leather and ecological cotton complete the holy trifecta that makes Veja the first ethically sourced and manufactured mass market sneakers.
Buy a matching pair for your man too and make twice the impact.
Fast fashion is incredibly damaging to our planet, and that’s something that’s no secret to most. Here’s where H&M’s Conscious line comes into the picture. To help curb the effects that fast fashion has on the environment, the retailer encourages customers to drop off their used clothing at all H&M stores worldwide.
These salvaged clothing are then broken down and upcycled to create new fabrics and materials, which then go into the production of clothes. By trying to close the loop, they aim to provide stylish, affordable outfits without doing further harm to our fragile earth.
Fast fashion today encourages a ‘disposable’ mindset among women consumers of fashion, leading to systemic issues that garner waste. Local fashionwear label Esse wants to change it all, with timeless pieces highlighting clean silhouettes in neutrals and classic shades, made out of sustainable and environmentally materials such as tencel, bamboo and 100 per cent organic cotton.
Get this: All pieces on offer are handmade, lovingly created from scratch in Ho Chi Minh City and Chiang Mai, where the label has forged a strong and respectful partnership with its seamstresses.
Tropical apparel made from 100 per cent organic cotton, grown sustainably without harm to the environment — that’s what you’ll find at Baliza Shop.
Come for the breezy, playful, feminine prints, stay for the female empowerment. You see, every purchase you make lets you contribute directly to helping Indian NGO Ladli support Gudri women through imparting traditional block printing and embroidery skills. The beneficiaries are not only guaranteed a fair salary, but they also receive emotional support and important financial education. A good cause to get in on.
Natural fibres are great for both the environment and your skin. Mix up your wardrobe with bamboo and flax-made linen from Zhai, and you’ll be helping to stave off global warming while keeping your cool in Singapore’s tropical humidity. How exactly? Natural fibres are a renewable resource that breaks down naturally, helping prevent the clearing of land for cultivation and doesn’t choke up the environment when disposed of.
Moisture-wicking and air permeability are key, and you’ll find plenty of both across a full fashion range. We’re talking dresses, cardigans, slit skirts, culottes — even hoodies for your sporting needs. Get hubby in on the act with Zhai’s range of classic short- and long-sleeved tops.
Text: Chip Chen and Ho Guo Xiong